(The Center Square) – As Wisconsin tests more people for coronavirus, more people will test positive. But that might not necessarily stand in the way of reopening the state. 

Both Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Health Secretary Andrea Palm on Thursday said they will be looking at the percentage of potential new coronavirus cases. 

“The metrics we’re using to move our state forward is the number of tests,” Evers explained. “If we look at the number of positive tests divided by the number of tests given, that will help us understand if it’s really an up or down.”

The governor’s Badger Bounce Back plan says Wisconsin cannot reopen until there has been a 14-day drop in cases. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Service reported 207 new cases Thursday. That’s down a bit from the 221 new cases reported on Wednesday, but both are up compared to the daily reports last week. 

Many of the new cases are tied to meatpacking plants in the Green Bay area. 

DHS’s Palm said that may be because the state is rushing more tests there.

“We sent over 2,000 tests kits to be used to test workers, employees, and family members as they try and get a sense of the size of that outbreak,” Palm said. 

Palm also noted that, as Wisconsin ramps up testing, more people will test positive for the coronavirus. 

“We do expect to find more positive cases, just as we expect to find more negative results,” Palm explained. “The gating metrics around 14 days of symptoms and cases are thinking about this as a percent of the total number of tests. So that you can smooth out some of the bumps. But also to think about it in a trajectory kind of way.”

Gov. Evers’ Badge Bounce Back plan sets a goal of 85,000 tests a week. No one is saying how many new coronavirus cases they expect from testing levels that high. 

As a whole, Wisconsin has 5,052 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 257 deaths. Another 51,456 people have been tested and found not to be sick. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.