Wisconsin Sets New Daily Record For COVID-19 Cases On Sunday

DHS: 1,582 New Cases Confirmed, 21 Percent Of Test Results Positive

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Patrons wearing masks at UW-Madison's Memorial Union Terrace
A Wisconsin Union staff hostess walks patrons to their assigned table to enjoy physically distanced, reserved-table seating with food and drink service at the Memorial Union Terrace at UW-Madison during the summer. On Sept. 7, Chancellor Rebecca Blank directed students to limit their movements on campus because of a growing number of coronavirus cases. Jeff Miller/UW-Madison

New reports of COVID-19 cases hit the highest daily number on record in Wisconsin on Sunday, with 1,582 new confirmed cases of the virus in the state, according to data published by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,582 new cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,142 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 837 daily cases.

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The daily count of new cases has remained high since Thursday, when DHS reported 1,547 new cases, which set a new daily record at the time.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 89,185, according to the DHS. A total of 1,210 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with one new death reported on Sunday.

According to DHS, almost 21 percent of all test results reported on Sunday were positive for COVID-19, bringing the overall percentage of positive tests over the past seven days to 14 percent. The previous seven-day period’s test-positive rate was 10 percent.

The percentage of positive cases 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 38,530 as of Sunday. The number of actual people with test results reported on Sunday was 7,735.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 1,359,643 people’s test results over the course of the pandemic. 1,270,458 have tested 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 65 counties had a “high level” of coronavirus activity. 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 Sept. 9, counties with the highest case rates per capita included Forest, Portage, Brown and Kewaunee. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Grant, Marquette, Green and Door.

Every Wisconsin county has reported at least one new COVID-19 case over the last two weeks, although Price County is experiencing a low level of coronavirus activity, according to DHS.

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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 does not currently meet either of those criteria.

According to DHS, 6,332 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Sunday. That means at least 7 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 30,968 people, or 35 percent.

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