COVID cases trend down


Sophia Voight, Assistant News Editor

Winnebago County saw a decrease in COVID-19 cases over the past week due to the lack of testing available to residents over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the county health department.

However, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) weekly COVID-19 report said the low number of COVID-19 cases will likely be followed by a spike in cases over next week as cases rise from family get-togethers and the increase in testing before Christmas.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus in Winnebago County has trended down over the last two weeks, according to WCHD COVID-19 data.

The first week of December saw an average of 71 confirmed cases per day, which is a decrease from the 102 cases per day reported the week prior.

WCHD reported 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 650 active cases in the county.

The county dropped from it’s “critically high” burden level after Thanksgiving, having been in the worst burden status of COVID-19 since the beginning of September.

The county still remains in a “very high” level of burden for the virus, which is determined when active cases are between 538 and 1,537.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased over the past week in the Fox Valley, Tracey Froiland, Fox Valley Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition coordinator, said.

Fox Valley area hospitals had 100 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Dec. 2, a decrease from the 126 patients the prior week, the WCHD COVID-19 report said.

Froiland said the area hospitals still have a high volume of COVID-19 patients, but many have surge areas open to help with the high volume of patients.

“Hospitalizations typically occur several days or weeks into a person’s COVID illness, so we will see what the next few weeks bring,” she said.

But Froiland said if people don’t follow COVID-19 safety guidelines by social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, hospitals will expect cases to rise after the holidays.

“Hopefully they did the right things and we will not see another surge of patients,” she said.

COVID-19 cases on the UW Oshkosh campus have also been trending low, with the daily positivity rate remaining below 2% in the weeks following Thanksgiving break.

The positivity rate for COVID-19 cases on campus have not been below 2% since students arrived on campus back in September.

There are 51 active cases of COVID-19 on campus as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the UWO COVID-19 dashboard.

Even with cases trending down, the county health department still recommends people
follow strict social distancing precautions to limit the spread of the virus.

WCHD recommends that anyone over 65 or with a health condition avoid being indoors with people unless they are wearing a mask.

They also recommend getting tested 4-5 days after a known or potential exposure to the virus or if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild.

The Albee COVID-19 testing center will remain open over winter break and interim, with hours 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until Dec. 18.

Holiday hours are 8 a.m. – noon, Dec. 21 – 23 and Dec. 28 – 30. The center will be closed Dec. 24, 25, 31 and Jan. 1, and reopen Jan. 4.

The Culver Family Welcome Center testing center is expected to remain open through the middle of January with its regular hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. through Dec. 18.

Holiday hours are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20 and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Dec. 21 to 23.

The Culver testing center will be closed Dec. 24 through Jan. 3 and reopen 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. beginning Jan. 4.