Holidays See Continued Lull In New COVID-19 Tests

New Positive COVID-19 Cases Hovered Just Below 2K On Friday

Alejandra Paiz wears festive glasses as the group marks New Year's Eve
Alejandra Paiz, a tourist from Guatemala who is visiting Mexico for the holidays with a friend and their respective sons, wears festive glasses as the group marks New Year’s Eve at the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City, just after midnight on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Rebecca Blackwell/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin declined Friday after three days of steadily rising numbers, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,905 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 2,158 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 2,318. On the days in between, the seven-day average hovered just below 2,000.

There were 10 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 6,388 tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 30.2 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise since Dec. 25, 2020, and is now the highest it has been since Dec. 7, 2020 when it was 30.9 percent.

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 10.8 percent.

On Dec. 29, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information. According to a DHS news release, the vaccine data includes “summary metrics for allocation, shipment and total vaccine administered, as well as a graph displaying the number of vaccinations administered per day.”

As of Dec. 29, 265,575 doses of the vaccine has been allocated across Wisconsin — 47,157 of which have been administered. Of the two vaccines approved for use, 40,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered while 6,306 doses are the Moderna vaccine.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,046 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday. A total of 21,400 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 483,007, according to DHS. A total of 4,869 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 three counties — Jackson, Menominee and Pepin — had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 65 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Florence, Iron, Marquette and Waushara counties had a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity has been on the decline. Wisconsin’s overall level is “very high.”

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, all seven of Wisconsin’s regions had “very high” levels of activity but were listed as “shrinking” in activity, according to DHS.

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 59,185 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 8,293.

A total of 2,840,064 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,357,057 have tested negative.