DHS: Low Number Of Single-Day COVID-19 Cases Following Christmas Holiday

Of 5,893 New Tests Reported Since Friday, 8 Percent Were Positive

a registered nurse becomes the first person in Oklahoma to receive Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine
Hannah White, left, a registered nurse who works in the emergency room, becomes the first person in Oklahoma to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases are low on Saturday, with the state Department of Health Services reporting 632 new cases of the disease.

The number of new test results reported Saturday was 5,893. On Saturday, 5,261 tested negative.

Saturday’s data brings the average for the past seven days to 1,882 daily cases. The seven-day average of new cases one week ago was 3,048.

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There were four new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday.

Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 24 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been decreasing.

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 Sept. 30, 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 8.1 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,070 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 20,734 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.4 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 468,531, according to DHS. A total of 4,683 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed seven counties had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 64 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Marquette County is the only county with a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity has been on the decline. Wisconsin’s overall level is “very high” for the third week in a row.

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, all seven of Wisconsin’s regions had “very high” levels of activity. All regions besides the Western part of the state are “shrinking” in activity, according to DHS.

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 59,185 as of Saturday.

A total of 2,798,611 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,330,080 have tested negative.

Editor’s note: WPR originally inaccurately reported that Saturday’s case total is the lowest since early July with the following: “The state Department of Health Services reported 632 new cases of the disease Saturday. On July 9, there were 596 new cases of COVID-19, and on July 10, there were 634. Saturday is the first time new cases have been below 1,000 since Sept. 11.” The previous lowest number of new COVID-19 cases was on Sept. 7, with 567. On July 9, there were 754 new cases of COVID-19, and 845 on July 10.