DHS: 830 New COVID-19 Cases As Seven-Day Average Hits Highest-Ever Mark

Data Follows Saturday's Largest Single-Day Increase Of 978 Cases

waitress wears a mask while serving customers outside
A waitress wears a mask as she works at a restaurant on East Brady Street in Milwaukee on Monday, July 13, 2020. Angela Major/WPR

More than 800 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, and the state’s seven-day average for new cases was at its all-time high following several days in the past week of increases by more than 900 new cases.

The latest data from the state Department of Health Services showed 830 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and the average for the past seven days was 838 per day, the highest it’s been.

Sunday’s number of new cases was down following Saturday’s all-time high increase of 978, but the trend for the past several weeks showed a significant increase, as the pandemic worsens in Wisconsin. One week ago, the state’s seven-day average was 696 daily cases. On July 1, it was 491.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 42,315, according to the DHS. Of that total, 32,628 have recovered, meaning there are now 8,838 active cases in the state.

A total of 844 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with one new death reported on Sunday.

According to DHS, 10.3 percent of all test results reported on Sunday were positive for COVID-19, an increase from Saturday’s 7.9 percent positive.

The seven-day average for percent positives was 7.3 percent as of Sunday. It was 10.1 percent a week ago. Sunday’s increase follows declines in the percentage of positive tests on several days last week.

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.

State health officials have said that the rates Wisconsin is seeing represent significant community spread of the virus.

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 24,162 as of Sunday. The number of actual tests reported on Sunday was 8,089.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 773,271 tests over the course of the pandemic. 730,902 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 59 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 15, counties with the highest case rates per capita included Milwaukee, Trempealeau and Marquette. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Price, Pepin and Iron.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties, and based on the data from Wednesday, all counties reported at least one 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 does not meet either criteria.

According to DHS, 4,107 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Sunday. That means at least 10 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 14,152 people, or 33 percent.