DHS Reports 1,271 New COVID-19 Cases Monday

7-Day Average Of Daily Cases Continues At Record High

a woman in a red jacket passes displays of flowers while holding her own flowers in her arms
A customer walks on the sidewalk holding flowers Friday, Sep. 11, 2020, at Cameron Park Farmers Market in La Crosse. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging around 1,800 cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,271 new cases of the virus Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,792 daily cases. It’s typical for the DHS to report lower numbers of COVID-19 cases on Mondays.

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It’s the fourth day in a row that the weekly average has been at a record high. One week ago, the average was 1,171 daily cases. That average has been rising since Sept. 11.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 102,498, according to the DHS. A total of 1,244 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with two new deaths reported Monday.

According to DHS, 18.7 percent of all test results reported Monday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the overall percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 16.4. The previous seven-day period’s test-positive rate was 14.9 percent.

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 38,863 as of Monday. The number of actual people with test results reported Monday was 6,796.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 1,440,125 people’s test results over the course of the pandemic. 1,337,627 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 71 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, Sept. 16, counties with the highest case rates per capita included La Crosse, Outagamie, Florence and Walworth. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Jackson, La Crosse and Langlade.

On Monday, Fond du Lac, Oconto and Portage counties reported their second-highest daily case numbers since the start of the pandemic.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties, and every Wisconsin county reported at least one new case over the preceding week.


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 Monday, the state did not meet either of these criteria.

According to DHS, 6,692 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Monday. That means at least 7 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 37,269 people, or 36 percent.