Wisconsin COVID-19 Cases Jump Back Up With 3,810 Reported Thursday

Number Is Highest Single Day Total Since Early December

Pedestrians wear protective masks
Pedestrians wear protective masks during the coronavirus pandemic in Times Square Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, in New York. Frank Franklin II/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases are back on the rise in Wisconsin after weeks of declines, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 3,810 new cases of the disease Thursday, the highest one-day total since the first week of December. That brings the average for the past seven days to 2,101 daily cases. Despite Thursday’s high number of new cases, the seven-day average is still lower than it was a week ago, when it was 2,564.

There were 41 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Thursday. On Thursday, 5,898 tested negative.

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Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 28.4 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise over the last week.

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 10.3 percent.

On Dec. 29, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information. 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.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,046 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday. A total of 21,350 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 481,102, according to DHS. A total of 4,859 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 three counties — Jackson, Menominee and Pepin — had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 65 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity. Florence, Iron, Marquette and Waushara counties had a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity has been on the decline. Wisconsin’s overall level is “very 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 seven of Wisconsin’s regions had “very high” levels of activity but were listed as “shrinking” in 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 59,185 as of Thursday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Thursday was 9,708.

A total of 2,831,771 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,350,669 have tested negative.