Special Report

COVID-19: How Cases in the Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI Metro Area Compare to Other Major Metros

The U.S. reported over 1,325,000 new cases of coronavirus over the seven days ending September 14, bringing the total count to more than 40.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 655,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 46.1 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 47.0 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI metro area consists of Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, Washington County, and one other county. As of September 14, there were 13,917.2 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 Milwaukee residents, 10.1% higher than the national rate. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported 12,636.9 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the Milwaukee-Waukesha metro area, Milwaukee County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of September 14, there were 14,149.9 cases per 100,000 residents in Milwaukee County, the most of any county in Milwaukee-Waukesha, and far greater than the county with the lowest incidence. In Ozaukee County, there were 11,963.2 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in Milwaukee-Waukesha.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the Milwaukee-Waukesha metro area, unemployment peaked at 14.1% in April 2020. As of May 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 4.7%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Wisconsin where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of September 14 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of September 14 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of September 14 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of September 14 per 100,000 residents
24580 Green Bay, WI 319,401 47,720 14,940.5 430 134.6
22540 Fond du Lac, WI 102,597 15,193 14,808.4 151 147.2
39540 Racine, WI 195,602 28,259 14,447.2 420 214.7
11540 Appleton, WI 235,628 33,458 14,199.5 312 132.4
43100 Sheboygan, WI 115,178 16,207 14,071.3 172 149.3
33340 Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI 1,575,223 219,227 13,917.2 2,504 159.0
36780 Oshkosh-Neenah, WI 170,411 23,690 13,901.7 236 138.5
20740 Eau Claire, WI 167,406 22,492 13,435.6 234 139.8
48140 Wausau-Weston, WI 163,140 21,531 13,197.9 344 210.9
29100 La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN 136,542 17,038 12,478.2 116 85.0
27500 Janesville-Beloit, WI 162,152 20,171 12,439.6 221 136.3
31540 Madison, WI 653,725 64,656 9,890.4 464 71.0