Average New COVID-19 Cases, Percentage Of Positive Tests Continues To Decline In Wisconsin

DHS Reports 1,802 New COVID-19 Cases, 24 New Deaths

a nurse in a white mask leans down to carefully draw up the covid-19 vaccine
Jessica Coburn, an assistant professor at the UW-Madison School of Nursing, draws up COVID-19 vaccines while volunteering at the clinic in Jefferson County on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging at less than 1,500 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,802 new cases of the disease Thursday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,463 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 1,731 daily cases.

There were 24 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Thursday. On Thursday, 6,184 tested negative.

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Of the people tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 19.3 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That’s the lowest that rate has been since Oct. 8, when the seven-day average was 19.2 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.

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 5.6 percent.

According to DHS, 846,300 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated across Wisconsin as of Tuesday, an increase of 66,500 from a week ago. Currently, 432,102 doses of the vaccines have been administered, and 83,055 people have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

A graph showing the daily number of vaccinations across the state has seen a steady increase in doses administered since the beginning of 2021 — although doses administered dip on weekends. Preliminary data since Dec. 15 shows the number of vaccinations mostly increasing.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 734 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday. A total of 24,063 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.5 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 538,348, according to DHS. A total of 5,811 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 moved to having no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Forty-seven counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity and 25 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 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 and were seeing “shrinking” levels or “no significant change” of COVID-19 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 59,275 as of Thursday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Thursday was 7,986.

A total of 3,031,492 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,493,144 have tested negative.