Wisconsin Surpasses 6K COVID-19 Deaths

DHS: 1 In 4 Wisconsinites Age 65 And Up Have Received First Vaccine Dose

How do you conduct a funeral in the midst of a global pandemic?
This March 18, 2020 file photo shows a funeral that was affected by new rules put in place due to the coronavirus outbreak in Milwaukee. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers restricted gatherings to less than 10 people the day before. As the COVID-19 death toll mounts, faith leaders are grappling with a heart-wrenching question: How do you conduct a funeral in the midst of a global pandemic? Carrie Antlfinger/AP Photo

Wisconsin reached another grim milestone Friday, surpassing 6,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Still, new cases of the illness are on the decline in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 1,266 new cases of the disease Friday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,186 daily cases. Daily new cases have been falling since early January, when the average was nearly 3,000.

There were 28 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Friday. On Friday, 4,460 tested negative.

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Of the people tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 18.7 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the decline since early January.

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 is 4.7 percent.

According to DHS, 986,275 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin by the federal government as of Tuesday, an increase of 139,975 from a week ago.

As of Wednesday, 659,025 doses of the vaccines have been administered. As of Thursday, 143,610 people have received both shots, completing the vaccination series. According to DHS, more than 25 percent of all Wisconsinites age 65 and older have received their first dose of the vaccine.

A graph showing the preliminary daily number of vaccinations across the state shows fewer doses given this week than last week — although doses given tend to dip on weekends.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 594 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday. A total of 24,734 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.5 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 548,221, according to DHS. A total of 6,020 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 the state had no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Twenty-four counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity and 48 counties had a “high” level of activity. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “critically high” and “very high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. Wisconsin’s overall level was downgraded to “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, three of Wisconsin’s regions — northwest, north central and western — had “very high” levels of activity and were seeing “shrinking” levels or “no significant change” of COVID-19 activity, according to DHS. The state’s four other regions had a “high” level of activity.

Wisconsin’s daily testing capacity, based on the availability of test supplies and adequate staffin, has grown from 120 available lab tests in early March to 59,273 as of Friday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Friday was 5,726.

A total of 3,075,783 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,527,562 have tested negative.