DHS: 455 New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed On Monday

Percentage Of Positive Tests Falls Back To 7.6 After Spiking On Sunday

A man in a blue medical gown approaches a white SUV to administer a test
Members of the Wisconsin National Guard administer COVID-19 tests Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at Lake Geneva Middle School in Lake Geneva, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging at around 734 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state’s Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 455 new cases of the virus on Monday. One week ago, the seven-day average was 819 daily cases.

Monday’s new case total is the lowest that figure has been since August 3, when there were 404 new cases.

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It’s typical for the DHS to report lower numbers of COVID-19 cases on Mondays. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 13 weeks in which Mondays are the weekday with the lowest case totals.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 66,196, according to the DHS. A total of 1,039 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with no new deaths reported on Monday.

According to DHS, 7.6 percent of all test results reported on Monday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the overall percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 7.4. The previous seven-day period’s test-positive rate was 6 percent.

The percentage of positive cases 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 the virus. A lower rate could indicate testing is more widespread.

Changes in the test positivity rate can also speak to a virus’ spread, if the size and makeup of the testing pool stays consistent.

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 27,898 as of Monday. The number of actual people with test results reported on Monday was 5,962.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 1,132,236 people’s test results over the course of the pandemic. 1,066,040 have tested negative.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest coronavirus activity data from DHS, released once per week each Wednesday, showed that 66 counties had a “high level” of coronavirus activity. Activity level designations are based on “burden,” or 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.

On Aug. 12, counties with the highest new case rates per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks included Marinette, Barron, Sawyer and Lafayette. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Oneida, Lafayette and Green.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties.


DHS still has a dashboard showing Wisconsin’s progress on gating criteria under the now-defunct Badger Bounce Back Plan. Those gating criteria would have been used to determine when it would be safe to begin reopening the state, prior to the state Supreme Court ruling that ended a statewide stay-at-home order. The state has never met all six of the criteria at once.

Two of the criteria are a statistically significant 14-day downward trend in COVID-like cases reported in emergency departments, and a similar downward trend for influenza-like cases in emergency departments. As of Monday, the state has seen a downward trend in COVID-like cases but has not seen the same trend in influenza-like cases.

According to DHS, 5,327 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Monday. That means at least 8 percent of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the state have been hospitalized. DHS officials said they don’t know the hospitalization history of 22,362 people, or 34 percent.

Editor’s Note: Previous WPR reporting on the DHS’s daily COVID-19 updates featured the average daily rate of positive testing from the past seven days. Present and future reporting will no longer include that metric, but will instead highlight the overall percentage of positive tests from the past seven days.