DHS Reports 1,518 New COVID-19 Cases, 41 New Deaths

Nearly 130K Wisconsinites Have Received Both Vaccine Doses

A pharmacist in gray scrubs and a face shield looks closely at a vial as she draws up a vaccine
Pharmacist Nicole Hiltunen draws up a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, at Touchmark in Appleton, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases are on the decline in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,518 new cases of the disease Thursday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,229 daily cases, the lowest it has been since mid-September. New daily cases have been falling since early January, when the average was nearly 3,000.

There were 41 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Thursday. On Thursday, 5,656 tested negative.

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Of the people tested for COVID-19 over the past week,19.4 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been holding steady for about one week.

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.

DHS also tracks the percentage of tests that are positive, instead of the percentage of people who get a positive result. The metric takes into account people who have been tested multiple times. The seven-day average for that number is 4.9 percent.

According to DHS, 986,275 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin by the federal government as of Tuesday, an increase of 139,975 from a week ago. As of Thursday, 659,025 doses of the vaccines have been administered and 129,766 people have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

A graph showing the preliminary daily number of vaccinations across the state shows fewer doses given this week than last week — although doses given tend to dip on weekends.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 637 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday. A total of 24,634 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.5 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 546,955, according to DHS. A total of 5,992 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. Twenty-four counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity and 48 counties had a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” and “very high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. Wisconsin’s overall level was downgraded to “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, three of Wisconsin’s regions — northwest, north central and western — had “very high” levels of activity and were seeing “shrinking” levels or “no significant change” of COVID-19 activity, according to DHS. The state’s four other regions had a “high” level of activity.

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 7,174.

A total of 3,070,057 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,523,102 have tested negative.