Wisconsin Sets New Daily Record For COVID-19 Cases At 978

Yesterday Marked Over 40,000 Cases Since The Start Of The Pandemic

A health care worker signs people up for testing at a COVID-19 testing site at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
A health care worker signs people up for testing at a COVID-19 testing site at the Miami Beach Convention Center, during the coronavirus pandemic, Monday, July 13, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla. Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

New reports of COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state’s Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 978 new cases of the virus on Saturday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 829 daily cases.

Saturday’s new case total is the largest reported by DHS since the start of the pandemic. The previous high was on Tuesday, when 964 new confirmed cases were reported.

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The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 41,485, according to the DHS. A total of 843 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with 10 new deaths reported on Saturday.

According to DHS, 7.9 percent of all test results reported on Saturday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the average percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 7.3. The seven-day average a week ago was 7 percent.

The percentage of positive tests 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 the virus. A lower rate could indicate testing is more widespread.

Changes in the test positivity rate can also speak to a virus’ spread, if the size and makeup of the testing pool stays consistent.

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 24,162 as of Saturday. The number of actual tests reported on Saturday was 12,424.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 765,128 over the course of the pandemic. 723,643 have come back negative.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest coronavirus activity data from DHS, released once per week each Wednesday, showed that 59 counties had a “high level” of coronavirus activity, up from the previous week’s 47 counties. Activity level designations are based on “burden,” or 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.

On Wednesday, counties with the highest case rates per capita included Milwaukee, Trempealeau and Marquette. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Price, Pepin and Iron.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties, and based on the data from Wednesday, all counties reported at least one case over a two-week period.


DHS still has a dashboard showing Wisconsin’s progress on gating criteria under the now-defunct Badger Bounce Back Plan. Those gating criteria would have been used to determine when it would be safe to begin reopening the state, prior to the state Supreme Court ruling that ended a statewide stay-at-home order. The state has never met all six of the criteria at once.

Two of the criteria are a statistically significant 14-day downward trend in COVID-like cases reported in emergency departments, and a similar downward trend for influenza-like cases in emergency departments. The state currently does not meet either of those criteria.

According to DHS, 4,082 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Saturday. That means at least 10 percent of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the state have been hospitalized. DHS officials said they don’t know the hospitalization history of 13,685 people, or 33 percent.