New local COVID-19 cases appear to be stabilizing at a very high rate; Special WUSD Board meeting Wed. p.m. revisiting metrics in view of plan to return to face-to-face instruction on 9/28

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
whitewaterbanner@gmail.com
September 22, 2020

After a very dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases after the return of UW-W students to the community, the number of new positive cases appears to have stabilized, though at a very high rate.

At a special School Board meeting on Wed., 9/23 at 6:30 p.m., District Administrator Caroline Pate-Hefty will be asking the board members to revisit the community-level and school-level metrics for determining tiers of instruction (i.e. virtual/hybrid/face-to-face) and thresholds at which specific classrooms and schools will shift to virtual. The options that Dr. Pate-Hefty will be suggesting are shown on this document.

In summary, the community-level options are as follows:
Option A – No longer follow the Jefferson County Health Department recommendations for reopening schools (or any other community-level metric) for determining tiers of instruction. Return to full in-person instruction, as planned, on 9/28. It is not stated whether the district would continue to calculate/post the community incidence, nor whether there would ever be the possibility of shifting downward based on community conditions.
Option B – Continue using the Jefferson County Health Department guidance, and shift to full virtual instruction on 9/24 or 9/25.
Option C – Continue using the Jefferson County Health Department guidance, but modify the tiers of instruction as shown on this document. There are also suggestions regarding how to determine when it is appropriate to shift downward or upward based on changes in community activity levels. Begin following this model immediately or effective 11/2 based on data released on 10/21. In the latter case, it appears that the district would return to full in- person instruction, as planned, on 9/28, and remain in that model at least until 11/2 unless a top community incidence threshold is established whereby all students shift to the full virtual model.

The meeting will also include discussion on the virtual model at the secondary level.

By the way, the School District of Fort Atkinson is continuing to follow the Jefferson County Health Department guidance, resulting in a shift to all virtual instruction for at least eight days effective on 9/23 based on the Jefferson County incidence of 26.5.

Here is the access information for the Zoom board meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88098916833?
pwd=WHY5clFBaFM3NW9ycGNFWnFXWTIrZz09
Passcode: 526561

Dial-in: 1-312-626-6799
Webinar ID: 880 9891 6833
Passcode: 526561

Shown below is a summary of the historical decisions made by the board on community-level metrics, together with recent community statistics. It appears that if community-level Option A is chosen, these statistics will no longer influence the district’s instructional model decisions.

In July, the school district adopted a school reopening plan that targeted a 14 day COVID-19 weighted positivity rate of less than 8% for Jefferson, Rock and Walworth counties. Approximately 87% of the students in the district reside in Walworth County. As of 9/22, the rate for Walworth County, which has been strongly influenced by the rapidly rising positive test results in Whitewater, was 24.1%.

On August 24 the School Board adopted revised guidance, based on Harvard Global Health’s recommendation, from Jefferson County Health Department. The metric now being used is the 7 day daily case incidence per 100,000 people.

Daily Case Incidence: The daily case incidence number (per 100,000) will determine whether a jurisdiction is green, yellow, orange, or red COVID activity levels using the criteria described under the COVID-19 Risk Level definition below. This is calculated using a 7-day rolling average with a lag time of one day. This lag time may increase based on processing and reporting times for tests being conducted.

COVID-19 Risk Level Case Incidence
COVID Risk Level Case Incidence Red (Very High Risk ) >25 daily new cases per 100,000 people
Orange ( High Risk ) 10<25 daily new cases per 100,000 people
Yellow ( Medium Risk ) 1<10 daily new cases per 100,000 people
Green ( Low Risk ) <1 daily new case per 100,000 people

Per below, Walworth County’s 7-day case incidence is 36, clearly in the “very high risk,” or “red” level, although there has been a significant decline compared with the previous 7 days. (Whitewater is dramatically higher, at 158.1.) In the red risk level, Jefferson County’s recommendation is that all instruction should be virtual. However, on September 14 the School Board approved a return to full face-to-face instruction effective September 28 for those students whose families chose that method of learning instead of staying virtual. At that time the risk level was orange. It was intended that if the risk level rose to red, the board was to be informed, but their intention was to still plan for full reopening of the schools.

DAILY CASE INCIDENCE PER 100,000 PEOPLE – WALWORTH COUNTY

End DateNew cases/14 daysIncidenceNew cases/7 daysIncidence
9/1552738.840359.2
9/2264847.724536

DAILY CASE INCIDENCE PER 100,00 PEOPLE – CITY OF WHITEWATER (WALWORTH COUNTY PORTION)

End DateNew cases/14 daysIncidenceNew cases/7 daysIncidence
9/15345206.8284340.4
9/22419251.1132158.1

TEST POSITIVITY RESULTS – CITY OF WHITEWATER (WALWORTH COUNTY PORTION)

End Date# Tests Reported – 14 days# PositivePositivity %# Tests Reported – 7 days#PositivePositivity %
8/222162712.5%10365.8%
8/29240197.9%128139.2%
9/74217718.3%2746021.9%
9/2095840442.2%57120435.7%

TEST POSITIVITY RESULTS – WALWORTH COUNTY

End Date# Tests Reported – 14 days#PositivePositivity %# Tests Reported – 7 days# PositivePositivity %% of Those with Positive Results Who Reported being Asymptomatic Total Deaths
8/22238627711.6%107111210.5%11.4%25
8/29197221010.6%9019810.9%11.1%27
9/7195322811.7%98612913.1%10.9%32
9/22268964824.1%124924519.6%9.7%34


UWW has established the following dashboard which provides useful information. It is found at this link.

COVID-19 Dashboard

The COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-changing situation and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater actively monitors and reviews a series of health, safety, and resource metrics to guide decision-making with regard to university operations. These metrics are considered in combination and consultation with recommendations and orders from the state and county health departments before any changes in operations are made.

Last Updated 9/22/2020 at 9:24 AM

COVID-19 cases reported to UW-Whitewater

New reports – Week of Sep. 20 – Sep. 26Previous weekCumulative reports since March 2020
Students24121349
Employees029
Other013
Unknown001

Dashboard is updated on business days with available data. Numbers include cases reported through university-coordinated testing, as well as those reported through the COVID-19 Hotline, which may include testing that occurred off-campus through other health clinics/providers. Student employees are counted in the student numbers. The “Other” category is defined as any positive cases reported to UW-Whitewater who are neither students nor employees and may include visitors to the university, contractors or vendors, or others who have been to the university in person.  These numbers represent individuals who have had direct contact with the campuses.  Individuals who are working or attending solely in a remote manner and not living in University Housing are not included.

Regional Metrics

University Health and Counseling Services (9/9-9/22)Walworth County (9/5-9/18)Rock County (9/2-9/15)Jefferson CountyWisconsin (7-day average)
Percent Positive49% (139/281*)17.58%11.05%15.2%14.9%
Time to complete contact tracing100% of contacts are initiated within 48 hours**80% of contacts are initiated within 48 hours57% of contacts are initiated within 48 hoursNot AvailableN/A
Healthcare system capacity levelNo crisis management of careNo crisis management of careNo crisis management of careNot Available22% Available (Based on Immediate Bed Availability)
Total cases per 100,000n/a541.8232.7213.8269.6

*UHCS percentage positive is based on PCR testing performed at the University Clinic site of students only.  Case totals are represented by (Total Positives/Total PCR Tests)

**To avoid duplication, UHCS actively partners with Walworth, Rock, and Jefferson Health Departments.  County Health Departments do tracing of positive cases and UHCS employees do tracing of contact cases. 

Dashboard is updated on business days with available data. Numbers include cases reported through university-coordinated testing, as well as those reported through the COVID-19 Hotline, which may include testing that occurred off-campus through other health clinics/providers. Student employees are counted in the student numbers. The “Other” category is defined as any positive cases reported to UW-Whitewater who are neither students nor employees and may include visitors to the university, contractors or vendors, or others who have been to the university in person.  These numbers represent individuals who have had direct contact with the campuses.  Individuals who are working or attending solely in a remote manner and not living in University Housing are not included.

Banner note: UW-W has now begun reporting the results of the antigen (rapid) tests which are being administered randomly to those in residence halls. This data is also available on the dashboard. The average percent positive for all antigen tests is 5.4%.

Share This
Posted in ,

Other Recent Posts

Flashback Friday Image from the Whitewater Historical Society for October 23, 2020

Read More

Nelson’s Bus & Whitewater FFA team up to Stuff the Bus with non-perishable food TODAY from 9-1

Read More

People’s Maps Commission Seeking Public Comment at Redistricting Hearing Featuring City’s Congressional District – Thurs. Oct 29

Read More

Fairhaven Lecture Series: Next Lecture, Mon., Oct 26: “One Week Left: The final days of the 2020 campaign & what to look for on election night”

Read More

Winter Parking Hours begin November 1

Read More

18-minute Common Council meeting endorses 1:1 grant application for “White Elephant” building renovation

Read More

Walworth County Public Health Flu Shot Clinic for Children & Teens – Sat., Oct 24 / Espanten el Flu con una vacuna

Read More

We’re All In Grant Program Phase 2 Announced for Wisconsin Small Businesses

Read More

Library Reopening to the Public on Mon., Nov. 2

Read More

Dr. Thomas Gibson named chancellor of UW-SP; Dr. Katy Heyning, former UW-W Dean of College of Education & Professional Studies, was a finalist

Read More

Join Nitardy Funeral Homes for a Holiday Service of Remembrance on Nov. 8 (Advertisement)

Read More

Whitewater Area League of Women Voters Promotes Early Voting Options

Read More

Free COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing at Jefferson Co. Fair Park – Fridays & Saturdays thru Dec. 5 (except Thanksgiving week)

Read More

“Bats of Wisconsin” Virtual Program offered via the Whitewater Public Library Oct. 28 at 4 p.m.; Registration required

Read More

This Week’s virtual city meetings (Updated with Plan Commission subcomittee meeting to review proposed sign ordinance amendments)

Read More