DHS: 5 New COVID-19 Deaths In Wisconsin As Cases Continue To Climb

State Health Officials Report 2,745 New Cases, 97 New Hospitalizations

two people pass by on bikes. a window behind them explains a requirement for face masks in sharp white text.
Bicyclists ride past a message on a window about face mask requirements Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at UW-Madison. Angela Major/WPR

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 2,745 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,439 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 1,935 daily cases.

There were five new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 10,850 people tested negative.

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During a media briefing Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers said, “At the end of the day, whether we’re tired or not, the longer it takes for everyone to take COVID-19 seriously, the longer this virus will linger. We can’t afford to act like things are business as usual.”

President Donald Trump had two campaign stops scheduled in Wisconsin this weekend — one in Janesville and one in Green Bay — which have been canceled after Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus.

17.4 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That average 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 Wednesday, 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 9.3 percent.

According to DHS, there were 97 new COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Friday. A total of 7,506 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.9 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 127,906, according to DHS. A total of 1,353 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.


COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 45 counties had a “very high level” of COVID-19 activity, and the rest had a “high” level of activity. Wisconsin overall had a “very 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, the Fox Valley region of the state had the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks, while the North Central region saw cases rise most rapidly.

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 39,234 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 13,595.

A total of 1,573,477 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,445,571 have tested negative.

Editor’s Note: WPR has updated the language it uses in its daily coverage of COVID-19 statistics to clarify the distinction between COVID-19, an infectious disease, and the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes that disease. WPR’s daily coverage also no longer includes the Badger Bounceback Plan, which DHS has stopped updating.