DHS Reports 1,407 New COVID-19 Cases As Testing Remains Low

9 New Deaths Reported In Wisconsin On Monday

A nurse at a drive up COVID-19 coronavirus testing station
A nurse at a drive up COVID-19 coronavirus testing station, set up by the University of Washington Medical Center, holds a swab used to take a sample from the nose of a person in their car, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Seattle. UW Medicine is conducting drive-thru testing in a hospital parking garage and has screened hundreds of staff members, faculty and trainees for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Ted S. Warren/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases are averaging at around 2,200 new cases per day in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,407 new cases of the disease Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,255 daily cases. The average has risen slightly over the past week after falling throughout December. On Mondays, it’s typical for the new case numbers to be low, with labs usually posting fewer test results the day before.

There were nine new deaths from COVID-19 reported Monday. On Monday, 2,505 people tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 31.5 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise over the past week, as the overall number of people tested has been extremely low.

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 10.7 percent.

On Dec. 29, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information. According to a DHS news release, the vaccine data includes “summary metrics for allocation, shipment and total vaccine administered, as well as a graph displaying the number of vaccinations administered per day.”

According to the DHS, 265,575 doses of the vaccine have been allocated across Wisconsin as of Dec. 29. Currently, 47,157 doses of the vaccines have been administered while 156,875 have been shipped. Of the two vaccines approved for use, 40,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered while 6,306 doses are the Moderna vaccine.

A graph showing the daily number of vaccinations across the state saw an increase in vaccinations given in the last days of December, after a sharp decrease during the Christmas holiday. Preliminary data since Dec. 26 shows the number of vaccinations mostly increasing.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,069 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Sunday. A total of 21,580 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 487,938, according to DHS. A total of 4,884 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released last Wednesday, showed three counties — Jackson, Menominee and Pepin — had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 65 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Florence, Iron, Marquette and Waushara counties had 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.”

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 last Wednesday, all seven of Wisconsin’s regions had “very high” levels of activity but were listed as “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 59,345 as of Monday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Monday was only 3,912.

A total of 2,853,618 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,365,680 have tested negative.