State Launches Online COVID-19 Vaccination Registry But Rollout Logistics Appear Wobbly

DHS Reports 308 New Positive Cases Of COVID-19

A sign on a clear glass door says "Face Covering Required."
Signs instruct customers to wear face masks and maintain social distancing Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says their new online COVID-19 vaccine registry will be available by the end of Monday, though some local health departments participating as test communities say they haven’t begun using it yet.

On Feb. 18, DHS announced it would begin a phased rollout March 1 of a statewide vaccine registry that residents could use to schedule vaccine appointments. As of Monday afternoon, a DHS webpage said it “will likely become available to the public in early March 2021.”

The agency also said as many as 10 local health departments would begin testing the software behind the registry on Feb. 22. WPR requested interviews with leaders in each of those health departments Monday.

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Marathon County Health Department spokesperson Judy Burrows replied in an email that pilot testing may begin next week.

As of Monday, the list of local health departments participating in the registry pilot program had also shrunk from 10, announced in February, to six.

The city of Menasha was one community no longer listed. Nancy McKenney, public health director for the city, said their testing has been postponed due to a vaccination clinic held last week by her department and the Wisconsin Army National Guard. McKenney said as a result, staff training on how to use the vaccine registry hasn’t happened yet.

State COVID-19 Cases Continue To Decline

DHS reported 308 new cases of the disease Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 610 daily cases. Daily new cases have been falling since Jan. 9, when the average was 2,996. Tuesday’s new case total is the lowest that figure has been since Aug. 31, when there were 266 new cases. It’s typical for DHS to report fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases on Mondays, with labs usually posting fewer test results the day before.

As COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin continue to decline, more of the state’s residents are being vaccinated against the disease.

A total of 1,436,450 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Wisconsin as of Monday, with 54.4 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up receiving at least one dose of the vaccine so far.

DHS reported 912,429 Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose, representing 15.7 percent of the state population. As of Monday, 492,074 people in Wisconsin, or 8.5 percent of the population, had received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

Increasing rates of vaccination have provided a sense of hope after a yearlong pandemic that has claimed the lives of 6,412 people in Wisconsin. There were no new deaths from COVID-19 reported Monday.

Other daily DHS data from Monday include:

Coronavirus rates vary from county to county. In order to track COVID-19 activity levels, DHS looks at the number of new cases per a county’s population over a 14-day period — and whether there’s an upward or downward trend in new cases. Activity levels range from “critically high,” “very high,” “high,” “medium,” to “low.”

As of Wednesday, DHS data showed the state had no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Four counties had a “very high” level of activity; 66 counties had a “high” level of activity; and two — Rusk and Bayfield counties — had a “medium” level. Wisconsin’s overall COVID-19 activity level is “high.”

For more about COVID-19, visit Coronavirus in Wisconsin.