New reports of COVID-19 cases are declining in Wisconsin, based on the latest data published by the state Department of Health Services.

However, the death toll rose by one in Barron County. Public Health reported Monday that one person died last week, bringing the number of deaths up to 75, and it was handling 23 new cases. The number of county residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine stands at 5,789.

DHS reported 403 new cases of the disease Sunday, bringing the average for the past seven days to 610 daily cases, the lowest that figure has been since early July.

There were zero new deaths from COVID-19 reported Sunday. On Sunday, 3,862 tested negative.

Of the tests for COVID-19 conducted over the past week, 2.7 percent were positive for the disease, according to DHS. That rate has been decreasing since early January, and takes into account people who have been tested multiple times.

The positivity rate is often read by public health officials as a measure of overall testing levels. A high rate could indicate that testing in the state is limited, and skewed toward those already flagged as potentially having COVID-19. A lower rate could indicate testing is more widespread. Changes in the test positivity rate can also speak to COVID-19’s spread, if the size and makeup of the testing pool stays consistent.

According to DHS, 1,410,300 doses of coronavirus vaccine have been allocated to Wisconsin by the federal government as of Tuesday, an increase of 258,275 from a week ago. A total of 1,180,445 doses have been administered in Wisconsin as of Sunday, with 46.6 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and up receiving at least one dose of the vaccine so far. DHS reported that 806,867 Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose, representing 13.9 percent of the state population. As of Thursday, 349,461 people have received both shots in Wisconsin, completing the vaccination series.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were 350 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Saturday. A total of 25,743 people have been hospitalized because of the disease, or 4.6 percent of all positive cases.

The latest figures bring the overall total of positive cases in Wisconsin to 559,575, according to DHS. A total of 6,284 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 activity varies from county to county. The latest activity data from DHS, released Wednesday, showed the state had no counties with a “critically high” level of COVID-19 activity. Four counties were listed as having a “very high” level of activity, 67 counties had a “high” level of activity, and one, Rusk County, had a “medium” level. The number of Wisconsin counties at a “very high” level of COVID-19 activity has been decreasing. Wisconsin’s overall level is “high.”

COVID-19 activity designations are based on the number of new cases per a county’s population over a 14-day period, as well as whether there’s an upward or downward trend in new cases.

As of Feb. 17, all of Wisconsin’s seven regions were listed as “high,” and were seeing “no significant change” or “shrinking” levels of COVID-19 activity, according to DHS.

Wisconsin’s daily testing capacity — based on the availability of test supplies and adequate staffing — has grown from 120 available lab tests in early March to 59,273 as of Sunday. The number of actual people with new test results reported Sunday was 4,265.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, 3,151,938 COVID-19 tests have been administered. Of those, 2,592,363 tests have been negative.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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