The Climb Continues: Seven Facts You Should Know About COVID-19 in Eau Claire
Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley have so far been spared the stratospheric spikes in COVID-19 caseloads experienced elsewhere in the nation in recent weeks, but local figures nonetheless continue to climb.
Earlier this week, the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in Eau Claire County passed 300. As of Friday, July 10, the figure had reached 323, a 23% increase from the total of 263 just a week earlier. Of all those in the county who have tested positive for the coronavirus, an estimated 235 have recovered, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Here are seven other notable facts about the impact of the pandemic on the Chippewa Valley:
1. THE INCREASE IN CASE NUMBERS IS PICKING UP SPEED.
Eau Claire County announced its first diagnosed coronavirus case on March 20. It took more than two months – until May 29 – for the total number of cases in the county to pass 100. As of June 28, less than one month later, the figure passed 200. Then, only nine days passed before the total reached 300 on Tuesday, July 7.
2. THE VIRUS HAS HIT YOUNGER PEOPLE.
Just over half – 51% – of Eau Claire County coronavirus patients are under the age of 30, according to state data. The largest single group of people diagnosed are in the 20- to 29-year age range, who make up 38% of all cases. Statewide, twenty-somethings make up 25% of all cases, and just 36% of all cases are in people under the age of 30.
3. ONLY ONE DEATH HAS BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO THE VIRUS IN THE COUNTY.
Eau Claire County reported its first – and so far only – COVID-19 related death on June 22. Since then, the statewide death toll from the virus has grown from 745 to 814.
4. EAU CLAIRE IS FARING WORSE THAN ITS NEIGHBORS ...
The per capita infection rate in Eau Claire County is roughly 50% higher than the rate in Chippewa County and more than double the rate in Dunn County. (Total Chippewa County cases stand at 130, while there have been 54 in Dunn County.)
5. ... BUT BETTER THAN OTHER LARGE COUNTIES.
By contrast, Eau Claire County has a far lower infection rate than other counties with populations over 100,000: At just 0.31%, the rate is third from the bottom among those 16 counties. The infection rate in the worst-hit county, Milwaukee, is nearly five times worse than the Eau Claire County rate.
6. EAU CLAIRE’S FATALITY RATE IS LOW.
COVID-19 fatalities have been tallied in 46 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Of these 46, however, Eau Claire’s fatality rate – just three-tenths of 1% – is the lowest in the state. In some rural counties, more than 10% of patients diagnosed with the virus have died.
7. BUT THE VIRAL ACTIVITY LEVEL IS HIGH.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services creates a weekly dashboard of COVID-19 case indicators by county, which are based on statistics from the previous two weeks. The chart takes into account the caseload in each county and how it is changing over time. For the past three weeks, Eau Claire County’s COVID-19 activity level has been rated “high” by these metrics. It seems the rest of the state is catching up. As of June 24, only 22 counties (including Eau Claire) were rated “high,” which grew to 36 counties on July 1 and 48 counties on July 8.