7-Day Average Of Daily COVID-19 Cases Is Lowest It’s Been Since Late October

DHS: 2,757 New Cases Of The Disease, 15 New Deaths On Sunday

A woman in a mask with a large hood pulled up onto her head exits a COVID-19 patient's room
A healthcare worker wears a mask as she works outside of a COVID-19 patient’s room Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at UW Hospital. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging at around 3,513 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services. That is the lowest that figure has been since Oct. 23, when the seven-day average was 3,471 new cases.

DHS reported 2,757 new cases of the disease Sunday. There were 15 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Sunday.

On Sunday, 9,418 people tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 27.8 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the decline.

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 10.9 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,384 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Saturday. A total of 19,249 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 436,773, according to DHS. A total of 4,056 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 24 counties had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 47 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity, and one, Waushara County, had a “high” level That’s a notable change from the previous week when 41 counties were listed as “critically high”. Wisconsin’s overall level moved from “critically high” to “very high” since last week, 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.

As of Dec. 9, two of Wisconsin’s regions — the western, and southeast regions — had “critically high” levels of activity, while two others — the Fox Valley and northeast regions — had “very high” activity that was growing.

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 59,675 as of Sunday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Sunday was 12,175.

A total of 2,687,539 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,250,766 have tested negative.