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A massive 42,000 COVID-19 tests reported, percent-positive plummets

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 2:56 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 3:17 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - After a weekend system upgrade, the Dept. of Health Services restarted its daily COVID-19 update dashboard and, in doing so, reported nearly three times negative tests as the agency normally does in a day. For comparison, the 42,131 total tests tallied reflected in the latest daily update, surpassed the previous one-day high of 18,682 results recorded eleven days ago.

That number, however, wasn’t unexpected. DHS explained because of the break in reporting would likely cause a brief spike in the numbers reported. Additionally, the Rock Co. Health Dept. noted the new, more efficient reporting system would allow it to submit a backlog of negative tests that built up while the agency focused on handling the wave of positive tests sweeping the county. According to the county health department’s tracker, it has reported over 5,200 negative tests in the past two days, whereas any typical day prior to that would be in the low hundreds, before dropping even further last week.

DHS also reminds people tracking these numbers they should pay closer attention to the seven-day rolling averages it provides. The longer time frames will iron out day-to-day swings and better reflect larger trends. For example, the high number of tests Monday coupled with the 3,777 confirmed cases reported, sent the daily percent-positive plummeting below the ten percent mark, while that figure had generally been approximately twice that.

With both Sunday and Monday recording low percent positives, that number has now fallen to 12.07 percent - a far cry from any day last week.

The nearly 3,800 positive tests reported places it among the highest single days ever recorded in Wisconsin. However, it remains in line with recent trends. On Sunday, the tracker showed 3,928 new cases, the current all-time high. It was part of a stretch that saw the record broken four times in five days.

As far as the seven-day rolling average for new cases, even with zero cases reported, it still reached its own all-time high. Jump past the three-thousand mark for the second time, it now sits at 3,099 cases per day over the course of the past week. In all, since the outbreak began 173,891 people have tested positive for the virus, according to DHS numbers.

The number of people who have died from complications related to the coronavirus hit 1,600 on Monday, as twelve more deaths were added, DHS reported. The influx of cases over this month has driven the statewide percentage of people who have tested positive and whose death was attributed in part to COVID-19 has fallen below one percent.

The agency also reported 165 more people have been hospitalized, further taxing a health care system that is already so over-taxed that the state opened a temporary hospital on the state fairgrounds. Currently, more than 1,000 people are hospitalized because of the virus and over 9,000 people have been admitted to a hospital at some point after testing positive.

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