DHS Reports Record 950 COVID-19 Hospitalizations

1,956 New Positives Reported, 7-Day Average Tops 19%

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A man in a blue gown leans down to a car holding a swab
A COVID-19 test technician leans down to speak to a person in line before administering the test Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, in Janesville. Angela Major/WPR

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported a record setting 950 hospitalizations from COVID-19 on Monday. At the same time, the DHS reported 82 percent of all available hospital beds were occupied by people suffering from the virus.

DHS reported 1,956 new cases of the disease Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,548 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 2,396 daily cases.

The number of daily new cases hit a record high Thursday with 3,132 new cases, and have hovered around 3,000 per day since. Sunday and Monday’s totals were lower, though DHS has noted decreased testing activity on weekends. It’s typical for the DHS to report lower numbers of COVID-19 cases on Mondays.

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There were nine new deaths from COVID-19 reported Monday, and 7,815 people tested negative.

19.1 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past seven days were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has risen sharply since Tuesday.

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 9.9 percent.

According to DHS, there were 950 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Monday. A total of 8,454 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.6 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 152,192, according to DHS. A total of 1,474 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 Monday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Monday was 9,771.

A total of 1,697,884 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,545,692 have tested negative.

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