For The First Time In Wisconsin, 7-Day Average Of New COVID-19 Cases Tops 4,000

4,062 New Cases Reported Saturday, 25 New Deaths

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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 are on the rise in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 4,062 new cases of the disease Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 4,050 daily cases — the highest since the pandemic began. Daily new cases have been rising since early September, when the average was below 700.

There were 25 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 13,558 tested negative.

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As the numbers continue to climb in Wisconsin, President Trump will hold an in-person campaign rally in Waukesha Saturday evening and another in West Salem on Tuesday.

Nearly 25 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease as of Saturday, according to DHS. That rate is a new record.

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 was at 12.8 percent on Friday.

According to DHS, there were 1,245 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 10,237 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.3 percent of all known positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 194,540, according to DHS. A total of 1,770 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 68 counties had a “very high level” of COVID-19 activity, an increase of 11 from last week’s report. The rest — Burnett, Douglas, Pierce and Polk counties — 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.

In the latest data, the state’s Fox Valley region continued to have the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks. The state’s Southeast 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 42,456 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 17,620.

A total of 1,952,170 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,757,630 have tested negative.

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