Wisconsin’s Total Number Of COVID-19 Cases Surpasses 200,000

DHS: 82 Percent Of Staffed Coronavirus Hospital Beds In Use

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a man in a face mask walks across a sidewalk as he carries a black bag containing a pizza
Kevin Kopplin delivers a pizza to a customer Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Watertown. Angela Major/WPR

Wisconsin has reached a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: the state has surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

A total of 201,049 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

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New reports of COVID-19 cases are higher than they were last week, on average, in Wisconsin, according to DHS.

DHS reported 2,883 new cases of the disease Monday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 3,879 daily cases. One week ago, the average was 3,099 daily cases. It’s typical for the DHS to report lower numbers of COVID-19 cases on Mondays.

There were 10 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Monday, bringing the seven-day average for deaths to 27 per day. On Monday, DHS reported 9,866 tested negative.

A little over 25 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 Sept. 30, 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 13.1 percent.

According to DHS, there were 1,293 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Sunday. A total of 10,416 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 5.2 percent of all positive cases.

A total of 1,788 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies heavily from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed 68 counties had a “very high level” of COVID-19 activity, an increase of 11 from last week’s report. The rest — Burnett, Douglas, Pierce and Polk counties — 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.

In the latest data, the state’s Fox Valley region continued to have the most new cases per capita over the previous two weeks. The state’s Southeast 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 42,456 as of Monday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Monday was 12,749.

A total of 1,978,941 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 1,777,892 have tested negative.

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