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Rock Co. reset: Percent of positive COVID-19 tests returns to normal

New cases remain at record levels, though
Rock Co. Public Health
Rock Co. Public Health(MGN)
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 5:44 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - After a week of reporting inordinately high percentages of COVID-19 tests coming back positive, the numbers are beginning to return to normal in Rock Co. A planned update to the Dept. of Health Services reporting system allowed the county to clear a backlog of negative cases that it had not submitted yet.

Rock Co. Health Dept. spokesperson Jessica Turner explained health officials were so busy dealing with the influx of new cases in the county, they didn’t have time to report all of their negative tests. All positive tests were getting reported however, and that led to extraordinarily high daily percent-positive rates. On Thursday, nine out of ten reported tests were positive and for the seven days prior to DHS' update, the percentage stood just under 40 percent, or nearly double the state average.

Turner noted, though, the upgrade would make reporting negative results more efficient, thereby letting county officials clear their backlog. In doing so, the percent-positive would return to more typical levels – at least, typical for this ongoing onslaught of new cases – and again more accurately reflect the reality on the ground.

By Monday, the fruits of that update and county officials' efforts to enter hundreds of days old tests were starting to show. Over the past two days, they have reported the results of more than 5,500 tests to the state. That’s compared to 1,571 tests recorded in the week leading up to Saturday’s update.

The flood of negative tests sent the percent positive plummeting, from nearly 40 percent to just slightly over 11 percent. It even dropped a full point below the state’s rolling average, which saw its own eight-point decline in the past two days.

NEW CASES ARE STILL SOARING, THOUGH

That drop did not correspond with a drop in cases, though. In fact, it masked it. Sunday saw the second highest number of positive tests reported in a single day and ninety more confirmed cases were added in the past week.

Because of the update, no results, positive or negative, were reported on Saturday. However, despite the fact the seven-day rolling average only consisted of six days in which numbers were tallied, the county is still averaging 98 cases per day. That’s nearly triple the 35 cases per day rolling average two weeks ago – and that average included a full seven days of reports.

DatePositive testsTotal testsDaily percent-positive7-day percent positive
10/19891,9414.59%11.07%
10/181893,5965.26%16.74%
10/1700055.49%
10/1619430763.49%45.77%
10/159610690.57%39.76%
10/146113844.20%33.39%
10/13548365.06%32.32%

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