Wisconsin Reports 100 New COVID-19 Hospitalizations As Cases Continue To Rise

30 Percent Of People Tested For COVID-19 In The Past Week Are Positive

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cars are parked outside of a bar at nighttime. neon signs light up the windows.
Patrons drink inside of a bar in Elkhorn, Wis., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Angela Major/WPR

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

DHS reported 3,433 new cases of the disease Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 4,463 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 3,879 daily cases. It’s typical for DHS to report lower numbers of COVID-19 cases Mondays.

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There were three new deaths from COVID-19 reported Monday, bringing the seven-day average to 37 COVID-19 deaths per day. On Monday, 5,413 tested negative.

Thirty 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, and has been on the rise over the past month.

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 15.1 percent.

According to DHS, there were 1,512 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Sunday. DHS reported 100 new hospitalizations Monday. A total of 11,597 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 232,296, according to DHS. A total of 2,050 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. According to the latest data DHS released Oct. 28, 70 counties in Wisconsin had a “very high” level of COVID-19 activity, an increase of two counties since last week and just two counties shy of every county in the state experiencing the highest level of disease activity. The remaining two — Douglas and Vernon counties — had a “high” level of activity.

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.

As of last week, the state’s Fox Valley region continued to have the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks. The state’s northwest region saw cases rise most rapidly.

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 43,188 as of Monday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Monday was 8,846.

A total of 1,846,618 have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,078,914 people have tested negative.

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