DHS Reports 3,858 Positive Cases Of COVID-19 Friday

7-Day Average Of Positive Cases Has Declined Since Post-Thanksgiving Spike

A healthcare worker helps a colleague adjust her personal protective equipment
A healthcare worker helps a colleague adjust her personal protective equipment at the Bellin Health COVID Medical Unit in Green Bay. Photo courtesy of Bellin Health Systems

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 3,858 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 3,628 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 4,102 daily cases. The seven-day average has been falling after a brief post-Thanksgiving spike and is comparable to the average reported Oct. 23 that preceded multiple state records for COVID-19 cases.

Friday’s new case total of 3,858 is similar to the 3,777 daily cases reported by DHS on Dec. 2.

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There were 47 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 7,187 tested negative.

Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 28.1 percent were positive for the disease, according DHS data from Dec. 10. That rate has been falling since Dec. 3.

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 11.7 percent as of Dec. 10.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,484 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday. A total of 19,020 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 429,957, according to DHS. A total of 3,991 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 24 counties had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 47 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity, and one, Waushara County, had a “high” level That’s a notable change from the previous week when 41 counties were listed as “critically high”. Wisconsin’s overall level moved from “critically high” to “very high” since last week, 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, two of Wisconsin’s regions — the western, and southeast regions — had “critically high” levels of activity, while two others — the Fox Valley and northeast regions — had “very high” activity that was growing.

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 59,675 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 11,045.

A total of 2,661,722 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,231,765 have tested negative.