Wisconsin’s average COVID-19 test positivity rate topped 30% for the first time Monday as the state continued to contend with one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
The average positivity rate of 30.1% reported by the state Department of Health Services looks at first-time positive tests over the last seven days. Two months ago, just as the state’s outbreak was beginning to surge, the average positivity rate was 5.2%.
The state also reported 3,433 new cases and 5,413 new negative tests. The death toll rose by three to 2,050.
Mondays typically turn out the lowest numbers of the week, as fewer tests are conducted and processed over the weekend.
Still, the average number of new daily cases over the last seven days hit an all-time high Monday of 4,463. Two months ago, the seven-day average was six times smaller, with about 695 new cases per day.
The average daily death toll over the last seven days was 37. Two months ago, it was six.
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The numbers come one day before Wisconsin residents head to the polls to vote in the presidential election Tuesday. As of Monday morning, about 1.9 million ballots had already been returned, or about 63% of the state’s total vote four years ago.
A surge in hospitalizations and deaths has followed the meteoric rise in cases the state has seen in the last two months. Health experts expect the numbers to worsen in coming weeks.
Last month was the state’s worst of the pandemic, with one in 60 Wisconsinites receiving positive COVID-19 test results in October. About 33% of Wisconsin residents who have died with COVID-19 did so in October.
Hospitals across Wisconsin continue to treat more than five times the number of coronavirus patients they were treating two months ago.
As of Monday afternoon, 1,648 people were hospitalized with the virus in the state, including 352 patients in intensive care units.
The field hospital at State Fair Park was treating 13 patients Monday, up from four patients last Monday, according to the state. Known as an alternate care facility, it is intended to free up bed space at strained hospitals and treat coronavirus patients who need a lower level of hospital care.
More than 2.07 million people have been tested statewide for the virus. Of the 232,296 Wisconsinites who have tested positive:
- 78.3%, or 181,845, have “recovered” by DHS standards, meaning there is documented proof their symptoms have resolved or it’s been 30 days since their diagnosis.
- 20.8%, or 48,366, are considered “active,” meaning they aren’t recovered and haven’t died.
The number of people with active cases would fill Miller Park and leave 6,400 people in the parking lot, the DHS tweeted.
Last Monday, Wisconsin passed 200,000 coronavirus cases. The state reported more than 30,000 new cases in a week.