DHS Reports 2,988 Positive COVID-19 Cases Friday

Daily Positives Just Below Thursday's Record of 3,132

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vehicles can be seen side-by-side as test technicians do various tasks
Vehicles are stopped in several lanes as drivers get tested for COVID-19 on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases remain high a day after Wisconsin set an all-time record for the daily number of positives, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 2,988 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,416 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 2,439 daily cases. That average has been rising since Wednesday, when it was 2,346.

DHS reported 3,132 new cases of the disease Thursday, marking a new record for the state.

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There were 16 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 11,834 tested negative.

17.4 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate is just below the state’s record of 17.6 percent from the previous Friday.

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 9.3 percent.

According to DHS, there were 907 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 8,199 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or almost 6 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 144,818, according to DHS. A total of 1,440 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 55 counties had a “very high level” of COVID-19 activity, and the rest had a “high” level of activity. Wisconsin overall had a “very high” level of activity, according to DHS.

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, the state’s Fox Valley region had the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks, while Wisconsin’s North Central region saw cases rise most rapidly.

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 42,234 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 14,822.

A total of 1,663,480 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,518,662 have tested negative.

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