Wisconsin Surpasses 100,000 Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19

As of Sunday, 101,227 Tests Have Come Back Positive Since Start Of Pandemic

A nurse puts on protective gear
Registered nurse Kevin Hoover puts on protective gear as he prepares to check on a COVID-19 patient Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at Kearny County Hospital in Lakin, Kan. The rural 24-bed hospital is currently treating five patients for COVID-19 while the county has seen a spike in cases due to clusters in nearby meatpacking plants. Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

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

DHS reported 1,665 new cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,720 daily cases, a record high for that figure.

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One week ago, the average was 1,142 daily cases. That average has been rising since Sept. 11.

Saturday’s new case total is down significantly from Friday’s record high of 2,533.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 101,227, according to the DHS. A total of 1,242 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, with a single new death reported on Sunday.

According to DHS, 20 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 16.3 percent. The previous seven-day period’s test-positive rate was 14.1 percent. That figure has been rising since Sept. 15, when it was 14 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 38,563 as of Sunday. The number of actual people with test results reported on Sunday was 8,320.

Overall, DHS has recorded a total of 1,433,329 people’s test results over the course of the pandemic. 1,332,102 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 71 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. 16, counties with the highest case rates per capita included La Crosse, Outagamie, Florence and Walworth. The counties with the most significant upward trends included Jackson, La Crosse and Langlade.

There have been confirmed cases in all 72 of Wisconsin’s counties, and every Wisconsin county reported at least one new case over the preceding week.


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. On Sunday neither of these criteria were met.

According to DHS, 6,653 people have been hospitalized because of the virus as of Sunday. That means at least seven 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 36,690 people, or 36 percent.

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