COVID-19 update: New positive tests in city declining, primarily a result of UW-W going virtual; Continued evidence of other community spread, including deaths

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff
whitewaterbanner@gmail.com
December 1, 2020

  • It’s not possible to precisely differentiate new cases at UW-W from those in the larger community, but last week there were 63 new positive test results in the Walworth County portion of the city, and during that period UW-W only reported 17. Presumably some of UW-W’s cases would have been reported in Jefferson County. Out of the tests reported in the Walworth County portion of the city in the past week, a concerning 41% were positive. Mandi Kolb, a 911 dispatcher, stated at the virtual WUSD board meeting on Nov. 23 that she is “taking call after call related to COVID-19.”
  • The Walworth County portion of the city has three census tracts. Until December 1, all of those census tracts were in the initial, nonspecified reporting level of 0-4 deaths from COVID-19. Now, however, tract #04 has experienced a total of six deaths. From November 1 to December 1 the cumulative deaths in Walworth County have increased from 39 to 53.
  • With a 7-day case incidence as of December 1 of 70.1, Walworth County’s positive cases have continued to moderate, from 86.3 in the past week. The county is still very deeply into the “very high risk” category (which begins at 25) under the Jefferson County model that Whitewater Unified School District (WUSD) is no longer using as guidance. Whitewater’s case incidence, 51.6, is still very high but has fallen considerably since UW-W went virtual. Meanwhile, Jefferson County is currently reporting a 7-day case incidence as of November 29 of 58, a considerable improvement from two weeks ago. The statewide case incidence is reported to be 103.2. (Case incidence = daily average new cases per 100,000 people.)
  • Informed by new guidance from Walworth and Rock Counties, the WUSD board voted on November 23 to pause in-person instruction beginning Nov. 30. With rapidly rising cases in the area, the health departments reverted to Phase I in their COVID-19 guidance and expressed concern regarding the potential for additional spikes related to the upcoming holidays. The school district has now had four school closings since the gradual return to in-person school, with classes going virtual at Lakeview for 11/5-6, at the High School on 11/9, at Lincoln for 11/10-12, and at the High School for 11/20. Though the District Administrator indicated on November 23 that there is only evidence of one student having been infected at school, cases among students had risen considerably. Only two new cases among staff were identified during the short Thanksgiving week, and there were no new student cases. WUSD’s current data indicates that since September 1 there have been 57 positive cases among students and 19 staff members. In-person classes resumed fulltime for 4K – 5th grade on September 28; grades 6-12 began a hybrid model on October 12, and fulltime in-person classes resumed on November 2.
  • UWWs current data shows that last week there were 15 students and 2 staff/others with positive PCR tests, a decline from the 47 students in the previous week. Many students had returned home, as in-person classes had ended the previous week. Positive results from the rapid antigen tests that are administered to asymptomatic and random volunteers had increased from 1.1% seven weeks ago to as high as 8.15%. Last week’s testing found only 2.9% positives.
  • Two weeks ago the state introduced a new “critically high” COVID activity level. Per this state website, the state as a whole and all but seven counties now have “critically high” COVID activity levels. Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties are all at the critically high level. Per the state, “COVID-19 remains very contagious and most people in Wisconsin are still at risk of getting sick from the virus.”

DAILY CASE INCIDENCE PER 100,000 PEOPLE – WALWORTH COUNTY

End DateNew cases/14 daysIncidenceNew cases/7 daysIncidence
9/1552738.840359.2
9/2264847.724536
9/2937927.913419.7
10/530222.217625.9
10/1630822.617625.9
10/2542731.426539.0
11/153339.226839.4
11/879558.552777.6
11/16121889.662892.4
11/24126693.158686.3
12/1106378.247770.1
*

DAILY CASE INCIDENCE PER 100,00 PEOPLE – CITY OF WHITEWATER (WALWORTH COUNTY PORTION)

End DateNew cases/14 daysIncidenceNew cases/7 daysIncidence
9/15345206.8284340.4
9/22419251.1132158.1
9/29180107.94857.6
10/174225.12024.0
10/256136.64554.0
11/17544.93036.0
11/88852.75869.6
11/1616095.987104.3
11/24205122.9101121.0
12/114486.34351.6

TEST POSITIVITY RESULTS – CITY OF WHITEWATER (WALWORTH COUNTY PORTION)

End Date# Tests Reported – 14 days# PositivePositivity %# Tests Reported – 7 days#PositivePositivity %
8/222162712.5%10365.8%
8/29240197.9%128139.2%
9/74217718.3%2746021.9%
9/2095840442.2%57120435.7%
9/2966318027.1%2364820.3%
10/171754224.0%802025.0%
10/253106119.7%1404532.1%
11/12667528.2%1263023.8%
11/82978829.6%1715833.4%
11/1641316038.7%2348737.2%
11/2444320546.3%18210155%
12/128714450.2%1054341.0%

TEST POSITIVITY RESULTS – WALWORTH COUNTY

End Date# Tests Reported – 14 days#PositivePositivity %# Tests Reported – 7 days# PositivePositivity %% of Those with Positive Results Who Reported being Asymptomatic Total Deaths
8/22238627711.6%107111210.5%11.4%25
8/29197221010.6%9019810.9%11.1%27
9/7195322811.7%98612913.1%10.9%32
9/22268964824.1%124924519.6%9.7%34
9/29250437915.1%125513410.7%9.75%35
10/5218930213.8%86417625.6%9.49%35
10/16180330814.6%114217615.4%9.47%36
10/25330442712.9%109726524.2%9.36%38
11/1228953323.3%119226822.5%9.10%39
11/8274879528.9%155652733.9%8.8%39
11/163465121835.2%182462834.4%7.84%43
11/243651126634%178758632.8%7.51%47
12/13081106334.5%129447736.9%7.47%53
Note: On May 12, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (ie, out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days. If a positivity rate is too high, that may indicate that the state is only testing the sickest patients who seek medical attention, and is not casting a wide enough net to know how much of the virus is spreading within its communities. Wisconsin’s current positivity rate is 12.6%.

WUSD is providing the following “COVID Tracking Data” on its website at this link.

COVID TRACKING DATA

On September 23, 2020 the WUSD School Board voted to suspend the utilization of a community level metric.

Below is the cumulative and current number of close contact, symptomatic, COVID positive staff and students.

0District COVID Tracking Data Sept 1 – November 30 (updated Dec. 1)
CumulativeNov. 30
STAFF
Close Contact Positive Person5612
Showing Symptoms510
Tested COVID-Positive19 3
Total Quarantined Staff126
STUDENTSClose Contact Positive Person 34768
Showing Symptoms3890
Tested COVID-Positive573
Total Quarantined Students793
TotalsNumber of Positive COVID Cases76
Number of Days of School58

UWW has established the following dashboard which provides useful information. It is found at this link.

COVID-19 Dashboard

The COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-changing situation and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater actively monitors and reviews a series of health, safety, and resource metrics to guide decision-making with regard to university operations. These metrics are considered in combination and consultation with recommendations and orders from the state and county health departments before any changes in operations are made.

Last Updated 11/30/2020 at 9:00 AM

COVID-19 cases reported to UW-Whitewater

New reports – Week of Nov. 15-21Previous weekCumulative reports since March 2020
Students1547663
Employees1238
Other106
Unknown003

Dashboard is updated on business days with available data. Numbers include cases reported through university-coordinated testing, as well as those reported through the COVID-19 Hotline, which may include testing that occurred off-campus through other health clinics/providers. Student employees are counted in the student numbers. The “Other” category is defined as any positive cases reported to UW-Whitewater who are neither students nor employees and may include visitors to the university, contractors or vendors, or others who have been to the university in person.  These numbers represent individuals who have had direct contact with the campuses.  Individuals who are working or attending solely in a remote manner and not living in University Housing are not included.

Regional Metrics


University Health and Counseling Services (11/16-11/30)Walworth County (11/14-11/27)Rock County (11/11-11/24)Jefferson CountyWisconsin (7-day average)
Percent Positive38% (100/264*)20.45%32.5%25.1%28.7%
Time to complete contact tracing100% of contacts are initiated within 48 hours**29% of contacts are initiated within 48 hours33% of contacts are initiated within 48 hoursNot AvailableN/A
Healthcare system capacity levelNo crisis management of care8% ICU beds availableHospitals at a medium capacity levelNot Available15% Available (Based on Immediate Bed Availability)
Total cases per 100,000n/a1262.0
(90.1 per day)
1187.4
(84.8 per day)
1455.0
(103.9/day)
1445.3
(103.2)

*UHCS percentage positive is based on PCR testing performed at the University Clinic site of students only.  Case totals are represented by (Total Positives/Total PCR Tests)

**To avoid duplication, UHCS actively partners with Walworth, Rock, and Jefferson Health Departments.  County Health Departments do tracing of positive cases and UHCS employees do tracing of contact cases. 

Previous 7 days of PCR Tests Administered

PCR* Test Date# of PCR Tests Administered
11/19/2014
11/20/2021
11/23/2022
11/24/203
11/25/2010
11/26/200
11/27/208

*PCR testing is conducted on symptomatic individuals and individuals with positive Antigen testing results.

Total All PCR Tests# of PCR Negative# of PCR PositivePercentage Positive
1576112051831.6%
3.2%Antigen* Test Date# of Antigen Tests Administered# of Antigen Negative Results# of Antigen Positive ResultsPercentage Positive
11/18/20269257124.5%
11/19/20270260103.7%
11/20/2025825351.9%
11/23/2029929093.0%
11/24/201591581.6%
11/25/2012111832.5%
11/26-27/20000
Weekly total 13761336402.9%
Total All Antigen Tests708167812884.1%

*Antigen testing is conducted on asymptomatic and random volunteers.

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