Less than three weeks after announcing the state’s first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services is issuing a public health advisory for it.
The state’s public health officials say they are continuing to research how Omicron is different than other variants of COVID-19, but current data from other states and places around the world has shown it spreads more easily than other strains — including the Delta variant, which became the dominant strain of the virus in Wisconsin. That has health officials worried about the state of an already-strained healthcare system.
“There is a serious risk that continued, increased numbers of COVID-19 cases will overwhelm an already strained health care system, leading to dangerous situations where patients experiencing medical emergencies may not be able to receive immediate, adequate, life-saving attention and care due to lack of hospital capacity,” the advisory warns.
Health officials are urging everyone in the state to take immediate steps to reduce the strain on hospitals and clinics, including:
- Getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including getting a booster dose as soon as you are eligible
- Wearing a well-fitting mask in indoor spaces when you are around other people who do not live with you
- Keeping holiday gatherings small, getting tested before visiting other people, and staying home if you test positive or have symptoms
As of December 16, Wisconsin’s 7-day average of new cases stood at about 3,558 cases per day, higher than the 3,355 cases per day the state was reporting this time a year ago.
You can read the entire public health advisory here