More Than 300 Wisconsinites Lost To COVID-19 In The Past Week Alone

DHS Reports 4,618 New Cases, 60 New Deaths Thursday

Man in a truck wearing a mask
A motorist seeks directions upon arriving at a COVID-19 mobile testing location, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Auburn, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases are declining, although still fairly high in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 4,618 new cases of the disease Thursday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 3,595 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 5,152 daily cases.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 31.7 were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise again after it declined at the end of November.

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 13.7 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,754 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday. A total of 17,741 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.4 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 399,708, according to DHS. A total of 3,562 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, including 322 in the past seven days alone.

COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 41 counties had a “critically high level” of COVID-19 activity, while 31 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. That’s a notable change from the previous week when 65 counties were listed as “critically high”. Wisconsin overall had a “critically 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.

As of Wednesday, all of Wisconsin’s regions were seeing a downward trend in cases and three — the northeast, Fox Valley and south central regions — moved from “critically high” levels of activity to “very high.”

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 59,695 as of Thursday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Thursday was 11,972.

A total of 2,569,678 have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,169,970 have tested negative.