Wisconsin has not yet reached Omicron case peak, DHS’ chief medical officer says

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin has not yet seen new confirmed cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant peak yet, but there are some reasons to be optimistic, the state health department’s chief medical officer said Thursday.

In a briefing with reporters Thursday afternoon, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the Department of Health Services’ chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for the bureau of communicable diseases, said that while some jurisdictions have seen a decline in the past week, the state’s seven-day average of new confirmed cases remains at its highest point yet. That average now sits at 18,836 per day.

“The data that we have from Wisconsin does not indicate that we have reached the peak, I think that’s what we can say most safely,” Westergaard said in response to a reporter’s question.

The key unanswered question, he continued, is how quickly new daily case totals will fall after the state reaches its peak.

“Our hope is that we can turn the corner and see fewer and fewer cases as the weeks go on,  but I think the important message is we can get that decline to happen quicker if we implement all of the prevention strategies and wear masks and do the things that we’re talking about to try to stop transmission as much as we can,” he said.

COVID-19 spread remains critically high in all 72 of the state’s counties. As of Thursday, 63% of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and just under 59% are fully vaccinated.