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More than half of COVID-19 tests coming back positive across Wisconsin

DHS data shows nearly 1,900 new cases and 10 deaths from COVID-19 in Northwestern Wisconsin over the past week.

A model of the novel coronavirus.
Contributed / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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About 57% of Wisconsinites tested for COVID-19 over the last week tested positive for the disease, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported Wednesday, Jan. 19.

However, DHS expects COVID-19 data to be temporarily elevated while the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System implements a new process to improve the accuracy and timeliness of data moving forward, DHS reported. DHS is now auto-importing positive COVID-19 test results to help local and tribal health departments manage the large influx of positive tests resulting from the ongoing surge driven by the highly-contagious omicron variant. The elevated number includes back-logged cases brought into the live system, officials said.

Infectious disease physician Sara Lund was among the first pregnant women in Minnesota to be vaccinated in 2020. Now, she and her family are hoping to increase the vaccination rate in pregnant women.

The seven-day average of new cases in Wisconsin was 18,473 on Wednesday, up from 9,675 on Jan. 12. The figure measures the average number of new cases per day over the previous week. An increase indicates the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the state is going up, according to DHS.

Hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19 rose to 2,234 people, DHS reported Wednesday, up from 2,166 on Jan. 12 based on a rolling seven-day average.
Among the people hospitalized, 478 were being treated in intensive care units, up slightly from 474 the previous week. For the two-week period ending Jan. 18, 93.6% of the ICU beds in Wisconsin were in use, DHS said.

An additional 241 people died from complications related to COVID-19 statewide since Jan. 12, the data showed, bringing the total to 10,648. Among those who died were four people in Price County, three people in Rusk County, two people in Washburn County and one person in Iron County.


Statewide, an additional 135,722 new cases were reported since Jan. 12. The total number of cases across the state was 1,239,094 Wednesday.
Closer to home, an additional 1,897 people in Northwestern Wisconsin tested positive for COVID-19 since DATE, DHS said.

They were reported as follows: 388 in Douglas County; 265 in Taylor County; 227 in Sawyer County; 195 in Burnett County; 181 in Washburn County; 167 in Iron County; 125 in Rusk County; 118 in Ashland County; 117 in Bayfield County; and 114 in Price County.

The number of negative tests in the state was 3,982,324 Wednesday, an increase of 76,870 since Jan. 12.

Since vaccines became available, 8,903,421 vaccines have been administered, and 1,798,578 booster shots have been administered. About 58.9% of Wisconsin's population is fully vaccinated.

Here's the breakdown in the 10-county region:

Ashland County

  • Total cases: 2,079
  • Total negative tests: 10,034
  • Hospitalized: 103
  • Deaths: 22
  • Probable deaths: 6
  • Vaccinated: 65.8%

Bayfield County

  • Total cases: 1,949
  • Total negative tests: 10,061
  • Hospitalized: 128
  • Deaths: 25
  • Probable deaths: 10
  • Vaccinated: 68.4%

Burnett County

  • Total cases: 3,097
  • Total negative tests: 9,124
  • Hospitalized: 217
  • Deaths: 35
  • Probable deaths: 1
  • Vaccinated: 52.4%

Douglas County

  • Total cases: 6,753
  • Total negative tests: 27,655
  • Hospitalized: 296
  • Deaths: 49
  • Probable deaths: 22
  • Vaccinated: 61.1%

Iron County

  • Total cases: 1,061
  • Total negative tests: 3,620
  • Hospitalized: 75
  • Deaths: 24
  • Probable deaths: 21
  • Vaccinated: 61.3%

Price County

  • Total cases: 2,654
  • Total negative tests: 7,790
  • Hospitalized: 215
  • Deaths: 27
  • Probable deaths: 0
  • Vaccinated: 55.4%

Rusk County

  • Total cases: 2,920
  • Total negative tests: 7,205
  • Hospitalized: 202
  • Deaths: 44
  • Probable deaths: 0
  • Vaccinated: 40.3%

Sawyer County

  • Total cases: 3,593
  • Total negative tests: 11,863
  • Hospitalized: 187
  • Deaths: 47
  • Probable deaths: 5
  • Vaccinated: 53.9%

Taylor County

  • Total cases: 3,905
  • Total negative tests: 8,994
  • Hospitalized: 250
  • Deaths: 47
  • Probable deaths: 15
  • Vaccinated: 33.8%

Washburn County

  • Total cases: 3,246
  • Total negative tests: 9,975
  • Hospitalized: 206
  • Deaths: 37
  • Probable deaths: 2
  • Vaccinated: 61.7%

Visit the Douglas County COVID-19 dashboard or Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 page for updates.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
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