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UPDATE: Gov. Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services hold COVID-19 briefing

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Photo courtesy Wisconsin.gov (2020)
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Photo courtesy Wisconsin.gov (2020)(WSAW)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 10:47 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU) - Gov. Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services held a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday. A recap is available below:

In the last month more that 13,000 cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, it took 5 months to reach 15,000 before that. The state has sacrificed too much to give up the fight against the disease, including 796 deaths. No party or bar is worth it.

The Supreme Court ruling has changed how they can react to the disease in reference to a new Safer at Home order or mandating masks.

They need young people to step up and help fight the disease. One positive case can lead to dozens of cases. Stay home as much as you can and take precautions.

Since Memorial Day, there have been 16,972 cases. People in their 20′s make up 24% of the new cases. Young adults are at risk to spread the disease. 20% of the cases have reported attending a mass gathering.

Guidelines and social distancing can’t eliminate all risk.

QUESTIONS:

Would they enact a statewide mask mandate?

-Looking into it, but the Supreme Court ruling made it complex to enact such rules. Masking is critical to slowing the spread of the disease.

DeVos wants in-person schools fully operational in the fall. Were you on the conference call with here and what is your assessment?

-The governor was on the call and spoke to the group. They talked about what guidance Wisconsin is providing to schools. Local school districts will make the decision. In person is preferable, but have to have all options on the table.

Did they extend the application deadline for funding for healthcare providers?

-State and Federal application deadlines extended. This will maximize for them to show loss and expenses for the applications.

Should international students only be allowed at colleges if classes are in person?

-Get to the idea that face-to-face is better, but they might not be able to do it. It would be a huge mistake.

How long should it take to get test results and how do they explain the large cases rate but lower death rate?

Expect results in at least 3 to 5 days, but normally around 2 days. Want the turnaround time to be as short as possible. Reach out if they don’t receive results. Very pleased with the three days they had without a death. The death rate is lower as younger individuals catch the disease, but asymptomatic people can spread the disease more, since they may not know they have it.

Do they expect hospitalizations and deaths to rise?

-It is a dangerous situation when the disease is growing in asymptomatic individuals. Don’t want the disease to be widespread. The danger is that it will reach older or more vulnerable people.

Information that they can say about business outbreaks?

-Discussing how they can provide information. Working with open records requests.

Do they see the recovery rate staying around 80% with all the active cases?

-The recovery rate is driven by time, not physical follow-ups. Expect the large majority to fully recover.

If the governor had the power for another lock down, would he enact it?

-Probably wouldn’t reinstate safer at home, but masks would help.

Where would the state be if safer at home didn’t get struck down?

-It saved lives and would have saved more and prevented people from having positive tests for COVID-19.

How many contact investigators do they have and how do they gauge when local officials need help?

-400 for the state and 40 more starting this week. As they see a surge, they help local public health..

Would they consider a separate emergency order enacted until the challenge from the Supreme Court?

-Looking at all options. Had a business leader call him to mandate masks, which would be challenged and struck down, but the business owner said “Do it anyways”.

Any impact from county fairs?

- That would be part of contact tracing for mass gatherings. Cautioning against risking those types of interactions. Their general guidance is to use social distancing and masks to limit the risk.

How is Wisconsin doing comparing to hot spots such as Arizona?

-The state reacted quickly to the initial surge and should be doing that again. Their trends are in the same direction as those other states, but not as large in magnitude when it comes to numbers. Still trending in the wrong direction and seeing the same risk factors for disease spread.

What are the other options they are exploring?

Supporting local health departments as the statewide plans may get struck down by Supreme Court. Saddened to hear local health officials being harassed. This is not a political issue and the local officials are doing the best they can.

Will they be providing PPE to childcare providers?

-Looking into that and some of the CARES funding went to that as well.

Are people not getting tested as much and what can they do to decrease the polarization of the disease?

-People need to realize the virus is the “bad guy” that creates anxiety and emotions. Contact tracing is important and people should respond to them. There are scams out there, but contact tracers won’t ask for social security and bank numbers.

How is it decided who gets PPE for schools and businesses?

-Being done through the Department of Public Instruction for schools. Partners in emergency management for businesses.

Do they want federal aid for revenue shortage?

-Yes they support direct aid.

What is the reaction to the protesters at the governor’s mansion?

-Had little or no problems with them. Concerned about the same things they are.

If schools open and outbreaks are related to the schools, would they close them again?

Will access how the schools are reacting. Likely see individual schools or classrooms isolated.

Is the governor pledging he won’t close schools again in the fall?

Students can learn both online and in person. If they are in a good position, it would be the schools that make the decision. We need to continue to be careful to slow the spread of the disease.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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