DHS: COVID-19 Testing Ticks Up, So Do Positive Cases

607 People Have Died From Coronavirus In Wisconsin So Far

A person stops for some hand sanitizer at the Arden Fair Mall
A person stops for some hand sanitizer at the Arden Fair Mall in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, May 29, 2020. Arden Fair reopened Friday since closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

There have been 18,917 positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin as of Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health Services. That’s an increase of 374 cases from the day before, and more than twice as many new cases as were reported the previous day.

On Monday, the state had the smallest single-day increase in weeks with 140 more cases between Sunday and Monday.

According to health officials, 607 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon.

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DHS reported 263,743 negative tests for the new coronavirus, an increase of 10,149 from Monday to Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, 64 percent of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered, according to DHS. Three percent who have tested positive have died from the virus.

Wisconsin’s daily testing capacity has grown from 120 available lab tests in early March to 15,115 as of Monday. An increase in testing is one reason for the increase in the number of positive cases. The percentage of positive tests was 3.6 percent Tuesday. It was 3.9 percent Monday, and it hit its lowest point Sunday at 2.3 percent.

While Tuesday saw another low percentage of positive tests, the state also saw a 14-day downward trajectory in the percentage of positive tests — a key metric signifying COVID-19 is under control.

The state has also seen a downward trajectory of COVID-like illnesses reported within a 14-day period.

As for the state’s hospitals, 95 percent report being able to treat all patients without crisis standards of care and 95 percent of hospitals claim they have arranged to test all symptomatic staff treating patients, according to DHS. There has not been a downward trend of COVID-19 cases among health care workers, calculated weekly.

State Officials Outline New Response Plans

Gov. Tony Evers plans to spend $1 billion in federal funds to combat COVID-19 in Wisconsin. The money will be used to pay for contact tracing, ongoing efforts to test people for the virus and preparing for a potential surge.

Last Wednesday, Evers announced the $200 million “Routes to Recovery” grant program funded by the federal coronavirus relief bill and aimed at helping local governments address urgent needs. Evers said $10 million of that will go to Wisconsin’s tribal nations, with the remainder distributed among county, city, village and town governments.

Last Thursday, DHS Secretary Andrea Palm announced $10 million will be used to reimburse health clinics providing coronavirus-related care to underserved populations. The funding is from the federal coronavirus relief bill. Rural and tribal health clinics, community health centers, and free and low-cost clinics are eligible for the funding.

Testing Efforts Continue To Ramp Up

Friday was the first time the state met the plan’s goal of testing 12,000 people per day for COVID-19, with DHS reporting a total of 12,869 tests. Testing totals dipped over the weekend, with the DHS reporting 9,320 tests conducted Saturday, and 7,195 Sunday. On Tuesday, 10,523 tests were conducted.

Wisconsin’s criteria for reopening were largely based on federal recommendations.

According to DHS, 2,643 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Tuesday. That means at least 14 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 5,792 people, or 31 percent.

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

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