Wisconsin Reports 42 New Deaths From COVID-19

Case Averages, Test-Positivity Rates Continue To Decrease

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 on the decline in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,681 new cases of the disease Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,666 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 2,161 daily cases.

There were 42 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 5,779 tested negative.

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Of the people tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 21 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been decreasing for about the past two weeks.

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.

DHS also tracks the percentage of tests that are positive, instead of the percentage of people who get a positive result. The metric takes into account people who have been tested multiple times. The seven-day average for that number sits at 6.5 percent.

On Dec. 29, DHS officials began sharing vaccine data information, which is updated every Tuesday.

According to DHS, 779,800 doses of the vaccine have been allocated across Wisconsin as of Tuesday, an increase of 172,150 from the last update. Currently, 310,256 doses of the vaccines have been administered, and 56,680 people have received both shots, completing the vaccination series.

A graph showing the daily number of vaccinations across the state has seen a steady increase in doses administered since the beginning of 2021 — although doses given dip on weekends.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 785 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 23,625 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 531,852, according to DHS. A total of 5,685 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 Buffalo County with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity, while 60 counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity and 11 counties had a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. 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 and were seeing “shrinking” levels of COVID-19 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 59,275 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 7,460.

A total of 3,000,975 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,469,123 have tested negative.