(FOX 9) - As new COVID-19 cases continue to fall in Wisconsin, and as more people are vaccinated, the state is reporting its fewest new cases since last summer.
Saturday, the state's seven-day average for new coronavirus cases fell to 624, the lowest average since July 9. At the same time, the average for positivity rate continues to fall while the death average saw a slight uptick on Saturday, but still at lows not seen since October.
Since the start of the pandemic, Wisconsin has reported a total of 559,172 positive COVID-19 cases, 6,284 deaths, and 25,716 total hospitalizations. Of the total cases, 543,411 patients, or about 97.2 percent, are now considered recovered.
Nearly 800,000 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Wisconsin, including 45.9 percent of the state's seniors ages 65 and above.
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, on February 4, the state's Legislature voted to repeal Evers' order. That same day, Governor Evers issued a new mask mandate order, keeping the mandate in effect.
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 211Wisconsin.org 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.