Governor Evers says he plans to extend the mask mandate once the current one expires

The state is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court that could either strike down or uphold Wisconsin’s mask mandate
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, D, toured a vaccination facility in Manitowoc.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, D, toured a vaccination facility in Manitowoc.(WBAY)
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 5:41 PM CST
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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - Governor Tony Evers was in Manitowoc Friday morning highlighting the county’s success in getting people vaccinated.

“Well oiled machine is the first thing that comes to my mind,” Evers said. “Everyone is ready.”

He was also joined by Interim Secretary of the Department of Health Services Karen Timberlake. According to DHS, Wisconsin ranks third in the nation for the number of doses administered and first in the Upper Midwest for the number of vaccine doses administered per capita.

As some states rollback their mask mandates, Governor Evers defended his emergency orders as tools that rely on science. The state supreme court is considering whether he has the authority to continue issuing emergency orders.

“I also am a realist...the supreme court is thinking about what goes on in this world and of course they will have the last say. But at the end of the day, it is important that people wear a mask,” the governor said.

Bonny Leith has been following closely all the information coming from the Evers Administration and believes the state needs to do more to open up nursing homes.

“I’d like to see the nursing homes open up to what they have currently available for compassionate visits,” Leith said. “In compassionate visits, you’re not scheduled.”

Leith said her father lives at an Appleton nursing home suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s disease. She’s only allowed an hour visit despite everyone at his facility having been vaccinated.

“Everyone in the building is in competition to visit their loved ones because we need to go online, sign up for certain time slots, and hope that you can get it,” Leith said.

DHS Interim Secretary Timberlake said in communities where Covid-19 cases are still high visitations should be limited and rely on guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Yet, some facilities where people are vaccinated have begun to loosen restrictions.

“Just since we began giving vaccines in the middle of December, cases have come down 97 percent in our long-term care facilities, which is just tremendous progress,” Timberlake said.

Next week Wisconsin will start receiving 130,000 first doses a week of vaccines, which is nearly double what the federal government was shipping just a few weeks ago, according to DHS.

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