Wisconsin Averaged A Record Of 60 COVID-19 Deaths Per Day This Past Week

7-Day Average Of People Testing Positive For Disease Remains Above 30 Percent

A man uses a phone to enter information for COVID-19 testing
A member of the Wisconsin National Guard gets information from someone waiting to receive a COVID-19 test Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville. Angela Major/WPR

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

DHS reported 4,831 new cases of the ailment Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 4,073 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 4,243 daily cases.

There were 77 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 8,629 tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 31.3 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has risen this week since dipping 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 13.4 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,593 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Saturday. A total of 18,126 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 409,386, according to DHS. A total of 3,702 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 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 Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 13,460.

A total of 2,598,335 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,188,949 have tested negative.