DHS: 8,566 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Wisconsin

353 People Have Died From New Coronavirus In Wisconsin So Far

A medical assistant prepares to take a swab from a patient at a new drive-thru and walk-up coronavirus testing site
A medical assistant prepares to take a swab from a patient at a new drive-thru and walk-up coronavirus testing site Saturday, April 25, 2020, in Seattle. The site, open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, is available to anyone displaying the virus symptoms, are pregnant, over 60 or have a chronic condition, as well as health care workers and first responders. Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

There are 8,566 positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin as of Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health Services. That’s an increase of 330 cases from the day before.

According to health officials, 353 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon.

DHS reported 83,967 negative tests for the new coronavirus, an increase of 3,500 from Monday to Tuesday.

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According to DHS, 1,663 people have been hospitalized because of the virus. That means at least 19 percent of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the state have been hospitalized. DHS officials have said they don’t know the hospitalization history of 1,929 cases, or 23 percent.

A key metric outlined in Gov. Tony Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan for reopening the state is for the percentage of positive cases to be in decline over a 14-day period. According to state data, 11.1 percent were positive Sunday, 9.9 percent were positive Monday, and 8.6 percent were positive Tuesday.

A screenshot of a graph from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Monday, May 5, 2020, that shows the percent of people tested for COVID-19 who had positive results by day in the last 14 days.

On Tuesday, The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released an additional list of metrics the agency will use to “determine when we can begin to allow people to interact and, more importantly, get Wisconsinites back to work.”

The metrics webpage includes “gating criteria” for reported symptoms, cases, hospital capacity and infection rates among health care workers.

Symptoms criteria are met when influenza-like symptoms and COVID-19-like cases show a downward trend during a 14-day period.

DHS says the criteria for hospitals will be met if 95 percent of institutions affirm they have the ability to test all symptomatic clinical staff and can treat all patients without crisis care.

A downward trend of COVID-19 cases among health care workers is the final metric listed by DHS.

With the recent increases in testing capacity, health officials have loosened restrictions on who can get tested, subject to the availability of testing supplies.

On Monday, Evers announced the state’s plan to make Wisconsin one of the top states in testing per capita. Evers said Wisconsin is preparing to provide 85,000 COVID-19 tests per week.

This will be done by working with the Wisconsin National Guard to deploy teams to employer outbreak sites; providing free testing and diagnostics to Wisconsin’s 373 nursing homes; increasing the number of free drive-thru testing sites; and providing more supplies to health care systems so people who want a test can have one, Evers said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Wisconsin has 51 labs performing COVID-19 tests, up from eight labs in March. According to DHS, they’re able to process 11,347 samples per day. The state has a goal of completing about 12,000 tests per day, DHS Secretary Andrea Palm has said.

DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said during a Tuesday briefing that Wisconsin is among the top five states in terms of testing capacity.

“So that means we can implement a strategy that is similar to places like South Korea that did extensive testing to know who has the virus so that those who have it can isolate it, not transmit it to others,” said Van Dijk. “That’s the philosophy behind this and why we are extending community testing.”

She said DHS has also received around 1,000 applications from individuals interested in conducting contract tracing for the state.

“Our goal is to interview every person who tests positive for COVID-19 within 24 hours and follow up with every one of their contacts within another 24 hours to provide them with guidance on isolation and potential testing,” Van Dijk said. “Testing, tracing and tracking the spread of coded 19 are our way out of this pandemic.”

According to a press release, the State Emergency Operations Center, DHS, Wisconsin Emergency Management and the National Guard are working with local health departments to hold community testing events in places with a known lack of access to testing or where additional testing is needed.

There are confirmed cases in 67 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

The following counties have no confirmed cases as of Monday afternoon: Burnett, Forest, Langlade, Pepin and Taylor.