32 New COVID-19 Deaths Reported Saturday

Wisconsin Averaging Just Above 1K Cases Per Day

Nurse fills syringe with COVID vaccine
Jefferson County public health nurse Mary Bender draws up a COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, at Jefferson County Fair Park. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are continuing to decrease in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 934 new cases of the disease Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,106 daily cases. Daily new cases have been falling since early January, when the average was nearly 3,000.

There were 32 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 3,504 tested negative.

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Of the people tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 18.1 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the decline for the past month.

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.

DHS also tracks the percentage of tests that are positive, instead of the percentage of people who get a positive result. The metric takes into account people who have been tested multiple times. The seven-day average for that number is 4.7 percent.

According to DHS, 986,275 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin by the federal government as of Tuesday, an increase of 139,975 from a week ago. As of Friday afternoon, 740,526 doses of the vaccines have been administered and as of Saturday, 158,053 people have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

A graph showing the preliminary daily number of vaccinations across the state shows fewer doses given this week than last week — although doses given tend to dip on weekends.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 583 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 24,824 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.5 percent of all positive cases, as of Saturday.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 549,155, according to DHS. A total of 6,052 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed the state had no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Twenty-four counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity and 48 counties had a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” and “very high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. Wisconsin’s overall level was downgraded to “high.”

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.

As of Wednesday, three of Wisconsin’s regions — northwest, north central and western — had “very high” levels of activity and were seeing “shrinking” levels or “no significant change” of COVID-19 activity, according to DHS. The state’s four other regions had a “high” level of activity.

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 59,273 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 4,438.

A total of 3,080,221 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,531,066 have tested negative.