For First Time, Wisconsin Sees More Than 800 New COVID-19 Cases In 1 Day

DHS Reports Record-High Number Of Cases For Second Day In A Row

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People waiting in line wearing masks
People, social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, wait in line at a mask distribution event, Friday, June 26, 2020, in a COVID-19 hotspot of the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. Wilfredo Lee/AP Photo

For the second consecutive day, the state has seen the highest number of new cases in one day since the outbreak began, based the latest numbers published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 845 new cases of the virus on Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 634 daily cases. That’s the highest seven-day average the state has recorded since the onset of the pandemic. A week ago, the average was 510 daily cases. A month ago, the average was 342 daily cases.

Daily new cases have risen dramatically over the last two days. The steep jump comes a week after Gov. Tony Evers pleaded with Wisconsinites to stay home over Fourth of July weekend.

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The latest figures bring the overall total number of positive cases in Wisconsin to 34,753, according to DHS. A total of 814 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with five new deaths reported on Friday.

According to DHS, 6.7 percent of all test results reported on Friday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the average percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 7.5 percent. The seven-day average a week ago was 5.7 percent. More than 10 percent of tests came back positive on July 4, contributing to the sharp rise over last week.

The percentage of positive tests 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 the virus. A lower rate could indicate testing is more widespread.

Changes in the test positivity rate can also speak to a virus’ spread, if the size and makeup of the testing pool stays consistent.

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 19,362 as of Friday. The number of actual tests reported on Friday was 12,702.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 670,164 over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 635,411 have come back negative.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest coronavirus activity data from DHS, released once per week each Wednesday, showed that 47 counties had a “high level” of coronavirus activity. Activity level designations are based on “burden,” or 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.

On Wednesday, counties with the highest case rates per capita included Dane, Milwaukee and Trempealeau. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Marquette, Monroe and Sheboygan.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties. As of Wednesday, four counties had no new cases over a two-week period according to DHS.

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DHS still has a dashboard showing Wisconsin’s progress on gating criteria under the now-defunct Badger Bounce Back Plan. Those gating criteria would have been used to determine when it would be safe to begin reopening the state, prior to the state Supreme Court ruling that ended a statewide stay-at-home order. The state has never met all six of the criteria at once.

Two of the criteria are a statistically significant 14-day downward trend in COVID-like cases reported in emergency departments, and a similar downward trend for influenza-like cases in emergency departments. As of Friday, Wisconsin met neither of those criteria.

According to DHS, 3,766 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Friday. That means at least 11 percent of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the state have been hospitalized. DHS officials said they don’t know the hospitalization history of 10,772 people, or 31 percent.

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