On Wednesday afternoon, DHS released updated numbers on test results in Wisconsin:
- The number of positive cases is up to 585 in Wisconsin, up from 457 in Tuesday’s update.
- 10,089 negative test results (8,237 were reported on Tuesday).
- 6 patients have died in Wisconsin (up 1 from Tuesday)
The county by county break down is at the end of this update
Source: DHS COVID-19 Outbreak page
Legislative Leaders Held a Media Availability
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) held a joint media availability to discuss Wisconsin’s public health emergency, and the Legislative perspective on the actions being taken both by the federal and the state government.
The video is available at; https://wiseye.org/player/?clientID=2789595964&eventID=2020031055
They took questions from the media, below are some notes;
- April 7th Spring Election:
- Speaker Vos said that he agrees with Governor Evers’ decision to keep the Election on April 7th.
- Sen. Fitzgerald said he is monitoring it closely, and recognizes the concerns that are being raised, but doesn’t see changing the date at this point, especially given over 100,000 absentee ballots that have been returned.
- Speaker Vos also said he does not support the “mail-in only” Election that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is requesting. Speaker Vos said clerks are being creative and finding ways to ensure the safety of voters and poll workers like only allowing a certain number of electors, give away pens so there is no sharing of pens, handing out free sanitizer, etc… Speaker Vos also pointed to the amount of time that it took the State of Washington to become a “mail-in only” state, the amount of time it took to put the program in place and to keep the confidence of the electorate. It is not something you can do 2 weeks before an election.
- Sen. Fitzgerald said there a certain group of citizens who have the expectation of being able to vote in person and won’t participate in the process in a different way that they are not familiar with. There is no time for communication to educate voters on this change before the election.
- When asked about repealing the witness requirement for absentee ballots for the public health emergency, the lawmakers said they were not interested in changing the statutes and are aware that people are being creative in getting witnesses to sign their ballots, including calling their lawmakers to be a witness.
- Legislative Special Session on COVID-related legislation:
- Speaker Vos said before anything happens in Wisconsin, they need to see what passes out of Washington, DC, and digest that before they do anything in Wisconsin. Speaker Vos said they are willing to remove barriers that are needed if Administration identifies those barriers.
- Senate Fitzgerald said they are looking at whether it is necessary for the whole Legislature to return or if the Joint Finance Committee can make the necessary changes or release the necessary funds.
- Ability for Legislature for Revoke the Public Health Emergency
- Speaker Vos said that the Governor has 60 days to use his authority under the Public Health Emergency. Beyond that 60 days they would need to see a really good reason to keep the declaration in place.
- When asked if they would use their Legislative authority via a Joint Resolution to rescind the Public Health Emergency the leaders said they have not discussed or looked at possibility of revoking 60-day emergency powers related to the coronavirus pandemic
- Uncertain economic environment:
- Sen. Fitzgerald said the businesses he is talking to are looking for anyway to keep their employees because just weeks ago it was difficult to hire.
- Virtual Session;
- Speaker Vos, said will conduct a session as safe as possible. Pointed out that grocers and hospitals are still able to do their jobs in person, and think that the Legislature can meet that way, with exceptions for those who have compromised immune systems or have to be quarantined or have been quarantined. On topics he would consider for a Special Session, one would be addressing licenses that are expiring during the emergency that need to be renewed for food processors and other industries, so production is not stopped during the emergency.
- Sen. Fitzgerald believes there may be legislation necessary to address items or funding that are part of the federal legislative package so they state can access funds or resources.
- Safer at Home order;
- Sen. Fitzgerald noted he was disappointed with the communication ahead of the order and the position that it put businesses in his district.
- Speaker Vos said that the Governor has more information than Legislature has, so he said they need to trust that Governor Evers is making decisions based on that information. He noted that most workers live pay check to paycheck and businesses are similarly low on operating reserves, so the longer this goes on, the less chance that those businesses will be reopening after this.
- Speaker Vos said it was good that Governor Evers gave an end date to his Safer at Home order, because it gives businesses a chance to plan.
- Federal Aid Package;
- Sen. Fitzgerald, a candidate for congress, said he would have absolutely voted for the federal aid package.
Legislature prepares to hold a virtual session
The Wisconsin State Journal had a story this morning on a dress rehearsal held in anticipation of Wisconsin’s first-ever virtual session. Wisconsin law allows the Legislature to meet virtually, which Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) notes in the story could, once a couple tweaks are made, could happen at anytime to address COVID-19 related legislation.
Number of Positive Results by County
- Brown*– 3
- Dane*– 88 (+16) 1
- Dodge -3
- Eau Claire-5 (+1)
- Fond du Lac*– 18 1
- Jefferson-5 (+1)
- Kenosha*– 14 (+1)
- La Crosse- 10 (+5)
- Milwaukee*– 290 (+71) 3
- Outagamie-4 (+2)
- Ozaukee-20 (+4) 1
- Pierce- 3
- Racine-7 (+2)
- Rock-4 (+1)
- Sauk-6 (+2)
- Sheboygan- 7 (+1)
- St. Croix-4
- Walworth*-5 (+1)
- Washington- 21 (+4)
- Waukesha*– 42 (+11)
- Winnebago- 5
- Wood- 1
Total: 585 (6)
- * An asterisk indicates community spread has been identified (new this report is Fond du Lac.)
- Green is a newly added county positive test result for this update
- Red= deaths
COVID-19 State of Wisconsin Resources
At the link below we have posted links to Executive Orders, Emergency Health Orders and other State of Wisconsin agency documents related to the COVID-19 Response. This is list is updated as information and guidance documents are released.
Last updated on Thursday, March 26th 6:00 AM
Documents currently at the link include;
- Executive Orders
- Emergency Health Orders
- Department of Health Services: ForwardHealth Alerts & Updates
- Office of the Commissioner of Insurance Bulletins related to COVID-19
- Department of Administration
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Workforce Development
- Department of Natural Resources
- Public Service Commission
- Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
- Department of Safety and Professional Services
Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates
Previous COVID-19 Updates are archived here