DHS Reports 13 New Deaths From COVID-19

Wisconsin Surpassed 1,000 Deaths From The Coronavirus Earlier This Week

A box of surgical masks is open with a few out on the table.
Image by Vesna Harni from Pixabay

New reports of COVID-19 cases dipped back down on Saturday in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state’s Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 829 new cases of the virus on Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 732 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 847 daily cases.

DHS reported 1,021 new cases of the virus on Friday, the first time the figure has passed the 1,000-case marks since Saturday’s record-breaking 1,165 new cases.

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The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 65,056, according to the DHS. A total of 1,038 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with 13 new deaths reported on Saturday.

According to DHS, 7.3 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 7 percent. Yesterday’s seven-day period’s test-positive rate was also 7.3 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 23,898 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with test results reported on Saturday was 11,335.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 1,120,175 people’s test results over the course of the pandemic. 1,055,119 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 66 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 new case rates per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks included Marinette, Barron, Sawyer and Lafayette. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Oneida, Lafayette and Green.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties.


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. Wisconsin currently meets the first, a two-week downward trend in COVID-like cases.

According to DHS, 5,275 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Saturday. That means at least 8.1 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 21,827 people, or 34 percent.

Editor’s Note: Previous WPR reporting on the DHS’s daily COVID-19 updates featured the average daily rate of positive testing from the past seven days. Present and future reporting will no longer include that metric, but will instead highlight the overall percentage of positive tests from the past seven days.