For The First Time Ever, New Daily COVID-19 Cases Top 3,000 In Wisconsin

DHS: 110 New Hospitalizations Thursday, 9 New Deaths

A store sign recommends social distancing
A sign at a store on Madison’s northside recommends social distancing between shoppers. Steven Potter/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases have once again hit a record high in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 3,132 new cases of the disease Thursday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,381 daily cases. Thursday’s new case total is the highest that figure has been since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were nine new deaths from COVID-19 reported Thursday. On Thursday, 13,524 people reported their first negative result.

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17.1 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been holding steady around 17 percent for the past week.

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 873 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday with 219 in the ICU. A total of 8,061 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.7 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 141,830, according to DHS. A total of 1,424 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.

According to DHS, The Fox Valley region was at 89.5 percent capacity in their intensive care unit beds as of Tuesday, and the Southeast region was at 90 percent. On Wednesday, DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said every region of the state has hospitals reporting a current or imminent staffing shortage.

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 Thursday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Thursday was 16,656.

A total of 1,648,658 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,506,828 have tested negative.