Local COVID-19 Positivity Rising Rapidly in Past Week, presumably primarily UW-W related; County Deaths also rise

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner staff

A primary measure of the spread of COVID-19 in a community is the positivity rate, which is generally calculated as the percentage of people with positive results out of all of the test results that have been reported in the past 7 or 14 days. The Whitewater Unified School District Board has indicated that, based on advice from the Jefferson County epidemiologist, in order for fulltime in-person classes to resume, the blended 14-day positivity rate for Jefferson, Rock and Walworth counties should be less than 8% and continue on a downward trajectory for 14 days. Some school districts have used a target of 5%.

The tables below show both the 14 and 7 day test results for the city and Walworth County. (Only the Walworth County portion of Whitewater can be computed, as the census tract for the Jefferson County portion of the city extends as far as Palmyra.) A dramatic increase in the number of positive test results, as well as the positivity rate, is noted in the city. Although it was inevitable that an increase would occur with the return of the UW-W students, the rate of increase is concerning.

It is also notable that the COVID-19 related deaths in Walworth County have increased from 26 to 32 in the past two weeks. The Banner received the following reply from the county public health team in response to our inquiry about this rapid increase: “In the past two weeks, the Walworth County Division of Public Health has reported 6 additional deaths, bringing the county’s death total to 32. Five of the 6 deaths occured in healthcare settings of either hospitals or long term care facilities. Walworth County had their youngest death thus far, of an individual in their upper 50s. The other five individuals were over the age of 65. All six individuals had significant underlying health conditions. These deaths highlight how devastating COVID-19 can be for individuals with underlying medical conditions and remain a reminder for our community to protect those who may be at risk for severe complications from this disease.”


End Date# Tests Reported – 14 days# PositivePositivity %# Tests Reported – 7 days#PositivePositivity %


End Date# Tests Reported – 14 days#PositivePositivity %# Tests Reported – 7 days# PositivePositivity %% of Those with Positive Results Who Reported being Asymptomatic Total Deaths

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.

Note that the Warhawk Dashboard has not been updated since Friday morning, whereas the statistics above are through Monday.

Last Updated 9/4/2020 at 11:06 AM

COVID-19 cases reported to UW-Whitewater

New reports – Week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5Previous weekCumulative reports since March 2020

Dashboard is updated daily 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 (8/21-9/3)Walworth County (8/18-8/31)Rock County (8/19-9/1)Jefferson CountyWisconsin (7-day average)
Percent Positive6% (9 of 142*)9.81%6.7%11.8%8.7%
Time to complete contact tracingN/A96% of contacts are initiated within 48 hours78% of contacts are initiated within 48 hoursNot AvailableN/A
Healthcare system capacity levelNo crisis management of careNo crisis management of careNo crisis management of careNot Available20% Available (Based on Immediate Bed Availability)
Total cases per 100,000n/a190130220170

*UHCS percentage positive is based on PCR testing performed at the University Clinic site of students only.

Additional UW-Whitewater metrics

Capacity for isolating/quarantining individuals on campus100 of 113 rooms available

The university is also monitoring the current PPE supply and supply chain, staffing levels across both campuses, and compliance of university safety protocols.

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