Weekly update - reported case rates are pretty stable as are hospitalizations. Keep in mind, transmission rate is still HIGH. Community Level is LOW. This means that although there is a lot of COVID going around (hence you should take precautions if you don't want to get it), it is not causing high levels of severe illness that are overwhelming our hospitals and medical capacity. The state of WI is currently averaging about 2200 reported cases per day, which is on par with what we saw during parts of the Delta wave. There is still a LOT of COVID going around. In fact, we think that there currently about 10-30x as many cases happening as are reported, due to people not getting tested and/or not reporting a positive home test. That would put this surge on par with the winter Omicron one. The good news is that hospitalizations, while still happening (some people are still getting quite ill), the rate is far lower than we've seen in previous surges. This is due to the less severe variant, the availability of treatments, and people's immunity due to vaccination, boosting, and prior infection. Our current cases are mostly BA.2 and it's new subvariant BA.2.12.1. There are two new subvariants of Omicron making their entrance, BA.4 and BA.5, which have just started to get a toe-hold in WI and will likely become our new dominant strains. In some countries, but not in others, these are associated with higher hospitalization rates. We shall see what happens here. What we do know is that they have a higher degree of immune escape, which is to say that previous infection with Omicron BA.1 or BA.2 is less protective against them than we would have hoped. So, if it's been 90 days or more since you've had a COVID infection, you absolutely could be getting it again with these new kids on the block. Please get tested if you are exposed or have any symptoms. So, overall, this pandemic is still going. For most people now with our current situation and especially if they are vaccinated and boosted, it is a mild to moderate flu-like illness. That's why CDC is no longer recommending universal masking - it's now rare that the illness is severe. BUT you can still get long-COVID (less likely if you're vaccinated, but happens) and we still have requirements for isolation if you are infected. So, if you don't want to get infected, please take precautions, especially in high-risk situations. 

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Alexandra Hall, MD

Alexandra Hall M.D. – Dr. Hall earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Science Education from New York University, taught high school in East Harlem, and then earned her M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. 

She then completed a residency in Family Practice and served as Chief Resident at the University of Vermont.  After practicing medicine for Dean Health System in Wisconsin and then at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Dr. Hall moved to Menomonie, WI to work at UW Stout, where she currently teaches for the Biology department and serves as a physician at Student Health Services. 

Dr. Hall has a passion for educating people about health and science; she gives workshops regionally and nationally on various medical topics to both lay and professional audiences and has won several teaching awards for her work.


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