For Second Day In A Row, Wisconsin Sets New Daily Record For COVID-19 Cases

DHS: 5,935 New Cases, 54 New Deaths Reported Wednesday

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A room in the intensive care unit dubbed "The Cove" is where Door County Medical Center
A room in the intensive care unit dubbed “The Cove” is where Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., has treated its handful of COVID-19 patients. The hospital added anterooms so the staff can unzip the outer doors and change into and out of protective gear. Photo taken Aug. 5, 2020. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin has shattered the previous single-day record of COVID-19 cases set just one day ago. The seven-day average for cases in Wisconsin is also at an all-time high, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services on Wednesday.

DHS reported 5,935 new cases of the disease Wednesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 4,839 daily cases. On Tuesday, DHS had reported 5,771 new cases of the disease. Wednesday’s new case total is the highest the state has seen since the beginning of the pandemic, and the third single-day record set in just five days.

There were 54 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Wednesday, bringing the seven-day average to 37 deaths per day. On Wednesday, 10,333 people tested negative.

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Thirty-one percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate is at an all-time high.

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 15.8 percent.

According to DHS, there were 1,714 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday. A total of 12,087 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, including 243 on Wednesday alone.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 244,002, according to DHS. A total of 2,156 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. In a media briefing on Wednesday, the DHS said that all 72 counties have a “very high level” of COVID-19 activity, based on the latest two weeks of data. Wisconsin overall had a “very 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.

Updated information on COVID-19 activity at the county and regional level will be available later Wednesday afternoon on the DHS dashboard.

On Tuesday, public health officials for Madison and Dane County warned the public of extremely long testing lines at the Aliant Energy Center testing site. They asked the public to save testing for people who had symptoms or close contact with a known case.

On Wednesday, they announced that a number of citations were given for breaking local public health orders, including one to a gathering of 91 people in an apartment.

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 57,073 as of Wednesday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Wednesday was 16,268.

A total of 2,116,297 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,872,295 have tested negative.

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