New reports of COVID-19 cases are on the decline in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.
DHS reported 1,177 new cases of the disease Wednesday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 1,270 daily cases. Daily new cases have been falling since the beginning of January, when the average was about 3,000.
There were 14 new deaths from COVID-19 reported Wednesday. On Wednesday, 4,689 tested negative.
Of the people tested for COVID-19 over the past week, 19.9 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been holding steady for about one week.
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 5.2 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 the previous week. As of Wednesday, 613,247 doses of the vaccines have been administered and 117,367 people have received both shots, completing the vaccination series. 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 657 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday. A total of 24,554 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 545,437, according to DHS. A total of 5,951 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.
COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released last Wednesday, showed the state had moved to having no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Forty-seven counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity and 25 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 is “very 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 last Wednesday, all seven of Wisconsin’s regions had “very high” levels of activity and were seeing “shrinking” levels or “no significant change” of COVID-19 activity, according to DHS.
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 59,273 as of Wednesday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Wednesday was 5,866.
A total of 3,062,883 people have been tested over the course of the pandemic. Of those, 2,517,446 have tested negative.