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COVID-19 Wisconsin Update #70 (5-18-20 PM)

Updated numbers released on Monday:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin Hospital Association released updated numbers on Monday:

  • 379 Current Hospital Admissions (127 patients in ICU)
    • The total number of hospital admissions increased by 15 (+15) on Monday (+15 in SE WI and +2 in Fox Valley, -3 in NE WI and -1 in Western WI).
    • The total number of ICU patients decreased by 4 (-4) on Monday (-2 in NE WI, -1 in Fox Valley and -1 SE WI).
  • Cumulatively there have been 12,687 positive tests and 144,502 negative tests in Wisconsin:
    • There were 144 positive test results reported on Monday on 4,972 tests (2.9% positive rate).
  • Deaths from COVID-19 now total 459 in Wisconsin:
    • There were 6 deaths reported on Monday
  • 7,012 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are listed as having recovered (55%), 5,215 cases are still considered active (41%) and 459 patients have died (4%). (last updated by DHS on 5/18)





Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) COVID-19 Situational Awareness Update site
DHS COVID-19: County Data;

Badger Bounce Back Gating Criteria

On Monday, two of Governor Tony Evers’ Badger Bounce Back gating criteria turned from red to green;

  • Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) reported within a 14-day period.
  • Downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases reported within a 14-day period.

One indicator that was red remained red;

  • Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.

And one indicator that was previously green turned red;

  • Downward trend of COVID-19 cases among health care workers calculated weekly.

The two “red” indicators are displaying a downward trend but DHS analysis suggests it is not statistically significant at this time.



Link to source.

Monday Media Briefing

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary-designee Missy Hughes, DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard, and Ryan Nilsestuen, Chief Legal Counsel held a briefing for the media today.

Governor Evers noted in his opening remarks that he hoped everyone had a safe weekend and were continuing to stay safer at home. He stressed that even though things are opening up sooner than they planned, it is important to remain vigilant and use commonsense and judgement to keep yourself and your family safe. He said it is still a good idea to only go to the grocery store once a week or to receive your groceries curbside or via home delivery.  If you choose to gather with family and friends, keep the groups small and stay six feet apart.

Governor Evers shared details of his “We’re All In” $75 million grant to small businesses (see separate section below). These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June. Grant recipients will become We’re All In businesses by committing to safety protocols and using them in their shops, cafes and places of work to protect their customers, employees, and communities.

The Governor also shared an update on the Department of Children and Families (DCF) receiving approval from the Joint Committee on Finance to begin a $51 million payment program to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the state’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) monies.

The Governor concluded his opening remarks by encouraging everyone to continue staying at home and to maintain social distancing practices and to wear a mask in public.

Secretary Palm in her opening remarks shared with the media and those watching what they are continuing to share as the best public health guidance from their experts;

  • You are recommended to still stay at home
  • Should still visit with friends and family, but do so virtually
  • Should still limit any unnecessary travel
  • Should still get takeout and not dine in at restaurants
  • And you should still limit your interactions with people.

Media questions of note:

  • When asked if they provided any guidance to local health departments, the Governor’s legal counsel shared that they distributed to local health departments a template of orders and guidance they can utilize. He said they have also been in constant communication with them, holding regular communication calls with them and the WI Counties Association and League of Wisconsin Municipalities.
  • When asked about the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, the Governor said he hopes a convention will be held, but concerned about the stress on the public health system in the Milwaukee area. He noted that he is not involved in the decision. Given the criteria that would needed to be met ensure that the convention would not be a stress on the Milwaukee area, he said it will likely have to be a virtual convention, but would like to see the data first before that decision is made.
  • Regarding contact tracing DHS has made 100 employment offers in their first round of 400+ interviews. 26 of those new employees were onboarded today and began training. Sec. Palm said they will continue the process as needed.
  • When asked if Multi Symptom Inflammatory syndrome has been detected in kids in Wisconsin, Dr. Westegaard said they have been tracking but no cases identified in Wisconsin yet.
  • When asked about the withdrawal of the DHS Scope Statement the Governor said there was no purpose in pursuing if it wasn’t going to go anywhere, given the objection of some Republican lawmakers. He said he will still meet with Republican leaders this week but the focus will likely be on the WEDC guidance.  When asked further about the ability for DHS to respond to a potential surge, the Governor’s legal counsel suggested the Supreme Court created a lack of clarity that can only me remedied by legislative action; on how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the authority of DHS.
  • When asked about Memorial Day travel the Governor said he hopes people don’t travel in excess and remain safer at home. If you are in public it is important to social distance, wear a mask, be aware of your surroundings and look out for yourself. Use commonsense.
  • When asked about K12 schools and the UW in the Fall, the Governor reiterated his points from the weekend that opening the schools in the Fall is the goal, but the data will drive this decision, but it will likely not be normal semester in the Fall.


The media briefing is available for viewing here.

DHS Pulls Back Scope Statement on reinstating Safer-At-Home provisions

Today the legal counsel for the Department of Health Services, Sandra M. Rowe, sent a letter to Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton), Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Attorney Scott Groscz at Legislative Council Department of Health Services notifying them that DHS is withdrawing SS 040-20, which is the statement of scope for an emergency rule for ch. DHS 145, relating to establishing protections to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19.

Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR), released a statement on Friday requesting the Governor do this, “I call on Governor Evers to withdraw the Scope Statement and end this needless confrontation before it escalates and leads to greater public discontent with the public health officials in this state.”

Upon DHS withdrawing the scope statement, Sen. Nass released the following statement;

“Governor Evers’ Administration is formally withdrawing the scope statement necessary to draft an emergency rule reinstating elements of the Safer At Home Order that was struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

This is an important development for the citizens of Wisconsin desiring a path forward that recognizes both a need to utilize lawful approaches in protecting the public health and rebuilding our seriously damaged economy.

I have great faith in the people of Wisconsin making the decisions necessary to fight and defeat Covid-19 without excessive government coercion.”



Gov. Evers Announces $75 Million We’re All In Grant Program and Initiative to Spur Wisconsin’s Economic Recovery, Promote Safe Business Practices

Gov. Tony Evers today announced $75 million in assistance for small businesses as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s We’re All In initiative, a comprehensive effort to celebrate and help Wisconsin’s small businesses get back on their feet and support best practices to keep businesses, consumers, employees and communities safe.

Funded largely by federal dollars received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this initiative will provide direct assistance to small businesses most impacted by the duration and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. These $2,500 cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory. Businesses will be able to apply for grant assistance in early June.

The We’re All In initiative will include:

  1. Grants in the amount of $2,500 to small businesses with 20 or fewer FTEs impacted by COVID-19 that have not already received WEDC COVID-19 assistance. Up to thirty thousand businesses may receive grants. More details about the program will be available later this month with businesses able to apply for grant assistance in June.
  2. A series of guides for businesses looking to implement best practices to keep employees, customers, and communities safe throughout the COVID-19 crisis. These guides are an essential part of the We’re All In program and were developed in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Department of Tourism, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Department of Safety and Professional Services, as well as industry leaders and public health experts throughout the state. They are found on WEDC’s website at
  3. Ethnic Minority Emergency Grants, which provide $2 million in grants for ethnically diverse Wisconsin micro-businesses who suffered losses due to the pandemic. The grants are aimed at sole proprietorships or businesses with five or fewer employees that have not received assistance under either SB 20/20 program or SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. One thousand grants of $2,000 each will be administered in partnership with Wisconsin’s 19 ethnic and minority chambers of commerce. More details are available at
  4. An integrated public information campaign promoting We’re All In businesses and social practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and celebrate Wisconsin’s diverse and strong economy.

“Wisconsinites have done an incredible job of banding together throughout this crisis and it’s more important than ever for us to continue respecting each other, supporting each other, holding each other accountable and protecting those who are vulnerable,” Gov. Evers said. “We are still encouraging people to stay home as much as possible, practice physical distancing and good hygiene, and take protective measures like wearing a mask in public, but as more businesses continue to reopen around the state, we need to go all in on doing this together.”

“With its comprehensive approach that looks at businesses’ immediate and long-term needs, We’re All In will provide both the ‘starter fluid’ to restart our state’s economic engine and a road map to recovery,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

Link to press release.

Applications for Child Care Payment Programs Open Today

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was approved to begin a $51 million payment program to support Wisconsin’s early care and education community. The funding comes as part of the state’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) monies.

“The fact that we are able to provide critical funding for child care providers across Wisconsin is a testament to the positive impact we can have when we work together,” said DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. “Throughout the process of creating this payment program, we made a concerted effort to incorporate input and advice from early care and education providers and stakeholders, legislative leaders of both parties, and members of the Joint Finance Committee. What we heard along the way was nearly universal desire to help early care educators, and a clear understanding of the critical role child care availability, affordability, and quality plays in a healthy economy.”

The Child Care Counts: COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program is broken into three smaller programs targeted at the most common circumstances early care and education providers are facing in the wake of the public health emergency

  1. Funding to Care for Essential Workforce Families
  2. Incentive Pay
  3. Support for Temporarily Closed Child Care Programs

Link to release.

State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance released the following statement on the JFC Approves Plan to Support Childcare Providers around the State

“Like so many industries across Wisconsin, childcare centers are feeling the brunt of COVID-19”, said Rep. Nygren. “As more families work from home, the demand for child care has dramatically dropped. As a result, child care providers around the state are closing their doors, with the hope that someday they will reopen. Other providers face increased costs as they safely care for essential workers’ children.”

Link to release.

Updated Charts

Daily Numbers:










Cumulative Numbers:



Previous Wisconsin COVID-19 Updates

Previous COVID-19 Updates are archived here

Here is a comprehensive list of State of Wisconsin resources related to the public health emergency (LINK)



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