DHS Reports 3,493 New COVID-19 Cases Sunday

7-Day Average For New Cases Was 4,385

People wearing mask because of the pandemic
Pedestrians wearing masks on Wednesday, Aug 5, 2020, at UW-Madison. Angela Major/WPR

The seven-day average of new reports of COVID-19 cases remained near an all-time high in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 3,493 new cases of the disease Sunday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 4,385 daily cases. One week ago, the seven-day average was 4,007 daily cases.

There were 16 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Sunday. On Sunday, 14,569 tested negative.

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The COVID Tracking Project reports there were 1,018 new cases per 100,000 people in Wisconsin over the past two weeks, which ranks third in the country behind North Dakota and South Dakota for new cases per capita. The death count, now at 2,047, is the 27th highest in the country overall and the 39th highest per capita at 35 deaths per 100,000 people.

About 29.5 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate, which has been steadily rising, was about 18 percent a month ago.

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 15 percent.

According to DHS, there were 1,510 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Saturday. A total of 11,497 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 228,863, according to DHS. A total of 2,047 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 70 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 continued to have the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks. The state’s northwest 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 42,474 as of Sunday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Sunday was 18,062.

A total of 2,070,068 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,841,205 have tested negative.