DHS: 1,078 New COVID-19 Cases, 1 New Death Following New Year’s Day

7-Day Average Of People Testing Positive For The Disease Has Been Rising This Past Week

UW Health pharmacy technician Nikolas Gardner stores the tray of vaccines in a freezer
UW Health pharmacy technician Nikolas Gardner stores the tray of vaccines in a freezer at UW Health. The vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Photo courtesy of John Maniaci/UW Health

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging around 2,000 in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,078 new cases of the disease Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,222 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 1,882 daily cases.

There was one new death from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 3,976 tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 30.7 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise since Dec. 25, 2020, when the average was 24 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 10.7 percent.

On Dec. 29, 2020, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information, which will be updated daily. 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, 265,575 doses of the vaccine has been allocated across Wisconsin as of Saturday. As of Dec. 29, 47,157 doses of the vaccines have been administered while 156,875 have been shipped. Of the two vaccines approved for use, 40,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered while 6,306 doses are the Moderna vaccine.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,010 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 21,449 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 484,085, according to DHS. A total of 4,870 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 59,185 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 5,054.

A total of 2,845,118 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,361,033 have tested negative.