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COVID-19 Wisconsin Update #19 (3-23-20 PM)

On Monday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:

  • The number of positive cases is up to 416 in Wisconsin, up  from 381 in Sunday’s update.
  • 7,050 negative test results (6,230 were reported on Sunday).
  • 5 patients have died in Wisconsin (it was 4 on Saturday)

The county by county break down is at the end of this update

Source: DHS COVID-19 Outbreak page


Governor Evers will direct DHS to issue a “Safer at Home” Order tomorrow

In a press conference this afternoon Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced that he will be directing Department of Health Services Secretary designee Andrea Plam tomorrow to order all nonessential businesses to close down in order to restrict nonessential travel and limit exposure to COVID-19 coronavirus. Details of the Order will be released on Tuesday and the Governor noted that there will be a buffer of time between when the order is announced and the order is effective, noting that a worker that shows up at a construction site will not be turned around and sent home.

Governor Evers was joined at the press conference by DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Wisconsin Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp and the Governor’s legal Ryan Nilsestuen.

Of note in the press conference;

  • Details of and duration of the Department of Health Service “Safer at Home” Order will be announced tomorrow.
  • Governor Evers in response to a reporter said they are looking at what other states are doing and what the federal government has identified as essential businesses and services and said Wisconsin’s list will not be identical, but will reflect “the Wisconsin vantage point.”
    • The Order will allow restaurants and bars to maintain the currently allowed pickup and delivery of food.
    • The Order will keep grocery stores open and the DHS Secretary-designee Palm suggests that everyone should not go shopping today and that Wisconsinites should shop once a week and maintain the recommended separation guidelines.
  • WI Adjutant General Knapp announced that the Wisconsin National Guard will have a “PPE buy-back program” up and running within the next 48 hours for masks, respirators, thermometers, surgical gowns, face shields, isolation gloves, etc.. from closed businesses and to take donations. He noted that this may expand to other key items, such as baby formula, etc… in the future.
  • The Governor said there are no changes to the April 7th Spring Election and it is continuing as scheduled, but continues to urge voters to vote by absentee ballot.


Legislative Leaders Respond to the Order announcement

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) released the following statementafter Governor Evers announced a new shelter-in-place order this morning.

“The governor’s announcement has created mass amounts of confusion. For days, Governor Evers took a measured approach and reassured business owners that a shelter-in-place order may not be necessary. Legislative leaders even complimented him for it. The governor’s sudden change of course and lack of specific guidance have increased the level of uncertainty and anxiety in our state. The people of Wisconsin deserve clear communications during a public health emergency.

“There also needs to be a better understanding as to why the decisions are being made, because of the impact on the economy, businesses and residents of the state.

“It appears at the end of the governor’s press conference, there are more questions than answers. We would ask the governor to answer the following questions for the people of Wisconsin:

    • What are the metrics that this decision is based on?
    • What is considered an essential and non-essential business?
    • How is that being determined?
    • What changes need to happen for the order to be lifted?

“The governor’s executive order came as a surprise to the legislature. It was a complete reversal from his repeated assurances. It should be noted that legislative leaders have asked on a daily basis whether or not this was the direction the governor was headed, and we were told it was not. “We all want what’s best for Wisconsin. We want people to stay safe and follow CDC guidelines. We would ask the governor to do a better job communicating to the people of Wisconsin.”

Representative David Bowen Tests Positive for COVID-19

State Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) in a press release announced that he tested positive for COVID-19.

[Excerpt from release]

Rep. Bowen is currently in quarantine at home, and while he is still fighting symptoms, he is in good spirits and recuperating. After learning of his diagnosis, Rep. Bowen released the following statement:

“I found out early last week from the Shorewood Health Department that I had come in contact with a fellow local elected official who had tested positive for COVID-19, and immediately went into quarantine. Later in the week, I began showing symptoms myself, and got tested for COVID-19. Unfortunately, that test came back positive this weekend. While it isn’t clear whether I was infected by this individual or someone else within our community, one thing is certain – it is imperative that this virus be taken seriously and that individuals minimize social interactions and stay home to prevent further spread of this virus and its immobilizing symptoms. Had I known of my status even earlier, I would have reduced my exposure to others who may potentially have gotten the virus from me. Even if you are young and typically healthy, it’s even more important that you heed the call to stay home, take care of your family, and not spread the virus to others who are vulnerable.”


Governor Evers, Insurance Commissioner Order Insurers to Assist Restaurants Offering Delivery During COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

At the direction of Gov. Tony Evers, Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable ordered insurers operating in Wisconsin to assist restaurants who have begun offering delivery service to customers during the COVID-19 public health crisis. This order is in support of the Evers administration’s work to support the nearly 13,000 restaurants and their workers across the state that have been ordered to close to customers except for delivery and pickup services. Insurers must cover delivery services for restaurants on personal auto insurance policies and must offer coverage for hired drivers and non-owned automobiles as a rider on a restaurant’s general liability insurance if it is requested – both at no extra cost to the policyholders.

The order will stay in effect until the public health emergency order is lifted, in whole or in part, to permit restaurants to resume normal operations. Coverage for policyholders will be effective on the date it is requested.

A copy of the bulletin is available here.

Number of Positive Results by County

  • Bayfield-1
  • Brown*– 3
  • Calumet-1
  • Chippewa-1
  • Columbia*-5
  • Dane*– 61
  • Douglas-2 (+1)
  • Dunn-1
  • Eau Claire-4
  • Fond du Lac- 16  1
  • Green-1
  • Jefferson-2
  • Kenosha*- 12 (+2)
  • La Crosse- 5
  • Marathon-1
  • Milwaukee*– 204 (+22) 3 (+1)
  • Outagamie-2
  • Ozaukee-14 (+1) 1
  • Pierce- 3 (+2)
  • Racine-5 (+1)
  • Rock-3
  • Sauk-3 (+1)
  • Sheboygan- 6
  • St. Croix-2
  • Walworth*-3
  • Washington- 15 (+1)
  • Waukesha*– 31 (+1)
  • Winnebago- 5
  • Wood- 1

Total:             416 (5)

  • * Bold and an asterisk indicates community spread has been identified (new this report is Walworth Co.)
  • Green is a newly added county positive test result for this update
  • Red= deaths

Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

Previous COVID-19 Updates are archived here

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