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Positive test rate rises again as Wisconsin reports record 580 new coronavirus cases


After falling to its lowest-ever rate of 2.9 percent on Monday, the percentage of coronavirus tests turning up positive results has risen sharply to eight percent Wednesday as a single-day record of 580 new cases were reported.

The State Department of Health Services reported 528 new cases from 2 pm Tuesday to 2 pm Wednesday, which included Milwaukee County’s 2:30 pm update from Tuesday. Another big increase in Milwaukee County at 2:30 pm Wednesday — 210 new cases — puts the 24-hour increase from 12,994 at 2:30 Tuesday to 13,574 at 2:30 Wednesday — a jump of 580 new confirmed cases.

Fourteen fatalities were reported Tuesday, bringing the state’s total death toll to 481.

The bulk of the increase in new cases today come from those 210 new cases in Milwaukee County. The outbreak in Brown County seems to remain under control, as just 17 more cases were identified and 2.6 percent of tests came back positive. An outbreak at a meat packing plant in Green Bay has significantly increased the number of positive cases in Brown County, which have now reached 2,118 in the county. That’s a rate of 821.8 cases per 100,000 residents — far higher than the second-highest rate, 570.6 in Racine County.

A hotspot in Kenosha Counties seem to have cooled off, at least for the past couple of days. Today the county reported 23 new cases but just 6.87 percent of tests came back positive.

Racine County, on the other hand, is headed in the other direction: the county, which has seen infections rise significantly in recent weeks, reported just 54 new cases, with more than 11 percent of tests coming back positive.

Dane County has kept its positive test rate below three percent, but has seen an increase of 66 cases in just one week — from 500 to 566 — largely due to outbreaks at assisted living facilities, county health officials said.

Hospitalizations have been on the rise over the past week but remained steady Wednesday, as 399 people are currently hospitalized with coronavirus infection, up from 398 yesterday. Of those currently hospitalized, 127 require intensive care. Additionally, 180 people are hospitalized awaiting test results.

The rate of disparity in Latino populations continues to stand out — 31 percent of total cases are now Latino people. Latinos make up just seven percent of the state’s overall population.

Similarly, 20 percent of all cases are Black people, who also make up just under 30 percent of deaths. Black people make up just six percent of the state’s population.

DHS also reports that 58 percent of those confirmed to have been infected have recovered and 4 percent have died, leaving about 5,300 active, confirmed infections in the state.