Wisconsin set a record for COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with the Department of Health Services announcing 1,117 new positive cases and 13 deaths. It is the first time the state has reported more than 1,000 cases in a day. The 13 deaths is the state’s highest one-day total since June 20.
Interim Division of Public Health Administrator Stephanie Smiley said contract tracing indicates that social gatherings continue to be a big driver in the increase of cases.
“We're definitely seeing higher disease transmission, higher disease activity now than in March,” Smiley said, “We're seeing people who are reporting upwards of 15 to 20 contacts when they're being interviewed.”
There were 13,371 negative tests reported on Tuesday for a positive test rate of 7.7%. Smiley said some local health departments are seeing backlogs in reporting. Public Health Madison & Dane County announced they are not releasing a positive test percentage this week due to a backlog of negative tests.
“There are thousands upon thousands of results processed each day, and so yeah, I would say that is a reality that is facing many local health departments,” Smiley said.
Smiley said not enough is known about transmission in schools yet, and it is hard to anticipate how the rising number of cases will affect schools reopening this fall. Her department is working with the Department of Public Instruction and local health departments to provide guidance and recommendations.
“What is the disease activity level going to be this fall? Unfortunately, if we continue to see the trends that we're seeing right now, it's not probably going to be in a good situation in the fall either,” Smiley said.
Smiley said the best way to curb the spread is still to stay home as much as possible.
“We really are continuing to encourage people to physically distance and wear their cloth face coverings,” Smiley said, “The trend is not going in the right direction.”