More Than Half Of Wisconsinites Age 65 And Over Have Received First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

DHS: 689 New COVID-19 Cases, 13 New Deaths

Respiratory Therapist Receives COVID Vaccine
Aspirus Respiratory Therapist Brittany Puziewicz receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccines at Aspirus Wausau Hospital on Dec. 22, 2020. Photo courtesy of Aspirus

New reports of COVID-19 cases are holding steady in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 689 new cases of the disease Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 617 daily cases. That seven-day average has remained around 600 for about the past week.

There were 13 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 3,201 tested negative.

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Of the tests for COVID-19 conducted over the past week, 2.3 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been declining since early January. The rate takes into account people who have been tested multiple times.

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.

According to DHS, 1,625,875 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin by the federal government as of Tuesday, an increase of 473,850 from a week ago. A total of 1,387,594 doses have been administered in Wisconsin as of Saturday, with 52.7 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up receiving at least one dose of the vaccine so far. DHS reported that 888,684 Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose, representing 15.3 percent of the state population. As of Friday, 469,944 people in Wisconsin, or 8.1 percent of the population, have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 304 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 26,088 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.6 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 563,496, according to DHS. A total of 6,412 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 the state had no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Four counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity, 66 counties had a “high” level of activity, and two, Rusk and Bayfield counties, had a “medium” level. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “very high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. Wisconsin’s overall level is “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 of Wisconsin’s seven regions were listed as “high,” and were seeing “no significant change” or “shrinking” levels of COVID-19 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 59,273 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 3,890.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, 3.2 million COVID-19 tests have been administered in Wisconsin. Of those, 2.6 million tests have been negative.