DHS: Nearly 950 New Cases Of COVID-19 On Saturday

Wisconsin Has Now Had Over 80,000 Cases Of Virus

two people in a raft are pushed by a worker in a face mask at the bottom of a water slide
A worker wearing a mask at the Mt. Olympus water park helps two people in a raft at the bottom of a water slide Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in the Wisconsin Dells. Angela Major/WPR

The state Department of Health Services reported 946 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 786 daily cases.

The seven-day average is nearly 100 cases higher than it was a week ago, though part of the increase can be attributed to a large spike of 1,498 cases reported on Friday. The DHS said that was caused by technical issue with the laboratory test reporting system.

“Problems with the laboratory test reporting over the last few days delayed the processing of the numbers until today, but that has now been fixed,” said a post on the DHS Facebook page.

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The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 80,300, according to the DHS. A total of 1,168 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with 15 new deaths reported on Saturday.

According to DHS, 11.8 percent of all test results reported on Saturday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the overall percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 9.5 percent. As of Saturday, Aug. 29, the seven-day test positivity rate was 8.2 percent, which remained fairly consistent this week until the spike of cases reported Friday.

The percentage of positive cases 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 27,080 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with test results reported on Saturday was 8,021.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 1,297,578 people’s test results over the course of the pandemic. Of those,1,217,278 have tested 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 64 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 Wednesday, counties with the highest case rates per capita included Juneau, Iron, Brown and Racine. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Kewaunee, Forest, Adams and Shawano.

The largest spikes in cases Friday were in Brown, Dane, Milwaukee and Outagamie counties with smaller but still significant spikes in La Crosse, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha, Washington and Winnebago counties.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties and all counties reported new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks.


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. On Saturday, neither criteria had been met.

According to DHS, 6,048 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Saturday. That means at least 8 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 27,095 people, or 34 percent.