COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Case increase average hits lowest mark since Sept. 16

(Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

The case increase average reached its lowest point since Sept. 16 Tuesday, as the key COVID-19 metric continues its daily decline. 

The 7-day case increase average was 1,291 Tuesday, fueled in part by a declining 7-day COVID-19 test positivity average, which was below 20 percent. 

The death increase average is 26 Tuesday after 40 new deaths were reported. The average has declined steadily since Jan. 22, however. 

In hospitals, 78 percent of COVID-19 beds are full, leaving 2,428 beds open. 21 percent of patients are in intensive care Tuesday, or 146 total patients. 

The pandemic so far

The state of Wisconsin said it has discovered a COVID-19 variant in a patient. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the strain, referred to as B.1.1.7, was identified in a Wisconsin patient Jan. 12.

COVID-19 infections can often go undetected and be asymptomatic; laboratory-confirmed tests only represent a fraction of actual COVID-19 cases. A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that actual cases in some instances were six to 24 times greater than reported cases.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced an indoor mask mandate for people over the age of 5, which he extended.  Face coverings while indoors except at a private residence have been required since Aug. 1. However, the Wisconsin Assembly attempted a vote on January 28 to remove the mask mandate. The vote was halted on Thursday but lawmakers could revisit the topic this week.

Evers extended the state's stay-at-home order until May 26, but on May 13, the state Supreme Court blocked the extension, effectively opening all establishments in the state. Hours later, images emerged of packed bars across the state, leading the Governor to call his state "The Wild West." Evers' original "Safer at Home" order went into effect on March 25. In October, a judge did however allow Evers' mask mandate to remain in effect.

On April 4, President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for Wisconsin due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration allows for federal funding to be allocated to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that were impacted by the virus.

For more information, go to the state health department's website.

If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, you can Text COVID19 to 211-211, visit or call 211. Call volumes are high, so officials are asking people to be patient and try to use the text or online options first. 

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, health officials advise you to call your health care provider.