EAU CLAIRE — The number of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining in Eau Claire County, and Public Health Director Lieske Giese is asking for patience as vaccines are slowly rolled out across the state.
“We will get vaccines. It will be slow,” Giese said during her weekly press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We will do it as quickly as we can.”
The county has now received doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, she added. About 47,000 people have been vaccinated statewide, and those numbers are rising daily. Most of those vaccinated so far are health care workers in hospitals or other health-related settings, she said.
“They are working hard to get their teams vaccinated,” Giese said.
While vaccines are rolling out, Giese urged people to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing measures.
“2020 has been a memorable year, in many ways,” she said.
“The start of 2021 doesn’t flip the switch.”
Eau Claire County is now averaging about 39 new COVID-19 cases daily, Giese said.
“The good news is the case number per day is going down,” she said, adding the goal is to bring that number to about 10 per day. A lower number allows businesses and schools to remain operational.
“It’s much improvement, but we’ve got work to do to get to our goal,” she said.
There are currently 330 active coronavirus cases in the county. An additional 12 people have been hospitalized in the past week, bringing a total to 292 county residents having ever been hospitalized.
In the past week, four more county residents have died from the virus, bringing the total to 75.
“It’s a slowing rate, the number of deaths, but still higher than earlier in the pandemic,” she said.
Statewide, about 14,000 more people have been infected in the past week, bringing Wisconsin’s total to 477,292. About 4.4%, or 33,000 of those who have tested positive, have ever been hospitalized, resulting in 4,818 deaths statewide.
Giese said the area hospitalization numbers are also flat right now, and she’s hopeful that will lead to a similar decline in new deaths.
Giese urged people to avoid gathering for New Year’s Eve, in hopes of keeping the daily case numbers at their present rate, or lower.
“We hope that number doesn’t creep up,” she said.
Chippewa County has seen a similar drop in cases in the past week, with just 149 new cases since Dec. 30, and no new deaths, with the level remaining at 65.