After Lower Holiday Numbers, DHS Reports 95 New COVID-19 Deaths

3,403 New Cases Reported Tuesday; 85,609 Vaccine Doses Given In Wisconsin

health care workers wait in line to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
In this Dec. 24, 2020, file photo, health care workers wait in line to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif. Only about 1 percent of California’s 40 million residents have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, that the pace is “not good enough” as the virus continues to ravage the state. Jeff Chiu/AP Photo

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

DHS reported 3,403 new cases of the disease Tuesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,400 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 1,931 daily cases, although new cases and testing dipped over the holiday season.

There were 95 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Tuesday, the most since Dec. 22. On Tuesday, 4,805 people tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 31.9 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise.

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 11.2 percent.

On Dec. 29, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information, which will be updated every Tuesday. According to a DHS news release, the vaccine data includes “summary metrics for allocation, shipment and total vaccine administered, as well as a graph displaying the number of vaccinations administered per day.”

According to the DHS, 420,200 doses of the vaccine has been allocated across Wisconsin as of Tuesday. Currently, 85,609 doses of the vaccines have been administered while 266,675 have been shipped. Of the two vaccines approved for use, 64,674 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered while 20,935 doses are the Moderna vaccine.

A graph showing the daily number of vaccinations across the state saw vaccinations increase steadily in the last days of 2020. Preliminary data shows a sharp decrease in vaccination on Jan. 1, with an increase in the days after that.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,122 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Monday. A total of 21,796 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 491,341, according to DHS. A total of 4,979 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 three counties — Jackson, Menominee and Pepin — had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 65 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Florence, Iron, Marquette and Waushara counties had 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.”

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 but were listed as “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 59,245 as of Tuesday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Tuesday was 8,208.

A total of 2,861,826 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,370,485 have tested negative.