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Dashboard Update Schedule

Data are updated Monday through Friday at 10:30am. If we experience a delay in receiving data files, data will be updated at 2:30pm or as soon as we are able. Please check the timestamp on the landing page to determine when the dashboard was last updated. The dashboard will not be updated on observed holidays. Please see the Wisconsin Department of Health Services dashboard on those dates to see data.


Data Snapshot

Each week we share a data snapshot that highlights a few key data points from the week and updates our progress. We also publish a blog post each Thursday titled "Data Notes," which explains the trends and themes we're seeing. To get notification when a new blog is posted, subscribe on this page. You can find past blog posts there as well.
 


Dashboard Video Demo

In this video, we'll show you how to navigate the dashboard and make the most of the new features.


About the Dashboard Data

Landing Page

People with COVID-19

The total number of people with COVID-19 includes all Dane County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that was reported to the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS), excluding the current day. Prior to September 27, 2021, people were only counted once, no matter how many times they received positive test results, because it was unknown whether someone could have more than one COVID-19 infection. Starting September 27, in alignment with the new CDC case definition, people who test positive are counted each time they have a new COVID-19 infection (defined as a positive test 90 days or more after their previous COVID-19 infection). Therefore, people may be counted more than once. The new case definition will not be retroactively applied and will only apply as of September 27, 2021. For context, less than 1% of Dane County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 would have had more than one COVID-19 infection since the beginning of the pandemic.Trends over time and time filters are based on the date of the first positive test result for each unique COVID-19 infection. Case counts are subject to change, especially for the most recent dates, as more results are reported to WEDSS and county of residence is updated after case interviews. 

People who are hospitalized
“People who are hospitalized” refers to the current number of people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Dane County hospitals. This number is the sum of people reported by individual hospitals in Dane County to a system called EMResource. This number can include patients who are not Dane County residents. This data system does not provide identifiable data, so we are unable to discern what proportion of patients are Dane County versus non-Dane County residents, the vaccination status of the people who are hospitalized, or whether each individual is hospitalized for COVID or for something else but happened to test positive for COVID during their hospitalization. This data is also shown as a trend over time on the “Hospitalizations & Deaths: Trends” page of the dashboard, which also shows the number of inpatients who are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

People who died
The total number of people who died is the number of deaths among people diagnosed with COVID-19 via a PCR test where the death certificate lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. To be counted as a “COVID-19 death,” it must meet the vital records criteria set forth by the CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) case definition.

Change from last update
This is the change in the total number of people with COVID-19, number of people who are hospitalized, and total number of people who died since the dashboard was last updated. It often takes more than one day for cases and deaths to be reported, so the change may reflect new cases and deaths from the last several days. The total change will be higher on Mondays as this number reflects the difference from over the weekend.

Percent change in new cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks
This is the percent change in the total number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the current week compared to the week before. We exclude the previous 3 days of data for people diagnosed with COVID-19 due to the preliminary nature of recent dates. Therefore, the “current week” would be ten days prior to today's date through four days prior to today's date, and the week before that would be 17 days prior to today’s date through 11 days prior to today’s date.

Two week trend
We utilize the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ methods for trajectory to determine whether the percent change in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 and the percent change in the number of inpatient hospitalizations from the previous to the current week is statistically significant. We categorize the trend as an increase, decrease, or stable trend with the definitions below:

  • Increase: the percent increase in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 or inpatient hospitalizations is > 10% and the p-value based on Poisson regression is <0.025.
  • Decrease: the percent decrease in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 or inpatient hospitalizations is > 10% and the p-value based on Poisson regression is <0.025.
  • Stable: Any other condition other than those described above.


People with COVID-19

Current Weekly Case Rate per 100,000. This is calculated by adding cases for the past 7 days (starting from ten days prior to today's date through four days prior to today's date, which excludes the past 3 full days). To calculate a rate for the week, this is divided by Dane County's total population (546,695) and multiplied by 100,000. See the CDC for more information. We exclude the previous three days of data to help assure the estimate is stable and less impacted by delays in laboratory processing or reporting of COVID-19 tests.

Level of Community Transmission. The level of community transmission is based on the current weekly case rate per 100,000 population. The levels as defined by the CDC are:

  • Low Transmission: 0-9.99
  • Moderate Transmission: 10-49.99
  • Substantial Transmission: 50-99.99
  • High Transmission: ≥100

People with Probable COVID-19

People who test positive with an antigen test but who do not have a confirmatory PCR test meet the definition for a Probable COVID-19 diagnosis. People with Probable COVID-19 infection are only included on the trend graphs for new people (page 2 of the dashboard) and deaths (page 7 of the dashboard). Deaths among probable cases are deaths among people diagnosed with COVID-19 via an antigen test that meet the vital records criteria set forth by the CDC and CSTE case definition. They also include deaths among people who have no laboratory evidence of a COVID-19 infection, but where the death certificate lists COVID-19 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.

Tests

These data include PCR tests only. Trends over time and time filters are based on the date of the test result. Test numbers for recent dates are subject to change as tests continue to be reported and processed.

Percent Positivity

Percent positive is calculated from the number of positive tests that represent a new COVID-19 infection divided by the number of total tests for each day. If someone has more than one positive test during a COVID-19 infection, only their first positive test is counted in the numerator, but all tests are counted in the denominator. As of September 27, 2021, if a person has more than one COVID-19 infection, then the first positive test for each new infection is used in the percent positive calculation. The denominator is total tests rather than total people tested because percent positivity is also an indicator of testing capacity. We want people, especially those in high-risk groups, to be tested more than once, and to include all those tests in our calculations to gauge the spread of COVID and to know whether enough testing is occurring. To learn more about how we calculate percent positivity, read our blog post.

Trends by Age

This page shows the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 per day by different age groups. As described above, starting 9/27/2021 people will be counted for each new COVID-19 infection. Note that the y-axis scale for each graph is determined by the maximum average people who tested positive within each age category. Therefore, trends may look similar while comparing across age groups, but the magnitude of trends may be very different. Hover your mouse over each line to see the rate per 100,000 within that age group, which can be compared across age groups.

Trends by Race and Ethnicity

This page shows the daily rate of people diagnosed with COVID-19 by their race and ethnicity. Race and ethnicity data are either documented on the laboratory or health care record, or given during client interviews. Rate ratios (RR) are used to describe the difference in rates between two groups. We usually compare groups of interest to a reference group, which in this case is the group that has better outcomes due to structural racism. When the rate ratio is greater than 1, the rate in that group is higher than the rate among the reference population.

Hospitalizations & Deaths: Trends

Hospitalizations and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) inpatients on this page are from the database EMResource, which is a different data source from the hospitalizations on the People Hospitalized & Deceased page. This number may include patients who are not Dane County residents. This data system does not provide identifiable data, so we are unable to discern what proportion of patients are Dane County versus non-Dane County residents, the vaccination status of the people who are hospitalized, and other demographic information. Inpatient counts on this trends page represent the daily COVID-19 census in Dane County hospitals as of 5 pm.

People Hospitalized & Deceased

The “total people ever hospitalized” and accompanying hospitalization demographic data is for Dane County residents who were reported as being hospitalized for COVID to WEDSS. This is different from the hospitalization data reported on the landing page and page 7 of the dashboard, which is not restricted to Dane County residents and for which we do not have identifiable data.

The “total people who died” and accompanying death demographic data is for deaths among people with a confirmed case of COVID-19 who died due to COVID-19.

  • 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.
  • Deaths are confirmed via death certificate. A death does not appear on the dashboard until it is confirmed to be due to COVID-19 infection with a statistical death abstract; this can take days or even months.
  • Death data should be considered preliminary due to reporting delays and potential changes to death data, which are generally finalized several months after the end of the year.

COVID-19 Vaccination: Core Measures

This page shows the percent of Dane County residents who are partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated, and people age 65+ who are partially vaccinated. Partially vaccinated includes all people who have had at least one dose of vaccine (including people who are fully vaccinated). Fully vaccinated includes people who have completed the vaccine series (a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines). Data are from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.


Comparison to Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Data

The numbers presented on this local dashboard may not match the numbers presented for Dane County on the DHS COVID-19 data pages. This can be due to timing of when data are posted, or the way we assign dates to cases and tests. DHS often uses the earliest date of either symptom onset or test specimen collected date as the date a case is counted. We use the date of test result, as this is the date the person is known to have COVID-19.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do these numbers reflect everyone who has COVID-19 in Dane County?

No. Some people have no or very mild symptoms and don’t get tested. As a result, there are people who have COVID-19 who were not tested. See our testing page for the latest information on testing.

How do you calculate the number of people tested?

We receive testing data from public and private laboratories via a statewide reporting system called the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System. We only receive reports on lab tests done for Dane County residents. Numbers for recent dates are subject to change as tests continue to be processed.

The Total Tests count on the dashboard displays the total number of PCR tests conducted (minus the current date), including multiple tests conducted for the same person. The Total People Tested count displays the total number of unique individuals tested. When tests are processed, they are assigned an ID number and are matched to a person’s existing ID number if they have had a previous test. The Tests by Date chart shows the total number of tests each day (including multiple tests for the same person) based on the date of the test result from 3/7/20 forward, and does not show tests for the current date. There were 69 COVID-19 tests prior to 3/7/20.

What if somebody gets tested more than once? Are they being counted each time?

All positive tests for a person within a 90-day period are considered part of the same COVID infection. As of 9/27/21, a positive test result that is 90 days or more after the previous COVID infection is considered to be a new COVID infection. Therefore, a person may be counted more than once depending on how many COVID infections they have had.

How do you calculate percent positivity?

Percent positive is calculated from the number of new positive tests that represent a new COVID-19 infection divided by the number of total tests for each day. If someone has more than one positive test during a COVID-19 infection, only their first positive test is counted in the numerator, but all tests are counted in the denominator. If a person has more than one COVID-19 infection, then the first positive test for each new infection is used in the percent positive calculation. The denominator is total tests rather than total people tested because percent positivity is also an indicator of testing capacity. We want people, especially those in high risk groups, to be tested more than once, and to include all those tests in our calculations to gauge the spread of COVID and to know whether enough testing is occurring.

Are antibody tests included in the dashboard? 

Antibody tests are not included in either our case counts or test counts.

Are home tests included in the dashboard?

Tests conducted at home are not counted on the dashboard. Per the CDC case definition, positive home tests do not meet the Confirmed or Probable case definition because they are done without the oversight of a medical or laboratory professional. However, home tests are reported to the health department by clients, schools, and in some cases, the test manufacturer. Although not shown on the dashboard, people who test positive for COVID-19 via home tests are still contacted by public health staff and given support and guidance. People who test positive are also encouraged to have a PCR test to confirm their infection. If a PCR test is performed and is positive, then the person would be counted on the dashboard.

How do you calculate the case count?

All case counts reflect the number of people who tested positive prior to the current date. A person is counted each time they have a new COVID-19 infection (defined as a positive test 90 days or more after their previous COVID infection). Prior to September 27, 2021, people were only counted once in the case count because it was not known whether people could be infected with COVID more than once. The new and cumulative case count by date graph shows people who tested positive by the date the positive result was received, and does not show cases for the current date.

Why did the “Cases Ever Hospitalized” number increase but the number of Current COVID-19 Inpatients stayed the same?

The “Cases Ever Hospitalized” number is the cumulative number of Dane County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 that were reported as being hospitalized for COVID-19 to WEDSS. We learn about hospitalizations either at the time of interview by the case investigator, or when hospitals submit reports to WEDSS to report that someone is hospitalized. Case investigators review each hospitalization report to verify whether the hospitalization was due to COVID-19, and we only mark someone as hospitalized if COVID-19 was the reason for or a contributor to the hospitalization.

The “Current COVID-19 Inpatients” and “Current COVID-19 Patients in ICU” numbers are reported by hospitals in Dane County to a different system called EMResource; these numbers can include patients who are not Dane County residents. This data system does not provide identifiable data, so we are unable to discern what proportion of patients are Dane County versus non-Dane County residents.

If the cumulative number of hospitalizations increases but the current number of inpatients stays the same or decreases, there could have been more discharges than new patients admitted. Additionally, if the cumulative number of hospitalizations stays the same but the current number increases, a non-Dane County resident may have been hospitalized, or that patient may have not yet been reported to WEDSS.

Where can I find the date of death for COVID-19 deaths among Dane County residents?

This can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ website; scroll to “Number of reported COVID-19 deaths among confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 by date of death” and select “Dane County.” We report deaths by month on page 7 of our dashboard.

When is a death added to the dashboard?

When an individual who had COVID-19 dies, our practice is to wait for a death certificate to confirm whether COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate as an underlying or contributing cause of death. Often death certificates are available a few weeks after death. When an autopsy is performed, death certificates can take many months to be completed.

Are UW student positive cases included in the average number of cases? If yes, why?

Yes, UW students are included in our dashboard totals. We use the most updated population denominator for Dane County, which is 546,695 as of July 2019. Per census rules, students would be included in this population count, as “college students who live away from home should be counted at the on- or off- campus residence where they live and sleep most of the time.” We use 546,695 to calculate rates for Dane County, which includes students.

Keep in mind, we report differently than UW does on their dashboard. We assign cases based on date of test result, but they assign based on date they learn about the case. The positive tests from the university testing sites are included in our numbers, but the dates don’t always align perfectly. 

UW-Madison is not an island. An increase in cases on campus may impact the surrounding community, including populations at higher risk of exposure (e.g., essential workers) and populations more vulnerable to severe COVID illness (e.g., people of color, people aged 65 and older, and people with chronic conditions). As a reminder, Public Health Madison & Dane County does not have authority to inform plans for UW since they are a state government entity.