Wis. health officials urge masks, vaccines as COVID average soars

Wisconsin health officials are renewing their call for people to get vaccinated, wear masks and avoid indoor gatherings over the Labor Day weekend as the state’s COVID-19 case average soars.

The state Department of Health Services said the state’s seven-day case average stood at 1,699 on Wednesday, the highest since January. COVID-19-related hospitalizations have increased steadily since early July.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported 934 inpatients on Tuesday, the most since February. Most of the patients are not vaccinated.

"It is critical that we take action now to prevent further spread of the virus. Let’s use all of our effective prevention tools: Get vaccinated, wear masks when gathering indoors, and stay home if you’re feeling sick, especially if planning get-togethers with others over the holiday weekend," Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases, said in a news release.

The DHS says people should wear masks indoors and celebrate Labor Day with outdoor activities. They say everyone, including fully-vaccinated people, should bring a mask wherever they go.

Health officials are recommending mask wearing in indoor settings everywhere in Wisconsin due to substantial to high COVID-19 transmission in every part of the state.