Increase is largely among unvaccinated, Advocate Aurora official says

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Advocate Aurora Health recently reported a sharp increase in hospital admission for COVID-19 primarily because of the more infectious delta variant among unvaccinated people.

The health care provider, which is the parent company of Aurora Medical Center in Burlington, said on Aug. 31 the number of patients hospitalized under its care network across Wisconsin and Illinois rose by 5.9% within the previous seven days.

Mike Ripoell, media relations manager of Advocate Aurora Health, did not specifically note the total number of people hospitalized in Burlington or any facilities in Kenosha County.

However, in Wisconsin as of Aug. 31, Advocate Aurora Health saw a 190% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last month with 168 people admitted into its hospitals.

“As a health system, we’re treating approximately 10 times as many COVID-19 patients in the hospital as we did during July’s low point,” officials stated.

Advocate Aurora in a news release further stated the surge is largely attributed to unvaccinated people infected with the delta variant, and in turn, spreading the more contagious mutation to others.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which called the delta variant the dominant strain in the state, said the mutation is extremely infectious and spreading more quickly than any strain of COVID-19 during this pandemic.

As of Sept. 7, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene reported 2,949 cases of the delta variant through genetic sequencing of some positive tests, an increase of 50% from Aug. 24.

On Aug. 24, the state registered 1,964 positive cases tied to the delta variant.

Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention for Aurora, said vaccinations are key to abating COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations.

“The best way to reverse these trends is for people to be vaccinated, as the vast majority of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been,” he said.

In Walworth County, according to the state records, only 43,135 county residents, or 41.5% of the total population, completed the vaccination series.

That leaves 58.5% of the population vulnerable to infection of the delta variant, and in turn, spreading the infectious mutation to other people.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that a person infected with the original COVID-19 strain would infect two additional people on average, a person infected with the delta variant would infect five additional people on average.

COVID-19 still active

The CDC, which updated its guidance on masking and vaccinations in late July, classified Walworth County as having a high level of community transmission based on current case rates.

The case rate is calculated for each date based on the total number of confirmed cases in the previous seven days.

Public Health on Sept. 3 reported the county had a seven-day rolling average of 19.5 new cases a day per 100,000.

Get vaccinated

Residents can find a vaccination site near them by visiting vaccines.gov or calling 211 for more information.

For more local information, visit www.co.walworth.wi.us, which includes dashboards detailing case counts, hospitalizations and vaccination rates.

The DHS also has several county-related graphs and information at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov.

 
 

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