More Than 20K Wisconsinites Have Been Hospitalized With COVID-19

DHS Reports 3,675 New Cases Of The Disease, 84 New Deaths Saturday

A nurse puts on gloves before caring for a Covid patient
A nurse puts on gloves before entering a COVID-19 patient’s room Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 at UW Hospital. Angela Major/WPR

New reports of COVID-19 cases continue to dwindle in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 3,675 new cases of the disease Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 3,047 daily cases. That’s the lowest the seven-day average has been since Oct. 18, when the average was 2,840 daily cases.

There were 84 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 7,201 people tested negative.

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With 122 new hospitalizations on Saturday, there has been a total of 20,052 Wisconsinites hospitalized because of the disease since the start of the pandemic, or 4.4 percent of all positive cases. According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,330 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday.

Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 26.9 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the decline.

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 9.6 percent.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 455,251, according to DHS. A total of 4,339 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 17 counties had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 55 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Waushara, the lone county at only a “high” level last week, is again at “very high.” 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” for the second week in a row.

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. That’s an improvement for two of Wisconsin’s regions — the western and southeast regions — which had “critically high” levels of activity last week.

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 59,165 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 10,876.

A total of 2,743,682 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,288,331 have tested negative.