DHS: 590 New COVID-19 Cases

7-Day Average Of New Cases Hovers Over 900

Two people walk on a sunny day while wearing masks
Two people with masks walk near the Monona Terrace on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in Madison. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging more than 900 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state’s Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 590 new cases of the virus on Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 914 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 868 daily cases. The count of new cases has dipped since Sunday, when DHS reported 957 new cases. Over the past few weeks, Mondays have represented the lowest number of new daily cases that week.

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The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 49,417, according to the DHS. A total of 893 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with one new death reported on Monday.

According to DHS, 8.5 percent of all test results reported on Monday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the average percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 7.1. That figure has fallen slightly since July 21, when it was 7.8 percent.

The percentage of positive tests 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 24,156 as of Monday. The number of actual tests reported on Monday was 6,946.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 873,322 tests over the course of the pandemic. 823,905 have come back 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 58 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 July 22, counties with the highest case rates per capita included Iron, Milwaukee, Brown and Racine. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Lincoln and Racine.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties, and based on the data from last Wednesday, all counties had at least one new case over a two-week period.


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. The state is currently meeting the goal for COVID-like cases, but not for influenza-like cases.

According to DHS, 4,420 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Monday. That means at least 8.9 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 16,975 people, or 34 percent.