New COVID-19 Cases Rise Slightly With 2,755 Positive Cases Wednesday

Holidays See Low Numbers Of Coronavirus Tests

A mask on the pavement near the entrance of a London hospital.
A mask on the pavement near the entrance of a hospital on Westminster Bridge in London, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. Frank Augstein/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are the highest they’ve been since Dec. 24, after days of fluctuations, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 2,755 new cases of the disease Wednesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,957 daily cases.

There were 35 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Wednesday. On Wednesday, 4,607 tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 25.1 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been declining slightly since the beginning of December.

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 9.2 percent — and has been on the rise since Dec. 25, when it was 8 percent.

On Dec. 29, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information, which will be updated daily. 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.”

According to DHS, 265,575 doses of the vaccine have been allocated across Wisconsin as of Tuesday. Currently, 47,157 doses of the vaccines have been administered while 156,875 have been shipped. 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.

A graph showing the daily number of vaccinations across the state saw a steady increase in doses administered over the last week, but with a sharp decrease during the Christmas holiday. Preliminary data since Dec. 26 shows the number of vaccinations mostly increasing.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,074 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Wednesday. A total of 21,207 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 477,292, according to DHS. A total of 4,818 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

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 Wednesday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Wednesday was 7,362.

A total of 2,822,063 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,344,771 have tested negative.