Wisconsin Passes 4K COVID-19 Deaths

7-Day Average Of New Daily Cases Continues To Decline

A sign with social distancing instructions
A decal showing six feet social distancing instructions is seen on the floor of Eastern Market in Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 18, 2020. Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo

Wisconsin passed another grim mark on Saturday, with the state Department of Health Services reporting over 4,000 lives lost to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. There has now been a total of 4,041 deaths from COVID-19 in the state.

DHS reported 50 new deaths from COVID-19 and 4,059 new cases of the disease Saturday.

The average number of daily cases for the past seven days is 3,518. That figure has been falling since Dec. 4.

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On Saturday, 9,583 tested negative.

Of the people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 28 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been declining since Dec. 3.

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 11.3 percent.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 1,448 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 19,162 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 434,016, according to DHS.

COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 24 counties had a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 47 were listed as having a “very high” level of activity, and one, Waushara County, had a “high” level That’s a notable change from the previous week when 41 counties were listed as “critically high”. Wisconsin’s overall level moved from “critically high” to “very high” since last week, 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, two of Wisconsin’s regions — the western, and southeast regions — had “critically high” levels of activity, while two others — the Fox Valley and northeast regions — had “very high” activity that was growing.

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 59,675 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 13,642.

A total of 2,675,364 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,241,348 have tested negative.