Only 4 percent of COVID-19 tests are positive as state meets five of six Badger Bounce Back goals.
Five of the six goals in Gov. Tony Evers’ Badger Bounce Back plan has now been met, with only 4 percent of the tests coming back positive Tuesday, the lowest percent in weeks.
Of the more than 4,900 test results released Tuesday, only 193, or 3.9 percent, of them came back positive.
This low percentage allowed the state to meet two more goals, including 14 days with fewer reported cases of patients with COVID-like symptoms and 14 days with the percentage of positive tests in decline. This means that even though the state began testing more residents, those testing positive began to steadily decline.
The only metric still to meet in order for all six of the criteria to be met in Gov. Tony’s Evers’ Badger Bounce Back plan is for the number of people reporting flu-like illnesses in a 14-day timeframe to go down.
Evers announced the criteria as part of the Badger Bounce Back plan on April 20. It calls for allowing work and social activities to slowly return to normal once cases of COVID-19 and those experiencing flu-like symptoms decline for 14 consecutive days.
Rather than “flip a switch” and bring back gatherings of people that would likely ignite a new wave of COVID-19 infections and deaths, Evers’ plan is based on the Trump administration’s “Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.” As Evers often says, it is about “turning a dial.”
According to the state Department of Health Services website, the shift the state is making is from “boxing in” all the people to “boxing in” the virus.
As of Tuesday, 10, 611 people had tested positive and 1,877, or 18 percent, of all coronavirus patients who have contracted the virus have required hospitalization. The number of people testing negative is 112,748 and 418 people have died.
The state’s safer-at-home order expires May 26. Evers twice has loosened restrictions on business, most recently on Monday. Evers has said he does not plan to extend the order past the 26th.
Repubilcan lawmakers filed a suit to block the order with the Wisconsin Supreme Court April 21. The court heard oral arguments last week and a ruling could come at any time. When a ruling is issued, lawmakers had asked for the existing order to last for six days, as health officials began the process of promulgating an emergency rule.
Brig. Gen. Paul Knapp with the Wisconsin National Guard told reporters during a conference call Tuesday that 1,200 troops are now deployed to assist with 25 COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites across Wisconsin.
He said he was “pretty jazzed” about the fact roughly 1,919 people were tested Monday at two drive-thru locations in Milwaukee County.
Julie Willems Van Dijk, DHS’s deputy secretary, said the assistance of the National Guard is allowing the state to meet its goal of 85,000 people tested per week. That means 12,500 people need to be tested daily.
A few weeks ago, the state was only able to test between 1,500 and 2,000 people a day. Typically these were healthcare workers or patients already hospitalized with symptoms.
With the free drive-thru sites, Van Dijk said between 4,500 and 5,000 people are now being tested daily. She said she expects that number to increase to between 6,000 and 7,000 in the upcoming days as the guard continues working at 16 state sites.
“Slowly but surely we will get there,” Van Dyke said of the state’s daily and weekly testing goals.