Wisconsin officials tracking new COVID-19 variant

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is tracking the newest COVID-19 variant of concern after the Centers for Disease Control updated the classification.

The variant B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant, was upgraded from a variant of interest.

The CDC has established criteria for identifying variants that may be more worrisome than others. Variants are most commonly raised to variants of concern if they show evidence of being more contagious, causing more severe illness, or are more difficult to treat using known therapies. DHS, using CDC’s criteria, publicly reports on variants of concern.

To date, 26 cases of the Delta variant have been identified in Wisconsin since April 2021.

“Wisconsin continues to report an increasing proportion of COVID-19 cases across the state that are variants of concern,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “We urge Wisconsinites to protect themselves, their families, and their communities by getting vaccinated. The sooner people get vaccinated against COVID-19, the less opportunity for the virus to keep mutating.”

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin is below 100 for the first time since March 2020.