COVID-19 in Wisconsin: State reaches 32% test positivity rate

A nurse practitioner administers COVID-19 tests in a parking lot. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The state of Wisconsin reached exactly 32 percent COVID-19 test positivity on average over the last week Thursday, the highest mark of the pandemic. 

Along with that new high, the state also reached a new 7-day case increase average high of 4,989. Thursday was the second highest single-day case increase of the pandemic with 5,922, just a few cases shy of yesterday's record. 

38 new deaths were reported in Wisconsin Thursday as well, bringing the 7-day rolling average to 35. 

The state says 88 percent of its hospital beds for COVID-19 patients are full as of Thursday, leaving 1,336 total beds available statewide. 360 of the filled beds are ICU patients, about 21 percent of the total hospitalizations. 

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 Sept. 22.  Face coverings while indoors except at a private residence have been required since Aug. 1.

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. 

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.