New reports of COVID-19 cases are once again at an all-time high in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.
DHS reported 3,279 new cases of the disease Tuesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,727 daily cases. Tuesday's new case total is the highest that figure has ever been. The previous single-day record for new COVID-19 cases was Oct. 8, when the DHS reported 3,132.
There were 34 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Tuesday, also a record high. Previously, the most deaths recorded in a single day was 27 on Sept. 30. The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths is now at about 16 per day, the highest it's ever been.
On Tuesday, 11,262 people tested negative.
Of those who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 19.6 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate is at an all-time high.
The positivity rate is often read by public health officials as a measure of overall testing levels. A high rate could indicate that testing in the state is limited, and skewed toward those already flagged as potentially having COVID-19. A lower rate could indicate testing is more widespread. Changes in the test positivity rate can also speak to COVID-19's spread, if the size and makeup of the testing pool stays consistent.
On Sept. 30, DHS also introduced an alternative positivity rate, one that measures the percentage of tests that are positive, instead of the percentage of people who get a positive result. The new metric takes into account people who have been tested multiple times. The seven-day average for that number is at 10.1 percent.
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According to DHS, there were 950 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Monday. A total of 8,601 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.5 percent of all positive cases.
The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 155,471, according to DHS. A total of 1,508 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.
COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 55 counties had a "very high level" of COVID-19 activity, and the rest had a "high" level of activity. Wisconsin overall had a "very high" level of activity, according to DHS.
COVID-19 activity designations are based on the number of new cases per a county’s population over a 14-day period, as well as whether there’s an upward or downward trend in new cases.
Based on last Wednesday's figures, the state's Fox Valley region had the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks, while Wisconsin's North Central region was seeing cases rise most rapidly.
Wisconsin's daily testing capacity — based on the availability of test supplies and adequate staffing — has grown from 120 available lab tests in early March to 42,240 as of Tuesday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Tuesday was 14,541.
A total of 1,712,425 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,556,954 have tested negative.