COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Test positivity average spiking after holidays

The state of Wisconsin's COVID-19 test positivity average continued a rapid rise Tuesday, reaching levels not seen since early December. 

According to the state's Department of Health Services, the 7-day test positivity average reached 31.9 percent this week, which didn't reach the levels of the height of the pandemic in November, but was similar to the spike seen after the Thanksgiving holiday in early December. 

The 7-day case increase average was also up Tuesday, reaching 2,400, continuing its spike since Christmas Day. 

The 7-day death increase average has remained low of late, but spiked slightly Tuesday after the state reported 95 new COVID-19 deaths. That rate has held steady since the Christmas holiday. 

In hospitals, 80 percent of beds are full, leaving 2,164 open. There are 231 ICU hospitalizations statewide. 

The pandemic so far

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.

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.