5 New COVID-19 Deaths In Wisconsin Reported Friday

DHS: 1,506 New COVID-19 Cases, Averages Continue To Dwindle

Meya McPalmer, 1, wears a face shield to protect against COVID-19 while peeking into the Christmas display
Meya McPalmer, 1, wears a face shield to protect against COVID-19 while peeking into the Christmas display in a home that’s part of the Miracle on 34th Street Hampden Christmas Street Holiday Show, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in the Hampden section of Baltimore. Julio Cortez/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging at around 2,300 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,506 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,317 daily cases. That average has been on the decline since early December after peaking around Thanksgiving.

There were five new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 7,109 tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 24.8 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been decreasing since early December when it was 32.5 percent.

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 8.5 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,150 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday. A total of 20,703 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.4 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 467,899, according to DHS. A total of 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 seven counties had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 64 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Marquette County is the only county with a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity has been on the decline. Wisconsin’s overall level is “very high” for the third week in a row.

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, all seven of Wisconsin’s regions had “very high” levels of activity. All regions besides the Western part of the state are “shrinking” in activity, according to DHS.

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 59,185 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 8,615.

A total of 2,792,718 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,324,819 have tested negative.