COVID-19 Cases On The Rise As Wisconsin Surpasses 400K Cases

7-Day Average Of New Cases Increases After 2 Weeks Of Decline

A woman can be seen reaching behind her head to tie up a yellow medical gown
A healthcare worker ties a medical gown before caring for a patient who has COVID-19 on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at UW Hospital. Angela Major/WPR

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin has surpassed 400,000 as new reports of the virus are on the rise, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 4,847 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 4,102 daily cases. Friday’s average marked the first time that figure had increased after nearly two weeks of decline.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 404,555, according to DHS.

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There were 63 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 10,350 tested negative.

Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 32.7 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise over the last week.

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 14.2 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,660 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 17,943 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.4 percent of all positive cases. On Friday, 202 people were reported newly hospitalized.

A total of 3,625 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 41 counties had a “critically high level” of COVID-19 activity, while 31 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. That’s a notable change from the previous week when 65 counties were listed as “critically high”. Wisconsin overall had a “critically high” level of activity, 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 Wednesday, all of Wisconsin’s regions were seeing a downward trend in cases and three — the northeast, Fox Valley and south central regions — moved from “critically high” levels of activity to “very high.”

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 59,695 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 15,197.

A total of 2,584,875 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,180,320 have tested negative.