COVID-19 cases explode in Wisconsin; hit 3rd highest one-day total yet

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 2:35 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 3:29 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The third-highest number of new COVID-19 cases ever recorded on a single day in Wisconsin sent the monthly total soaring past the 100,000-mark for December and pushed the seven-day rolling average to the highest levels since last year’s peak.

On Thursday, the Dept. of Health Services tallied 7,772 additional confirmed cases of the virus across the state. That’s less than one hundred cases shy of the two highest numbers recorded in the state since the pandemic began, both of which occurred in Nov. 2020, when COVID-19 was at its absolute peak to date. It’s only the sixth time overall that at least 7,000 cases were recorded in one day. The other five occurred over an eight-day stretch in that November.

Following on the heels of a day in which more than 6,500 cases were recorded, which was the most cases of 2021 until Thursday, the seven-day rolling average has now soared to 4,230 cases per day over the preceding week. It is the highest point for that metric, which is designed to smooth out daily fluctuations, since last year’s November peak. During that month, the seven-day average had topped 6,300 cases per day.

More than 20,000 new cases have been reported in Wisconsin over the past three days alone. That spike has driven the monthly total into six-digit territory for the first time this year, with over 107,000 confirmed cases being tallied so far in December.

It also brings Wisconsin even closer to the million case mark. As of Thursday, the overall total for confirmed cases sits at 987,543 since the pandemic began. State health officials have also tracked more than 100,000 more instances that is classifies as probable cases..

And, while Wisconsin as a whole is pushing against previous record highs, Dane Co. has already reached uncharted territory and continues to climb. On Wednesday, the county’s weekly case rate per 100,000 residents broke the highwater point set in November 2020, only to have that number continue to climb and push past 500 for the first time.

In absolute numbers, the seven-day rolling average for Dane Co. alone stands at 602 cases per day, according to Public Health Madison and Dane Co. The agency’s dashboard shows the number of residents with COVID-19 has jumped nearly 50 percent in the past two weeks.

A screenshot of Public Health Madison and Dane County's COVID-19 dashboard on Dec. 30, 2021.
A screenshot of Public Health Madison and Dane County's COVID-19 dashboard on Dec. 30, 2021.(PHMDC)

The surge in cases Thursday pushed the monthly total for December to 107,828 cases and brought the number of cases in Wisconsin since the pandemic began within 13,000 of one million.

Thirty new deaths were reported across the state, bringing the number since the pandemic began to 10,044.

DHS’ latest update on hospital capacity found declining numbers in much of the state. Four of the seven Wisconsin regions, including the south-central part of the state, all saw declining trajectories for COVID-19 patient hospitalizations, with each of them going down by double-digit margins. Only one, southeastern Wisconsin, saw a rise.

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