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COVID-19 Wisconsin Updates #1-10

Update #10 (3-17-20 p.m.)

In a press conference this afternoon Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm announced that there is evidence of community spread in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties and therefore they are recommending more aggressive measures to halt the spread.

“Community spread” means that there are people who have tested positive, and it is unknown what their exposures have been. They have had no exposures to a known case and have not traveled to a location where there is community transmission.

The number of positive cases is up to 72 in Wisconsin, up from 47 in yesterday’s update. There have been 1038 negative results and 1 patient who tested positive in Dane County has recovered.

Governor Tony Evers has directed the Department of Health Services to issue an order for a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 10 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

DHS Emergency Order #5 does all the following;

  • A statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 10 people or more to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This order supersedes any previous Emergency Order that conflicts with this order. Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all public and private mass gatherings are prohibited in the State of Wisconsin.
  • All gatherings that bring together or are likely to bring together less than 10 people in a single room or confined or enclosed space at the same time must:
    • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between people, and
    • Follow all other public health recommendations issued by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control.
  • Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all bars and restaurants shall close in the State of Wisconsin, except as provided below for restaurants.
    • Restaurants may remain open for take-out or delivery service only. No seating may be provided, and food may not be consumed at the restaurant. Restaurants shall preserve social distancing of six feet between customers during pick up.
  • Effective at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all public and private schools and institutions of higher education in the State of Wisconsin shall close for instructional and extracurricular activities at 5:00 p.m. Such institutions shall remain closed for the duration of the public health emergency or until a subsequent order lifts this specific restriction.

This order may include, but is not limited to mass gatherings at: public or private schools, auditoriums, theaters, movie theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers, licensed pools, and places of worship and religious gatherings. (Exceptions can be found here)

In addition the Governor Evers said;

  • Schools are closed indefinitely, originally the school closure was to be lifted on April 6th
  • He is requesting the Legislature pass legislation to remove the one-week wait period on unemployment benefits.
  • The Governor also noted it may be necessary for the Legislature to come back for other COVID-19 related legislation.

Number of Positive Results by County

Wisconsin County Total Cases
Dane* 19
Fond du Lac 11
Kenosha* 4
Milwaukee* 24
Outagamie 1
Pierce 1
Racine 1
Sheboygan 3
Waukesha 4
Winnebago 3
Wood 1
Total 72

* An asterisk indicates community spread has been identified.

Update #9 (3-17-20 a.m.)

Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald to Postpone March Floor Session

The WI State Senate was supposed to come in on Tuesday, March 24th, but Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) announced this morning that they will postpone that session day, and call the State Senate back into an extraordinary session this Spring to finish its work. The State Assembly wrapped up their work in February and adjourned.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released the following statement regarding the Wisconsin Senate’s March schedule:

“After hearing feedback from a number of members, I have decided to postpone the Senate’s planned March floor period. This is out of an abundance of caution for Senators, their family members, and staff members who may be vulnerable to coronavirus.

“The Wisconsin State Senate will continue to function during this public health emergency. After discussions with Speaker Vos, the Legislature will call an extraordinary session this spring so the Senate can complete our business.

“This coronavirus is a public health issue that should be taken seriously. Wisconsinites must avoid panic and instead listen to the recommendations of health professionals at the federal, state, and local levels. Doctors tell us that social distancing and hand washing are effective tools to slow the spread of this virus. I encourage individuals to practice these healthy habits to keep the most vulnerable and high-risk populations among us safe.”

Update #8 (3-16-20 p.m.)

Governor Tony Evers, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, Dr. Ryan Westegard (Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases at the Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease) and Governor’s Legal Counsel Ryan Nilsestuen did a teleconference press conference this afternoon to announce a new order prohibiting mass gatherings of 50 or more. (link to DHS order)

This order may include, but is not limited to mass gatherings at: public or private schools, auditoriums, theaters, movie theaters, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers, licensed pools, places of worship and religious gatherings.

Exempted are the following;

  1. Airports;
  2. Public, private, and charter schools only for noninstructional purposes, such as medication pickup, childcare services, providing meals, and when operating as polling places;
  3. Childcare locations (including those that operate within a facility that is otherwise prohibited), residential care centers, and group homes;
  4. Hotels and motels as long as the restaurant and bar guidelines, listed below in section 15, are followed;
  5. Military and National Guard facilities;
  6. Law enforcement, jails, and correctional facilities, including any facility operated by the Depaiiment of Corrections, and responses to natural disasters;
  7. Food pantries and shelter facilities, including day centers, for individuals and families;
  8. Detoxification centers;
  9. Residential buildings;
  10. Shopping malls and other retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within arm’s length of one another for more than 10 minutes;
  11. Hospitals, medical facilities, and pharmacies;
  12. Long-term care and assisted living facilities, as long the facility follows all current Department of Health Services’ Recommendations for Prevention of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities.
  13. Libraries;
  14. Senior Centers only for the service of meals as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
    • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar, stools, and ordering counters;
    • Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
    • Prohibit consumers from self-dispensing all unpackaged foods.
  1. Restaurants and bars as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
    • Operate at 50 percent of seating capacity or 50 total people, whichever is less;
    • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters;
    • Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
    • Prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food and beverages.
  1. Retail food establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets) as long as the requirements listed below are followed:
    • If seating is offered, must operate at 50 percent of seating capacity or 50 total people, whichever is less;
    • Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between tables, booths, bar stools, and ordering counters;
    • Cease self-service operations of salad bars, beverage stations, and buffets; and
    • Prohibit customers from self-dispensing all unpackaged food.
  1. Office spaces and government service centers;
  2. Manufacturing, processing, distribution, and production facilities;
  3. Public transportation;
  4. Utility facilities;
  5. Job centers; and
  6. Facilities operated by the Wisconsin Legislature and Wisconsin Court System.

The number of positive cases is up to 47 in Wisconsin, up from 33 in yesterday’s update. There have been 504 negative results and 1 patient who tested positive in Dane County has recovered.

Below is the current county breakdown of positive tests;

Wisconsin County Total Cases
Dane 10
Fond du Lac 11
Milwaukee 13
Outagamie 1
Pierce 1
Racine 1
Sheboygan 3
Waukesha 3
Winnebago 3
Wood 1
Total 47

 

Update #7 (3-16-20 a.m.)

On Sunday afternoon, Public Health Madison & Dane County issued a county-wide directive to close schools in Dane county as of March 16th, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. The order also includes a county-wide directive to stop gatherings of 50 or more people. This order will continue until further notice. In the “definitions” section of the order, “Mass Gatherings” include the following;

    • any event or convening that brings together or is likely to bring together fifty (50) or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time, such as, by way of example and without limitation, public schools, private schools, charter schools, an auditorium, stadium, arena, conference room, meeting hall, theater, movie theater, exhibition center, museum, taverns, health/fitness and recreational centers, licensed pools, place of worship and religious gathering centers, and any other space where people are present and they are within arm’s length of one another for more than ten (10) minutes.
    • The order also includes a list of exceptions;https://publichealthmdc.com/documents/2020-03-15%20Order%20for%20Mass%20Gatherings%20of%2050%20or%20More.pdf

Other communities are restricting services, cancelling meetings and urging their communities to follow the CDC guidance on mass gatherings of 50 or more;

As of right now, Legislative Committee meetings (link) and other state government meetings have not been cancelled (link to open meetings site), but we expect updates to that list throughout the day today, and will update as we receive them.

Currently there have been 33 positive cases confirmed in Wisconsin out of 335 tests (313 negative). One patient in Dane County has recovered.

Below is the current county breakdown of positive tests;

Dane 6
Fond du Lac 11
Milwaukee 7
Pierce 1
Racine 1
Sheboygan 3
Waukesha 3
Winnebago 1

Update #6 (3-15-20)

  • On Friday March 13th, Governor Tony Evers directed DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to close all public schools beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday March 18th through at least April 6th. (Link)
  • Public Health Madison & Dane County issued a countywide directive to stop mass gatherings of 250 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, effective at 5:00 pm on Friday, March 13. This order will continue until further notice, or until it is rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing by the Public Health Officer. Wisconsin Statute 252 outlines a health officer’s authority to take “all measures necessary to prevent, suppress, and control communicable disease.” Violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a crime punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both. Effective 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14th, the order was updated to include places of worship and religious gathering centers of over 250 people.
  • There are now 27 positive cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in the state as of Saturday, this includes one patient who has recovered.
  • The confirmed cases in Wisconsin include;
    • Milwaukee county-6
    • Fond du Lac County-6
    • Dane County-6, one of which recovered
    • Sheboygan County-3
    • Waukesha County-3
    • Winnebago County-1
    • Racine County-1
    • Pierce County-1

Update #5 (3-13-20)

Today in a media briefing by the Department of Health Services, state health officials confirmed there are 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state. One of those patients has recovered.

11 new cases were identified:

  • 2 in Milwaukee County
  • 1 in Racine County
  • 3 in Sheboygan County
  • 4 in Fond du Lac County
  • 1 in Dane County

State Government action:

Public Service Commission tells WI utilities to suspend disconnections: On Friday, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to an occupied dwelling that has been disconnected. (Link)

School Districts that have closed:

  • Milwaukee Area: Shorewood School District, Whitefish Bay, Brown Deer, Cedarburg, Fox Point- Bayside, Germantown, Glendale-River Hills, Grafton, Maple Dale-Indian Hill, Nicolet, Northern Ozaukee, Port Washington, Mequon-Thiensville, Glendale and River Hills will be closing for 4 weeks (starting today through April 13th).
  • Green Bay Area: Shawano (closed for 1 month, 3/13-4/13)
  • Madison Area: Madison School Board meeting Friday afternoon and will have a 4:30 pm press conference to update on plans. Middleton School District is starting Spring Break two days early, cancelling school on March 19th and 20th.
  • Stevens Point/Wausau: Stevens Point School District is on Spring Break next week and will implement e-learning the for the week of March 23rd-29th.

County’s declaring emergencies:

Update #4 (3-12-20)

Today Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency in response to the cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. At the press conference held at the WI Emergency Management Center, the Governor was joined by Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services Andrea Palm, Emergency Management Director Darrell Williams and acting Deputy Adjutant General of the WI National Guard Joane Mathews. (Link to video)

Of note;

  • WI has had a total of 6 cases of COVID-19, 5 reported in the last week, 1 reported previously and has recovered.
  • WI has 37 residents returning to Wisconsin, with the aid of the WI National Guard, from the Princess Cruise Ship who may have been exposed. Those citizens will be monitored and self-quarantined for 14-days.
  • The Governor has signed an Executive Order, which declares a state health emergency and frees up agency resources to combat the spread of the virus and respond to potential outbreaks.
  • DHS has updated their guidance related to the virus, including the following;
    • Recommends cancelling events with 250 or more people
    • Not travelling out of state to areas with sustained community transmission (currently Washington, California and New York)
    • If you do travel to places with sustained community transmission, isolate in your home for 14 days.
    • Recommend keeping a two-week supply of food and medicine on hand, but not to hoard.
    • Maintain good hygiene and social distancing.

Other COVID-19 news:

  • WI state capitol tours have been cancelled
  • Attendance at WI High School Basketball tournaments being limited
  • President Donald Trump postpones trip to WI next week.

Update #3

This morning, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services held a Facebook Live Q&A for members of the public to ask questions. The video can be found here on DHS’s Facebook page;https://www.facebook.com/DHSWI

  • No new information as far as WI activities shared or new cases, but was meant as an opportunity to clear up misinformation and stress good hygiene practices and assure people that Wisconsin is prepared.
  • Yesterday DHS also held a media brief on the 3rd confirmed patient in Wisconsin; https://vimeo.com/396753038/20fc2331b6

Wisconsin Colleges/Universities;

  • UW–Madison will suspend Spring Semester face-to-face instruction effective Monday, March 23. See more information about campus operations: https://covid19.wisc.edu
  • UW-Milwaukee will extend Spring Break by one week and prepare to move the majority of classes online. go.uwm.edu/2Q1jx3N

Madison Mayor;

  • Madison Mayor @src2 says health officials are no longer focused just on individual cases, says families should prepare for possible school closings and child care center closings.

Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-08, WI-Green Bay)

  • Congressman Gallagher is holding a Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall with WI State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers to answer questions and provide information on recent Congressional actions in response to the virus. Register by visiting: gallagher.house.gov/live 

Update #2

  • Just released a third case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Wisconsin, and this is the 2nd person in Dane County (where Madison is located).
  • In addition, a school district in Osceola, WI, which is just north of Pierce County but along the MN-WI border,  NE of the Twin Cities, cancelled all activities after an individual that tested positive for COVID-19 attended an event at the High School this past weekend. It hasn’t been released whether or not that individual was Patient #3, or a new patient. This is the first school district to close in WI related to COVID-19
  • Of note Patient #1, was announced a month ago and was a Dane County resident who had previously traveled to China. After several weeks in isolation at home, the patient has recovered from their mild case of the virus.
  • Wisconsin DHS is having a media availability today, but has not released the time yet.

 

Third Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Wisconsin |Person was exposed while traveling

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Public Health Madison and Dane County announced today that a third person has tested positive for COVID-19. The person was exposed while traveling in the United States and is currently isolated at home. County health officials are working to determine the people who have been in contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms.

“We are working with our local health departments to make sure everyone who has been in contact with our confirmed cases is notified. We continue to urge state residents to take precautions to avoid illness,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers. “As guidance is evolving, it’s important for people to monitor the DHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for the latest information and guidance on COVID-19.”

People who have traveled in the past 14 days to places where there is community spread of COVID-19 (international and domestic locations), are asked to self-quarantine themselves and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms, like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are present, they should contact their local health department and health care provider for possible testing. People should call ahead before arriving at a health care facility for testing.

“As this is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Dane County, we have the experience in caring for patients in isolation and contacting those who may have been in contact with the patient. We will continue working with DHS and CDC, as well as our local health care providers and other partners, to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison and Dane County.

Public Health Madison and Dane County and the Department of Health Services responsibilities include:

  • Identifying and contacting anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. These people are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. People with symptoms are tested for COVID-19.
  • Performing follow-up testing for individuals who test positive to determine when a person can be released from isolation.
  • Providing guidance to clinicians regarding testing.
  • Preparing Wisconsin for community spread of COVID-19.

If COVID-19 begins to spread in Wisconsin communities, state and local public health officials would consider community interventions such as temporary closures of child care facilities and schools, workplace social distancing, measures such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking, and modifying, postponing or canceling mass gatherings. Decisions about the implementation of community measures would be made by state and local officials based on CDC guidance, as well as the scope of the outbreak.

People should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Staying home when sick.

Wisconsin health officials announce second confirmed case of coronavirus; Osceola School District closes

State health officials announced Monday that a second person in Wisconsin has contracted the new coronavirus that arose in China late last year.

The Pierce County resident was exposed while traveling within the U.S. and is currently isolated at home, according to a Monday evening release from the state Department of Health Services.

Also on Monday, a small school district in western Wisconsin announced it was closing Tuesday because someone sickened by the virus attended an event there over the weekend.

Osceola School District is located just north of Pierce County. It’s unclear whether the person who attended the event at Osceola High School on Saturday is the same person in Pierce County who has the coronavirus.

Osceola is the first school district in Wisconsin to close because of the coronavirus.

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2020/03/09/wisconsin-health-officials-announce-second-confirmed-case-coronavirus/5002255002/#//

 

Update #1:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Pierce County (on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border south east of the Twin Cities) Public Health Department announced late Monday that a second person has tested positive for COVID-19. The person was exposed while traveling within the U.S. and is currently isolated at home. County health officials are working to determine people who have been in contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms. Officials will hold a media briefing Tuesday to answer further questions.

Last Wednesday, March 4, 2020, Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers, and Bureau of Communicable Disease Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ryan Westergaard held a briefing on Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wisconsin that was attended by lawmakers, legislative staff and health care stakeholders. A video of the meeting is available here; https://wiseye.org/2020/03/04/wisconsin-dept-of-health-services-informational-briefing-on-covid-19/

Wisconsin has not concluded that there is a need to declare a public health emergency at this time. The last time that the state of Wisconsin declared a public health emergency was in response to the H1N1 influenza epidemic in 2009, according to Westergaard. More than 9,500 cases were reported in Wisconsin, with over 1,300 hospitalizations and 55 deaths.

– There is a press conference today that we will update you on; https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/030920.htm

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