MILWAUKEE — The Omicron COVID-19 variant is now the dominant variant in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee County's Chief Health Policy Advisor, Ben Weston, noted in a social media post on Tuesday that it took the Alpha variant 12 weeks to become dominant, 11 weeks for the Delta variant and just 4 weeks for the Omicron variant.
Weston writes that's proof the new variant is incredibly contagious - making it essential people get their vaccine booster shots, upgrade their masks and reconsider social gatherings.
It took Alpha 12 weeks to become dominant in WI (yellow arrows)— Ben Weston, MD, MPH (@BenWWeston) December 28, 2021
Took Delta 11 weeks (blue)
Took #Omicron 4 weeks (green)
The new variant is ⚠️INCREDIBLY⚠️ contagious. We don't yet know severity.
💉get your #Booster
😷UPGRADE your mask
🤔rethink your gatherings pic.twitter.com/6E2qNivUGl
The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene has a database showing the spread of the variants in the state.
Meanwhile the state's hospitals are beginning to become critically full, with UW Health saying on Tuesday that the variant's surge could make it impossible to care for all their critical patients.
Dane, Door and Menominee counties still lead the state in vaccinations. Just over 61 percent of Milwaukee County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, and just over 56 percent have received two doses, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data. That's slightly higher than Wisconsin's average vaccination rates but significantly below the counties leading in those numbers.
The DHS reports the cumulative total confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the state has reached 9,928. Unconfirmed deaths have already surpassed 10,000.