COVID-19 update: Kewaunee County numbers improve, more positive tests for Door County
After two months of rising numbers and rates of positive tests for the COVID-19 virus, both Kewaunee and Door counties saw their positive tests continue to slacken a little over the past two weeks, although Door County's results are somewhat mixed because fewer test results led to a big increase in the rate of positive tests.
Those results come as state and national health officials continue to warn of an expected surge in cases over the next month or more largely because of holiday gatherings.
The Kewaunee County Public Health Department reported 97 new COVID-19 positive results in the week from Dec 1 to 8, breaking a string of 10 straight Tuesday-to-Tuesday weeks with more than 100 new cases, with a peak of 163, between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.
The number of active cases also fell, from 120 as of Dec. 1 to 96 on Tuesday, and the number of people hospitalized from virus complications dropped from four to one.
The rate of positive tests in Kewaunee County, one of the metrics generally used by health departments to gauge how well a community is controlling the spread of the virus, also fell noticeably. With 335 tests returned in the past week, the county's positive rate was 29%, down from 42.1% the prior week and well below the percentages in the high 30s to 40s regularly seen in the past two months. It's also lower than the statewide rate for the past week of 34.5%.
Another metric used by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is the number of positive tests per 100,000 residents, and that figure continued to fall as it has over the past two weeks.
The state health department reported Kewaunee County's number at 299 cases per 100,000 over the past week, compared to 451 for the week ending Dec. 1 and 653 the week before that and ranking 66th-most of the state's 72 counties. The cumulative number of positives per 100,000 for the county since testing began in the spring is 8,630, 10th-highest in the state. Kewaunee County has been in or around the top 10 for almost all autumn.
However, four more county residents were reported to have died in that week because of the virus, bringing the county's COVID-19 death toll to 24. Twenty-two of those deaths have occurred in the last two months after only two deaths (one in April, one in July) were attributed to the virus in the pandemic's first seven months, from March through September.
Since testing began, 8,705 results for Kewaunee County residents have been returned with 1,831 positive and 6,874 negative, making a cumulative rate that rose to 21% from 20.5% as of Dec. 1. The state's cumulative rate rose by a like percentage over that week, from 15.4% to 15.9%.
With the total of 1,831 positives, than means one of every 11.1 people in the county has had a positive test at some time this year; that ratio has increased by about one person a week for the past five weeks. So far, 1,711 people have recovered.
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Positive test rate grows for Door County
The Door County Public Health Department reported 96 new confirmed COVID-19 cases between Dec. 1 and 8 and six new probable cases — those who have not yet been confirmed positive by a lab but had a positive antigen test or have COVID-19 symptoms and known exposure to the virus. Such cases are considered positive and those in that category should isolate themselves and contact their employers and close contacts.
The increase of 102 combined positive and probable cases over that week is more than the 77 reported for the previous week, but it's still well below the 132 reported between Nov. 17 and 23 and the more than 200 positives that came in each of the three straight preceding weeks.
With a combined total 1,825 positives or probable cases since testing began, one of every 15 county residents has tested positive for the virus at some time.
Also, no new deaths were attributed to the virus in the past week, keeping Door County's COVID-19 toll at 11. As of Tuesday, 320 cases are active, 108 fewer than 428 on Dec. 1, and four people were hospitalized in the past week because of the virus, bringing the overall total to 61. So far, 1,494 residents have recovered, 209 more than a week ago.
However, the rate of positive tests in the Door spiked in that week. With 342 results coming in, the weekly rate as of Tuesday was 29.8% after it was 18.9% on Dec. 1 and 20.5% the week before, although the past week's rate is well below the 41.6% for the week ending Nov. 17. The cumulative rate of positive results, from a total of 13,304 tests, rose from 13.3% on Dec. 1 to 13.7%.
According to the state, the county reported 348 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, 57th-most in the state and an increase from 254 as of Dec. 1 but less than the 474 for the week ending Nov. 23 and 666 the week before that. The cumulative number of cases per 100,000 since testing began this spring is 6,146, 53rd-most in the state compared to 50th-most a week ago.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 4,114 new positive tests and 68 COVID-19-related deaths across the state Tuesday, but the rate of positive tests remained high, at 30.5% over the previous seven days.
That's because the number of tests has fallen by about 25%, from a seven-day average of more than 39,000 a day as of two weeks ago to about 29,500 as of Tuesday.
With the positive rate remaining high, officials are concerned that many are carrying the virus undetected because they have yet to be tested. They expected a spike in cases following Thanksgiving, where the virus could spread easily at indoor gatherings, but the lower number of tests and time it takes the virus to incubate in a person's body, about two weeks, might be the reason for the recent drop in positives.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: COVID-19 update: Kewaunee County numbers improve, more positive tests for Door County