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Why are COVID rates higher on Sundays?

MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin saw another spike in the percent of positive COVID-19 tests on Sunday, which seems to be a trend on the weekends.

State health data shows 11.2 percent of all new tests in Wisconsin were positive Sunday. That’s up from about seven percent Saturday.

27 News asked experts why we see a greater percentage of positive cases on Sundays.

Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer for UW Health, said it could be because that’s the day free testing sites like the Alliant Energy Center are closed.

That means, anyone getting tested is likely showing up at a doctor’s office.

“So the people getting tested on Sundays are usually those who have some symptoms. And we’ve seen that pretty consistently enough for a while that Sunday that percent positive is higher, but total testing volume seems to be a little bit lower. And we think at least for Dane County, it has to do with Alliant not doing the testing on Sunday,” Pothof said.

“You take 100 of those people, you’re gonna have a lot higher rate of positive versus, say, 100 people who don’t have any symptoms but came in because their employer won’t let them go back to work until they have that negative test.”

Health care facilities typically will not test people who are not showing symptoms, instead directing them to places like Alliant during normal hours of operation.


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