DHS: New COVID-19 Cases Flat, Deaths Up Over Last 7 Days

Latest Data Suggest Declines In Pandemic Spread May Be Stalling

A man in winter clothing walks on a sidewalk flanked by snow.
A pedestrian wears a face mask while walking on a sidewalk Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, in Milwaukee. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 in Wisconsin are averaging at around 630 daily cases, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services. There was an increase in both new cases and deaths from the disease on Thursday.

DHS reported 840 new cases of the disease Thursday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 632 daily cases. One week ago, the seven-day average was 635 cases. Seven day averages had been declining for weeks, sometimes sharply, but the latest data showed little change.

There were 52 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Thursday. The seven-day average of deaths from the disease was 23 deaths per day. One week ago, the seven-day average was 17 deaths per day.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

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

On Thursday, 12,337 people tested negative.

Of the tests for COVID-19 conducted over the past week, 2.4 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the decline and takes into account people who have been tested multiple times.

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.

According to DHS, 1,625,875 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin by the federal government as of Wednesday, an increase of 473,850 from a week ago. A total of 1,281,901 doses have been administered in Wisconsin as of Thursday, with 49.4 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up receiving at least one dose of the vaccine so far. DHS reported that 842,818 Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose, representing 14.5 percent of the state population. As of Thursday, 411,707 people in Wisconsin, or 7 percent of the population, have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 355 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday. A total of 25,954 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.6 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 562,151, according to DHS. A total of 6,394 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 the state had no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Four counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity, 66 counties had a “high” level of activity, and two, Rusk and Bayfield counties, had a “medium” level. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “very high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. Wisconsin’s overall level is “high.”

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 of Wisconsin’s seven regions were listed as “high,” and were seeing “no significant change” or “shrinking” levels of COVID-19 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 59,273 as of Thursday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Thursday was 13,177.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, nearly 3.2 million COVID-19 tests have been administered. Of those, 2.6 million tests have been negative.