Jeramey Jannene
WI Daily

Lowest New COVID-19 Case Total Since June 29th

But assessing state's progress in fighting COVID-19 remains elusive for now.

By - Aug 24th, 2020 05:29 pm
COVID-19. Credit: U.S. Army.

COVID-19. Credit: U.S. Army.

Publicly available data makes it difficult to easily assess Wisconsin’s fight against COVID-19.

Yes, fewer people are being newly diagnosed with the disease. The seven-day case total stands at 4,658, down 28.5 percent from a high of 6,512 on July 26th.

But it’s not that simple.

Testing has fallen 37.5 percent over the same time period, from a rolling seven-day total of 93,159 tests to 58,240.

The positive case rate, the percentage of tests confirming a new case of the disease, climbed to 8 percent on a seven-day rolling average basis and 6.48 percent on a 14-day basis. Officials have looked for the percentage to decline as testing expands to indicate sufficient testing is being done and the disease’s spread is slowing, instead the percentage has increased as testing has contracted.

But limited information is available on who is getting tested, and why. The testing decline could be due to a reduction in people experiencing symptoms.

Is the state running out of tests? Not according to Department of Health Services data. A total of 83 labs across the state have a combined capacity to process 26,562 tests per day.

Are cases being undercounted? And if so, by how many? That’s where things get complicated.

If so, individuals, as they did early in the pandemic, would begin to seek medical treatment before even being diagnosed.

The number of people actively hospitalized with a confirmed case of the disease increased from 330 to 337 on Monday according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Because of a change in federal requirements, there isn’t active hospitalization data from July 26th or the week surrounding it. But even if that data existed, it wouldn’t produce a clear answer. Hospitalizations are a lagging indicator of the disease’s spread.

A person with an undiagnosed case today might not need medical support for a couple of weeks.

The hospitalization data also doesn’t indicate the age of those actively hospitalized. For much of the summer, the majority of people newly diagnosed have been in individuals under the age of 40. Younger individuals have substantially lower hospitalization and death rates from COVID-19.

DHS does report the number of people newly hospitalized each day. The 30-day average has trended downward from a pandemic high of 45 in early August to an average of 40 as of Monday. But the figure is above the new hospitalizations totals recorded early in the summer (June averaged 29).

Daily death totals also trended upward in recent months, but have dipped in recent weeks.

Regardless of what the big picture data is showing, data released Monday afternoon by DHS hint at a slowing spread of the disease.

A total of 392 new cases were reported from 4,865 tests, a positive case rate of 8.01 percent. Monday’s data release is often the lowest of the week, but testing increased from a recent low of 4,814 reported Sunday while new cases dropped from 453.

Fifteen people were newly hospitalized, the second day in a row the state has reported a figure below the rolling 30-day average.

Most notably, for the second day in a row DHS reported no deaths from the disease. The last back-to-back days with no COVID-19 deaths were July 12th and 13th.

DHS reports 70,854 Wisconsin residents have tested positive for the disease since the outbreak began, with 4,658 in the past week and 9,790 in the past 14 days. DHS reports that 88 percent of individuals with a confirmed case have “recovered,” as defined by a documented abatement of symptoms or a diagnosis over 30 days ago. A total of 58,240 tests have been processed in the past seven days.

According to DHS data, 2,439.8 out of every 100,000 Milwaukee County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 (up from 2,432.3) since the outbreak began. Racine County has 1,965.2 cases per 100,000 residents (no change). Iron County, the northern-most county that borders Michigan, has 1,924.8 cases per 100,000 residents (up from 1,889.8), but only 110 total cases.

Brown (1.912.7), Kenosha (1,707.4), Walworth (1,557.1), Marinette (1,393.8), Trempealeau (1,341.8), Waukesha (1,320.5), Dodge (1,178), Waupaca (1,152.7), Lafayette (1,087.5) and Washington (1,085.2) are the only other counties with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents.

The statewide average of cases per 100,000 residents rose to 1,226.2 (up from 1,219.4 yesterday). Wisconsin has recorded a per-capita rate of 182.7 per 100,000 in the past two weeks according to the DHS activity level report released Wednesday.

Charts and Maps

Data from DHS.

Percent of COVID-19 cases by hospitalization status

Hospitalization status Number of confirmed cases as of 8/24/2020 Percent of confirmed cases as of 8/24/2020
Ever hospitalized 5,573 8%
Never hospitalized 41,344 58%
Unknown 23,937 34%
Total 70,854 100%

Percent of COVID-19 cases resulting in hospitalization within age group

Data from DHS.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by gender

Data from DHS.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by race

Data from DHS.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by ethnicity

Data from DHS.

Number of positive cases and deaths by county

Wisconsin County Positive as of 8/24/2020 Negative as of 8/24/2020 Deaths as of 8/24/2020 Rate (positive cases per 100,000 people) as of 8/24/2020 Case fatality percentage (percent of cases who died) as of 8/24/2020
Adams 99 3,008 2 493.2 2%
Ashland 31 1,948 1 197.3 3%
Barron 358 6,863 3 791.1 1%
Bayfield 41 2,293 1 273.5 2%
Brown 4,969 56,114 57 1912.7 1%
Buffalo 54 1,892 2 410.1 4%
Burnett 33 1,957 1 216.3 3%
Calumet 450 7,487 2 903.5 0%
Chippewa 302 11,610 0 474.6 0%
Clark 230 4,176 8 666.8 3%
Columbia 326 11,263 2 572.4 1%
Crawford 96 3,833 0 589.4 0%
Dane 5,117 154,347 39 965.8 1%
Dodge 1,034 18,401 5 1178.0 0%
Door 126 4,980 3 459.2 2%
Douglas 241 5,935 0 555.3 0%
Dunn 155 6,387 0 348.3 0%
Eau Claire 728 17,271 6 706.9 1%
Florence 22 703 0 507.3 0%
Fond du Lac 964 17,351 9 942.2 1%
Forest 65 1,114 4 720.8 6%
Grant 421 10,426 16 812.3 4%
Green 250 5,845 1 678.2 0%
Green Lake 83 2,880 0 442.5 0%
Iowa 110 4,226 0 465.7 0%
Iron 110 1,311 1 1924.8 1%
Jackson 71 5,809 1 346.2 1%
Jefferson 824 15,100 6 973.4 1%
Juneau 173 6,712 1 654.8 1%
Kenosha 2,874 31,294 61 1707.4 2%
Kewaunee 156 2,871 2 766.2 1%
La Crosse 1,047 19,949 1 888.4 0%
Lafayette 182 2,703 0 1087.5 0%
Langlade 76 2,618 2 396.6 3%
Lincoln 76 3,772 1 272.9 1%
Manitowoc 457 11,784 1 575.5 0%
Marathon 733 16,665 13 541.9 2%
Marinette 565 8,178 6 1393.8 1%
Marquette 82 2,422 1 539.2 1%
Menominee 28 1,886 0 611.5 0%
Milwaukee 23,281 211,630 479 2439.8 2%
Monroe 266 8,351 2 584.6 1%
Oconto 372 6,874 1 990.5 0%
Oneida 193 6,093 0 546.0 0%
Outagamie 1,576 30,028 17 853.0 1%
Ozaukee 853 14,729 18 966.2 2%
Pepin 47 1,123 0 647.2 0%
Pierce 271 5,673 4 651.4 1%
Polk 156 6,952 2 359.9 1%
Portage 512 10,232 0 725.2 0%
Price 33 2,057 0 244.6 0%
Racine 3,840 51,796 85 1965.2 2%
Richland 41 3,315 4 233.8 10%
Rock 1,571 28,179 26 971.1 2%
Rusk 23 1,560 1 162.2 4%
Sauk 590 15,762 3 927.7 1%
Sawyer 143 3,784 0 873.5 0%
Shawano 234 7,259 0 570.6 0%
Sheboygan 939 18,277 8 815.1 1%
St. Croix 591 12,409 6 672.2 1%
Taylor 85 2,186 3 417.6 4%
Trempealeau 395 5,408 2 1341.8 1%
Vernon 86 4,470 0 281.8 0%
Vilas 93 3,291 0 430.7 0%
Walworth 1,604 18,974 25 1557.1 2%
Washburn 56 2,303 0 356.9 0%
Washington 1,460 19,376 26 1085.2 2%
Waukesha 5,267 64,772 70 1320.5 1%
Waupaca 593 8,781 17 1152.7 3%
Waushara 135 5,687 1 559.8 1%
Winnebago 1,371 31,706 20 806.8 1%
Wood 418 11,201 2 570.5 0%
Total 70,854 1,119,622 1,081 1226.2 2%

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