COVID-19 variant cases climb in Wisconsin's neighboring states

Virus Outbreak Travel Restrictions
Posted at 4:24 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 17:44:07-04

The number of COVID-19 variant cases continues to climb in states neighboring Wisconsin, a concern for state health officials here with spring break underway and as the summer vacation period approaches.

The most prominent variant in Wisconsin right now is the B117, also known as the United Kingdom, variant. Wisconsin has reported 78 cases of the B117 variant as of Wednesday afternoon. That's followed by one case of the P1 variant, and two cases of the B1351 variant.

The number of variants in Wisconsin compared to most of its neighboring states is low. According to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:


  • 1,237 cases of the B117 variant
  • 0 cases of the P1 variant
  • 5 cases of the B1351 variant


  • 218 cases of the B117 variant
  • 19 cases of the P1 variant
  • 3 cases of the B1351 variant


  • 526 cases of the B117 variant
  • 2 cases of the P1 variant
  • 8 cases of the B1351 variant

Iowa is the exception among Wisconsin's neighbors. Iowa has slightly more cases of the UK variant, but reports no instances of the other two known variants:


  • 89 cases of the B117 variant
  • 0 cases of the P1 variant
  • 0 cases of the B1351 variant

Michigan, California and Florida lead the country in the number of known cases of the variants. Wisconsin has roughly the average number of variants among the 50 states, according to the CDC.

But as more Wisconsin students and families take or prepare to take vacations, including to these neighboring states, health officials are warning that traveling right now could do more harm than good.

"We don't want to take five steps back just when we're at the cusp of things getting a lot better," said Wisconsin Department of Health Services' Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk last week.

RELATED: Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down statewide mask mandate in 4-3 ruling

"To see this drastic of an increase in the number of cases is concerning, so we definitely want to be cognizant of that case rate," said Jefferson County Health Department epidemiologist, Samroz Jakvani.

"You are at airports, you're around other folks who are traveling, and so you are exposing yourself to potentially more of those variants than you would be here at home," said Jakvani.

Health officials add that travelers should continue to follow CDC guidelines, which include spending most of your time outside as much as possible, wearing a mask and staying socially distant.

Scientists currently believe the new variants spread more effectively and may lead to more severe symptoms. The three vaccines in use in the U.S. appear to be effective against the variants.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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