Wisconsin sets another single day record for new COVID-19 cases as testing increases

Wisconsin has set another single-day record for new COVID-19 cases, as concern grows over sharply increasing case numbers.

Saturday, the state reported 2,817 new cases, nearly 300 hundred more than the previous single-day record set last week. The new daily high marks the sixth time since the start of September that Wisconsin has seen a new record.

The records come as the state has slowly increased testing capacity, setting records for most tests performed in a single day on Wednesday and Friday, September 18.

However, the percent positive rate remains high despite the increased testing, hitting 22.4 percent on Saturday. The goal is to keep that rate below 5 percent, health officials say.

The spike in new cases have been mostly driven by college age adults, ages 18 to 24, but data shows COVID-19 cases are on the rise among all age groups.

A total of 113,645 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the pandemic began. 94,094 of them have recovered from the virus, 7,041 have been hospitalized and 1,281 Wisconsinites have died. Despite the uptick in new cases, both reported new hospitalizations and deaths have remained steady. However, it's fair to note deaths can lag behind a spike in cases. 

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 are required as of Saturday, 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.

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.