For the first time since March, state health officials reported no new COVID-19 deaths for a second straight day. But new cases continued to trend upward Monday.

Of 315 new positive tests, 118 involved 20-somethings, an age group that has been especially hard hit in Wisconsin recently.

It’s the most new cases the state has ever announced on a Monday, following a record Sunday with 457 cases.

About 5.3% new tests were positive for the coronavirus — down from Sunday’s 40-day high-water mark of 7.1%, but the fourth straight day over 5%. The positivity rate had previously been lower than 5% every day since May 30, and frequently was below 3%

But there is less dire news in Monday’s report, too: The state didn’t report any new deaths, staying level at 777, for a second straight day and the third time in four days. (There were 11 deaths reported Saturday.)

And despite the recent increase in cases, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has been steady at its lowest level since early April.

There were 236 inpatients in the state’s hospitals Monday morning, with 90 in intensive care, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Another 159 inpatients were awaiting test results.

The lack of deaths and flat hospitalizations might be partly explained by the concentration of new cases among people ages 20 to 29.

As of last Monday, that age group had made up 20% of total cases since the pandemic began.

In the week since, it has accounted for 39% of cases — nearly twice the rate.

But only 3% of 20-somethings with coronavirus have ever been hospitalized — compared to 13% across all age groups — and only eight people have died.

On June 24, Wisconsin’s coronavirus activity level received a weekly rating from the state health department as “high,” based on total newly reported cases and the recent trend in new cases.

County ratings as of June 24 were as follows:

• High: Brown, Clark, Dane, Eau Claire, Grant, Jefferson, Kenosha, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marathon, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Rock, Trempealeau, Walworth, Waukesha, Waupaca and Winnebago.

• Medium: Adams, Barron, Calumet, Chippewa, Columbia, Crawford, Dodge, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Langlade, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Ozaukee, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Vernon, Washington, Waushara and Wood.

The total number of Americans with COVID-19 may be over 20 million, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said June 25 that for every case that’s reported in the U.S., there are actually 10 other infections.

As of June 29, there were 2.5 million COVID-19 cases and 126,369deaths reported in the U.S.

Redfield in a June 25 press briefing said: “This pandemic is not over. The most powerful tool that we have, most powerful weapon, is social distancing. The virus doesn’t like — it’s not efficient at going, you know, six, seven, ten feet between individuals. So, if we can maintain the six-feet distancing, if we can wear face coverings when we’re in public, and particularly when we can’t maintain the distancing, but we recommend them in public, and maintain vigilance in our hand hygiene, so we don’t end up self-inoculating ourselves from certain surfaces that are contaminated, it’s really important, powerful tools. And as we go into the fall and the winter, these are going to be really, really important defense mechanisms for you, for all of us, because … a significant majority of the American public, probably greater than somewhere — greater than 90% of the American public hasn’t experienced this virus yet, and yet, remain susceptible.”

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