Wisconsin Tops Single-Day Record With 2,892 New COVID-19 Cases

State Health Officials Report 19 New Deaths, 82 New Hospitalizations

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A nurse looks over at a COVID-19 patient who is attached to a ventilator
A nurse watches over a COVID-19 patient who is attached to a ventilator in the emergency room, Monday, April 20, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, New York. John Minchillo/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 Department of Health Services.

DHS reported 2,892 new cases of the disease Saturday, the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic. The previous record was on Thursday, Oct. 1, when DHS reported 2,887 new cases.

Saturday’s new cases brings the average for the past seven days to 2,450 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 2,011 daily cases.

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There were 19 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Saturday. On Saturday, 11,192 people tested negative.

17.5 percent of people who got tested for COVID-19 over the past week were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been on the rise.

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.

On Wednesday, DHS also introduced an alternative positivity rate, one that measures the percentage of tests that are positive, instead of the percentage of people who get a positive result. The new metric takes into account people who have been tested multiple times. The seven-day average for that number is at 9.3 percent.

According to DHS, there were 663 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Friday. A total of 7,588 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.8 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 130,798, according to DHS. A total of 1,372 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

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COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 45 counties had a “very high level” of COVID-19 activity, and the rest had a “high” level of activity. Wisconsin overall had a “very high” level of activity, according to DHS.

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, the Fox Valley region of the state had the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks, while the North Central region saw cases rise most rapidly.

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 39,234 as of Saturday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Saturday was 14,084.

A total of 1,587,561 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,456,763 have tested negative.

Editor’s Note: WPR has updated the language it uses in its daily coverage of COVID-19 statistics to clarify the distinction between COVID-19, an infectious disease, and the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes that disease. WPR’s daily coverage also no longer includes the Badger Bounceback Plan, which DHS has stopped updating.

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