COVID-19: Labs and Testing

Important updates regarding our data

Please note that the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance (WEDSS) system underwent routine maintenance and enhancements over the weekend of October 16-18, 2020. During that time, data reporting and visualization updates were temporarily paused. Due to this temporary pause in reporting, no new cases were reported out on October 17, 2020.  As a result of the upgrade, the number of confirmed cases newly reported fluctuated over the past several days. As of October 22, 2020 the data will begin to reflect what we expect to see given the high COVID-19 activity levels across Wisconsin. For a more accurate representation of COVID-19 in Wisconsin over the course of this upgrade, we recommend looking at the 7-day rolling averages.

Jump to specific COVID-19 chart on this page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laboratory testing capacity

Understanding our data: What does this chart mean?

This chart shows several measures of laboratory testing capacity. It shows how many different labs in the state are currently or planning to test for COVID-19 and how this number has increased over time. It also shows how many tests our labs are capable of processing each day, as well as how this capacity has grown over time.

About our data: How do we measure this?

Data source: Data is collected by voluntary reporting from public, private, and commercial laboratories in Wisconsin. All data are approximations and do not reflect actual number of tests performed in the state since laboratories are not required to report testing. Capacity is dependent on availability of test supplies and adequate staffing.

We plan to update our data daily by 2 p.m.

Back to a list of charts on this page.


All people tested versus testing capacity

Understanding our data: What does this chart mean?

This graph includes how many COVID-19 tests are done (dark blue bars) along with our state’s capacity to process these tests (light blue). When shown together, this graph provides a picture of Wisconsin's ability to keep up with testing needs over time.

Please note that the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance (WEDSS) system underwent routine maintenance and enhancements over the weekend of October 16-18, 2020. Due to this temporary pause in reporting, multiple days of data were uploaded at once, affecting the single day count for the visualizations during that time.

About our data: How do we measure this?

Data source: Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS).

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on how cases of COVID-19 are reported to WEDSS.

Every morning by 9 a.m., we extract the data from WEDSS that will be reported on the DHS website at 2 p.m. These numbers are the official DHS numbers. Counties may report their own case and death counts on their own websites. Because WEDSS is a live system that constantly accepts data, case and death counts on county websites will differ from the DHS counts if the county extracted data from WEDSS at a different time of day. Please consult the county websites to determine what time of day they pull data from WEDSS. Combining the DHS and local totals will result in inaccurate totals.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19: Unless otherwise specified, the data described here are confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to WEDSS. Cases are classified using the national case definition established by the CDC. Confirmed cases are those that have positive results from diagnostic, confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests or nucleic acid amplification tests (NAT) that detect genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Illnesses with only positive antigen or positive antibody test results do not meet the definition of confirmed and are not included in the number of confirmed cases.

COVID-19 Deaths: Unless otherwise specified, COVID-19 deaths reported on the DHS website are deaths among confirmed cases of COVID-19 that meet the vital records criteria set forth by the CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) case definition. Those are deaths that have a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Deaths associated with COVID-19 must be reported by health care providers or medical examiners/coroners, and recorded in WEDSS by local health departments in order to be counted as a COVID-19 death. Deaths among people with COVID-19 that were the result of non-COVID reasons (e.g., accident, overdose, etc.) are not included as a COVID-19 death. For more information see the FAQ page.

Probable cases of COVID-19 and deaths among probable cases. Some visualizations include the option of including information on probable cases of COVID-19 and deaths among probable cases of COVID-19. Cases are classified using the national case definition established by the CDC and the CSTE [https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/.... A person is counted as a probable* case of COVID-19 if they are not positive by a confirmatory laboratory test method (for example, a PCR, or NAT test), but have met one of the following:

  1. Test positive using an antigen test method.
  2. Have symptoms of COVID-19 AND known exposure to COVID-19 (for example, being a close contact of someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19).
  3. COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is listed on the death certificate.

*This definition was updated as of August 19, 2020. Previously, probable cases also included those that had a positive antibody test which detects COVID-19 antibodies in the blood. For more details on this transition, see the CDC’s statement.

Deaths among probable cases are those that meet one of the following criteria:

  • A probable case of COVID-19 is reported to have died from causes related to COVID-19.
  • A death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death is reported to DHS but WEDSS has no record of confirmatory laboratory evidence for SARS-CoV-2.

People with negative test results: The number of people with negative test results includes only Wisconsin residents who had negative confirmatory test results (PCR or NAT tests that detect pieces of SARS-CoV-2) reported electronically to WEDSS or entered manually into the WEDSS electronic laboratory module. Because manual entry of negative test results into electronic laboratory module takes more time, this number underestimates the total number of Wisconsin residents with negative test results.

Data shown are subject to change. For more information see the FAQ page. As individual cases are investigated by public health, there may be corrections to the status and details of cases that result in changes to this information. Some examples of corrections or updates that may result in the case or death counts going up or down, include:

  • Update or correction of case’s address, resulting in a change to their location of residence to another county or state
  • Correction to laboratory result
  • Correction to a case’s status from confirmed to unconfirmed (for example, if they were marked as confirmed because a blood test detecting antibodies was positive instead of a test detecting the virus causing COVID-19)
  • De-duplication or merging and consolidation of case records
  • Update of case’s demographic information from missing or unknown to complete information

For information on testing, see: COVID-19, testing criteria section.

We plan to update our data daily by 2 p.m.

Back to a list of charts on this page.


How can I download DHS COVID-19 data?

All DHS COVID-19 data is available for download directly from the chart on the page. You can click on the chart and then click "Download" at the bottom of the chart (gray bar).

For spatial and mapped data visit one of the following links:

You can find more instructions on how to download COVID-19 data or access archived spatial data by visiting our FAQ page. The data dictionary(PDF) provides more information about the different elements available in the data above.

Last Revised: October 21, 2020