MILWAUKEE — While the pandemic and federal public health emergency tied to COVID-19 may be over, variants of the virus continue to spread, landing more Wisconsinites back in the hospital just as the traditional cold and flu season ramps up.

"We've seen ups and downs in positivity [when it comes to COVID]," said Dr. Ben Weston, an associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County's chief health policy advisor. "What's a little different right now is how many people are getting quite sick and need to be hospitalized."

As of Tuesday evening, the Wisconsin Hospital Association reported that 345 Wisconsinites were hospitalized with COVID-19, a fraction of where things were at during the height of the pandemic but still double the totals from mid-September.

"It means particularly vulnerable populations need to be cautious and need to get vaccinated," Dr. Weston said. "We're talking about folks who are immunocompromised, those with other medical conditions and particularly those over the age of 65."

Watch the full interview above.