(Photo courtesy of Marshfield Clinic Health System-Eau Claire)
Marshfield Clinic Health System medical personnel treat a critically ill COVID-19 patient after the patient was flown to Marshfield Clinic's Eau Claire hospital. (Photo courtesy of Marshfield Clinic Health System-Eau Claire)

Milestone reached as the Omicron surge subsides.

Just short of two years after the first COVID-19 death was recorded in Wisconsin, the virus has now killed more than 12,000 Wisconsinites, according to data from the state Department of Health Services (DHS).

The latest grim milestone comes as the surge of the virus’ extremely contagious Omicron variant subsides, with the seven-day average of new daily confirmed cases falling from a peak of 18,798 on Jan. 19 to just 600 as of Tuesday. The virus raged following the winter holiday season, causing a testing shortage and overloading hospitals.

The seven-day average of daily deaths from the virus has fallen from a peak of 38 set Jan. 24 to 10 as of Tuesday. 

The decline in cases and deaths is reflected in a plummeting number of COVID-related hospitalizations in Wisconsin. 

According to data published Wednesday by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, hospitals in the state were treating 487 COVID-19 patients, down from a Jan. 12 peak of 2,278. Of those patients, 94 are in intensive care, down from a peak of 488.

Wisconsin’s vaccine rollout has continued at a snail’s pace. 

Just 60.4% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 32.7% of people have received a booster shot, according to DHS data. Just 27,000 people received a vaccine dose last week, down from a peak of almost 435,000 the first week of April 2021.Nationally, 65% of people are fully vaccinated and 43.8% have received a booster, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.