UPDATE: Gov. Evers holds COVID-19 media briefing

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sits for an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019.
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU)-- Gov. Evers and health officials held a press conference on COVID-19

WEDNESDAY, May 27 RECAP:

Gov. Evers says wearing a mask is the best for the common good.

Evers launches "Roots to Recovery" program targeted at local leaders who are addressing COVID relief efforts.

Evers noted Mental Health Awareness Month which is celebrated in May, and he said the pandemic is impacting the health of those around the world. He said parents of children need to know about the resources available to them. Children's Wisconsin and United Health Foundation aim to address children who need immediate help with any mental health crisis. This can include texting HOPELINE to 741741 for more help.

Designee Andrea Palm says testing is key to boxing in the virus. She announced the new public service campaign, saying "if you need a test, get a test".

Palm says even if your symptoms are mild or if only only have one symptom, you are encouraged to get a test.

"The reason we test is to find out vital information", said Palm.

WISCONSIN STATE NUMBERS
210,605 negative tests, 9,731 increase since Tuesday
16,462 confirmed cases, an increase of 599 cases since Tuesday
539 total deaths

Evers says they are concerned that there is not enough people wearing masks and not following physical distancing. He said they will be reinforcing how simple it is to wear a mask and distance yourself when you are in public.

Health officials say infection control and widespread testing is important in long term care facilities.

THURSDAY, MAY 21st RECAP:

53 labs with a daily capacity 14,140 tests
163,238 negative tests (8,938)
13,888 positive tests (472)
487 deaths

Every county in Wisconsin now has COVID-19. It is important that people continue to practice social distancing.

Department of Workforce Development working hard to get benefits out. Everybody who needs benefits will get them.

A list of assistance inatives including $75-million for business, $25-million for rental assitance. $50-million for farmers, $15-million for food stability and $100-million for services. They will need more federal aid for the state.

In recent weeks there has been hate towards the Asian-American community. People should know that nobody is at fault for this virus and the virus does not discriminate.

Questions:

How quickly will people be able to access the rental assistance aid?
-In the process of finalizing the procedure. The money is here and they hope to disperse by the end of the month or early next month.

When are they going to release the guidelines for re-opening schools?
-Have been meeting with leadership and will hopefully have options by the middle of June. Goal should be schools to be open in the fall. Want to give kids some normalcy.

Are you looking to get state funds for long-term care providers?
-We are looking into it, but also want to use as much federal aid that is available. State has been helping provide PPE and testing supplies.

Are antibody tests included in the total number of positive tests results?
-They are collecting data from antibody testing, but not including them with daily positive test results. They are reported to public health departments, but not as confirmed cases.

What has caused the spike in cases and is there an increase in hospitalizations in the Milwaukee area?
-Saw an increase in positive tests today, but also had the most tests done and had only a 5% positive rate. They are tracking hospitalizations to monitor capacity.

Are you telling county health organizations what to say?
-Public health works together at a state, county and local level and share resources. Coordination is key and that is likely why you hear similar phrasing.

Did the administration wait too long to increase the volume for unemployment benefit process?
-They continue to add people to help with the volume. The same system takes the applications and also processes them to disperse money. The majority of those who have applied have received benefits.

Are they looking to keep National Guard past the 89th day?
-Requesting as extension of their service time. They are vital for testing and staffing and critical help in fighting the disease.

Why was there state no funding for long-term care facilities in April what will it take to get it?
-Legislature did not include it in their April bill and wanted to see what federal aid would be available.The legislature must work together to pass a bill to get state funds.

Is the latest uptick in positive cases from the end of safer at home?
-Not likely as it takes a few weeks for numbers to react. It's also too early to see if the increase in numbers is an ongoing trend.

Has all the attention on fighting COVID-19 taken away from other duties of the DHS?
-There has been an increased attention on infection control. All employees continue essential work and provide support to other programs as well. They did have to re-deploy some staff to other duties such as contact tracing.

Did he read the Walker Op-ed and how much does the cares act help the state?
-Cares funding has been very helpful but they still need more federal assistance. The state is struggling financially. The federal government needs to step up and help those industries affected but also protect the workers as well.

What are they doing to get more nurses and medical professionals?
-Emergency order had a part about getting more, but they lost flexibility in hiring when the order was struck down by the Supreme Court. Now trying to get more through the rule-making procedures.

Were expired testing kits sent to nursing homes?
-No. The date on them is when they were manufactured, not an expiration date. No expired tests have been sent out.

MONDAY, MAY 18 RECAP:
Gov. Evers says it is still a good idea to only go to the grocery store once a week and use curbside pickup, it will help slow the virus.

He added that providing relief to small businesses is also a part of the relief and recovering from the virus. The $75 million will go into this assistance as part of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Evers also noted that as people are going back to work, childcare is essential, creating a "Childcare Counts" as an initiative.

Designee Andrea Palm says you are encouraged to skip dinning in and use the curbside options. You are encouraged to limit interactions with others.

WISCONSIN NUMBERS:
52 active labs
144,502 negative tests, increase of 4,828 over Sunday
12,697 positive cases, an increase of 144 since Sunday
459 total deaths in the state
299 public health investigations currently ongoing

THURSDAY, MAY 14TH RECAP:

Gov. Evers and health officials held a press conference on COVID-19 and the Supreme Courts ruling on "Safer At Home".

Governor Evers says the Supreme Court changed the rules on how the state will operate, but didn't change the affect of the virus. They are asking people to stay the course with Safer at Home and the guidelines it provided.

There are no cases at Veteran's homes in Wisconsin and they will continue to abide by the CDC's guidelines.

The plan continues to build healthcare infrastructure, testing and contact tracing to help combat any possible surge in cases.

Questions:

What is the reaction to Republican plan of leaving most decisions to counties?
-There is mass confusion without a statewide approach. Early in May, Speaker Vos was interested in a gradual opening as stated in a letter to the governor, but now they are okay with mass opening. They think it's a mistake, but must abide by what the court ruled.

How many counties have their own local orders?
- 5 or 6 counties and probably more will be added. Public heath officers have the authority to issue orders and they Supreme Court ruling does not affect them. They rely on local health officials on information in fighting the disease, but resources are limited, so a slower reopening was wanted to give them time to build defenses for the disease and possible outbreaks.

What can be done for businesses where employs are getting more compensation from unemployment benefits than actually pay from employers?
-Level on unemployment compensation is controlled by the federal government and they will not step in to override that.

Any timeline on when schools may reopen?
-Working with the state superintendent of schools in ongoing planning. Would like K-12 schools to be open in the fall, but have to prepared for other options.

What can they do to coordinate statewide efforts?
-The virus remains present so the work remains the same. Still building up testing, contact tracing and PPE. Must keep doing the work as the virus is just as infectious now as it was before the ruling.

Specifics on Gov. Evers discussions with Republican leadership?
-Talked to Vos and Fitzgerald and their staff. Didn't hear anything of a plan. They seemed unconcerned about multiple rules throughout the state. No interest in gradual reopening. The talked of the possibility of a administrative rule and what it might contain. They are happy with the WEDC guidelines.

What advise does he have for state employees and the status of state parks?
-No change in state parks opening.
-Most employees remain working at home, many working on tough budget cuts. The state capitol building will remain closed.

Do they trust that we can be safe without a statewide plan?
-It will be difficult. If they are not doing the basics to stay safe and social distance it will be hard to limit the spread of the disease. (Bars being packed as an example)

Any other CDC rules other than VA guidelines remain in affect?
-Challenge because there are now different rules county by county.

Why has testing capacity decrease?
-There are a couple of labs with supply issues. The testing capacity will fluctuate day-to-day due to resources.

Should Gov. Evers taken a different approach w "Safer at Home"?
-No regrets. In a short 4 to 5 week period they changed public health in Wisconsin in response to the disease. We might still be in the rules making process if they hadn't acted. They did the right thing, the court made the wrong decision.

What if any orders are still in place?
-Court decision only ruled on Safer at Home, didn't provide any guidance on what the DHS can do going forward and what their authority is.

Can sports teams start playing again?
-At this point organizations are still discussing if games will occur.

Can he comment on the "Scope Statement" for legislation?
-Long statement about overall rules. It will be published on Monday and then a 10 day waiting period before rules can be made.

Comments on Tom Tiffany calling for Andrea Palm to resign?
-Tiffany should relax. Tone down the rhetoric. You are better than this.

Does the Governor believe negotiations with Republicans are in good faith?
-Yes. They have made clear that they have no interest in gradual reopening.

Will they continue to build infrastructure for fighting the disease?
-Things haven't changed on that front. Their job is to protect the people of the state. Strategy is still the same.

Is the administration encouraging counties to have their own orders?
-They are providing guidance, but it is a local decision.

Why did they have no back-up plan?
-They had a plan, it's now on the Republicans to make a plan. They (Republicans) wanted to wait for the court ruling and the court didn't agree with the administrations order.

Are they concerned at the level of political rhetoric around the response to the disease?
-Yes. Does not like to respond "in kind" but sometimes has to. We tend to forget about the work being done to rid the state and country of the virus. Instead of celebrating, we get negative responses. They understand they lost the case and are moving forward and will continue to help the state.

Any difference in the effectiveness of voluntary and mandatory guidelines?
They will help people make decisions regardless of the situation. The threat of punishment doesn't really help.

What is a facility investigation?
Public health work triggered by positive cases. Testing of residents and staffs and other needs to prevent outbreaks.

How long should people stay the course, and what if there is another outbreak?
-It's always been voluntary. Proven to work. If there is a surge, they are doing the work to battle that.

Is there concern for contact tracing with new businesses opening?
-We are not ready for mass openings. People need to minimize risk to self and staying at home help. Need to build contact tracing and healthcare capacity.

How can they utilize testing more?
-Expanded Criteria for testing. Anybody with symptoms may get a test. Increased targeting for testing. They have a target of 12,000 tests a day.

Is there a fear of tourists from Illinois and surrounding states coming to Wisconsin and what was his reaction to Trump's tweet?
-We were following the Trump administrations guidelines.
-They are concerned about outside travel. People will come more now that many restrictions have been lifted.

What constitutes an emergency that the Governor can act on?
-Court decision doesn't give clarity or guidance on how state can respond going forward.

WEDC guidelines and will they issue more guidelines?
Will work with counties, but the main goal now is testing, equipment and tracing.

MONDAY, MAY 11 update:

To watch the livestream, click here.

-Gov. Evers announces the next dial of the Safer at Home order, allowing some retail stores to open with five people or less shopping at a time. This would include strip-malls or individual stores, not malls.

-Madison and Milwaukee Counties will be assisted by the National Guard for additional COVID testing.

-Evers suggested residents wear masks and face coverings while in public

-Designee Andrea Palm says over 3,000 people have applied to be contact tracers and officials are working through those applications now.

DAILY NUMBERS
51 active labs
108,033 negative tests, an increase of 2,870 since Sunday
10,418 confirmed positive cases, an increase of 199 since Sunday
409 deaths total

-Health officials say they are not able to give specific dates on when these dial turns will happen, but rather have to watch certain data and criteria.

-Evers said this opening does not yet include hair salons.

-Health officials and Evers both say the list of essential business list was far more expansive than other states.Large retailers, arts, entertainment, tourism, bars and restaurants are mainly the businesses left to open. Evers said the next turn of the dial could include those if it were to turn before the Safer at Home order were to expire.

- Health officials also said there are currently more tests available than there are people getting tested, so they are continuing to encourage people to get tested.

- Summer camp and children's summer activities will depend on data and officials will be looking at options in the near future.

-Evers was asked if the state is where he wanted it when he ordered the Safer at Home order. He said he is very please with what has happened and the progress made. He does think the state could have gotten to our current place quicker if there would have been greater access to testing and PPE equipment.

- Bars and restaurants will be looked at separately, as this will be a slow process, according to Evers.

FRIDAY, MAY 8TH UPDATE:

Wisconsin has gone from 0 to 14,000 tests and are still expanding. Everyone who needs a test should get tested.

Recovered patients should look into donating plasma as convalescent plasma is being used and has been shown potential in helping recovery.

Guidelines were released today for businesses to reopen safely. Should still make sure if employees are sick they should not come into work. Travel should be limited if possible and the use of telecommunication for at home work should continue.

Wisconsin COVID-19 numbers:
97,265 negative tests
9,590 confirmed cases (increase of 375)
384 deaths
235 facility investigations

They are looking to hire more contact investigators.
PPE use is being extended with decontamination methods.

There are 51 test sites in the state with a capacity around 14,000

Questions:
With the small spike in positive testing percentage, what is the cause?
-Variations will come day-to-day with increased testing. Looking long-term at the data.

Why did they ask those tested if they were at polls but not at rally?
-Contract tracing gets to all places they have been, be it polls or at a rally.

What can be said to those businesses who don't know when they will open?
-Everybody would like certainty, but they need to turn the dial, not flip the switch. Looking to find ways to open certain businesses sooner if possible.

If the Supreme Court does overturn the order, how confident are they in the business guidelines?
-The guidelines were created as a group and should be good no matter what the decision.

Will some places still be in safer at home until mid-July if certain counties extend on their own?
-The counties boards can decide what their emercency procedures will be. They are turning the dial at a statewide level, but doesn't mean that regional rules might not occur.

How confident is he that the Supreme Court will uphold his decision?
-If the decision is based on law and precedent, they should win. If it is bases on other reasons, we will respond appropriately. No idea when they will rule.

If the state hasn't reached guidelines for Badger Bounce Back by May 26th, will they extend the order?
-They want to make sure we are moving in the right direction before we reopen everything.

If there is a 14-day decline before May 26th, would they consider opening early?
-If it is working they will find ways to turn the dial and give more opportunities to reopen.

How are COVID-19 deaths counted, if it is another underlying medical condition and they also tested for it>
-Medical examiners make the decision (using post mortem guidelines) for either ruling it the primary or contributing factor.

What are the factors for donating convalescent plasma?
-Need to be completely recovered for 30 days. It is still considered experimental. Not a first line of defense in treating the disease, but shows promise.

What are the thoughts on "regional reopening"?
That is not a plan in itself, but there are reasons to do things statewide.
It's not easy to know where the disease is or will go to next. Rural areas don't have the healthcare support as urban areas do. Tourism and travel a big part of they small counties economies. Increased travel will likely lead to more cases of the disease. More testing will let them know where the disease is in these less populated areas.

What happens if a business doesn't follow the guidelines?
-It's important people feel safe and they trust that businesses will do the right thing.

Are they trying to get more testing to tribal, Latino and African American communities?
-They are trying to get tests to anybody who needs it, and making an effort for those areas that are traditionally with limited resources to healthcare.

Will the weather affect the virus?
They are optimistic it could help, but not sure it will decrease the risk or vulnerability. It is a new disease and the entire population is at risk of catching it.

How quickly could new rules be established if the Supreme Court overturns the order?
-Will take at least a day, a lot of factors related to what the decision would be.

Do they expect to end or extend the order on May 26th?
-The date was set to give them time to increase testing and PPE. No reason to think they will need to extend it after May 26th, but the virus dictates response.

What are the guidelines for casinos?
-Tribal nations make the decisions. They are concerned about safety as much as we all are.

If the Supreme Court overturns the order, what is the next step?
-It's tough to know exactly since they don't know what the ruling will be. Hard to negotiate with the Republicans since they do not have a set plan or legislation.

What businesses will be next to open?
-Looking at "main street businesses" since they have minimal contact with people compared to those that have large numbers. Businesses will need to adapt.

What are the details on contact tracing hiring?
-They have re-deployed some state employees. Have had over 2,000 applicants. Looking for more bilingual applicants. 1,000 contact investigators is the goal.

Will schools reopen when order ends?
-No, they are looking towards next school year.

Where in the state constitution does it say the governor/health department has the authority for the order?
-State law 252.02. Similar laws in different states.

What do people do if they are in a business where they physically touch people?
-They are turning the dial slowly so when those people return to work the risk is lower for the virus to spread.

MONDAY, MAY 4 UPDATE:
- Gov. Evers says N95 masks of first responders, nurses and other workers will be able to be sent to Madison for decontamination and will be sent back to the original owner.

-The state will be geared up to see 85,000 COVID tests each week so Wisconsin can be one of the top testing states.

- Evers urges people who may have symptoms to get tested at one of the various testing sites around the state.

-Evers also said the state was in a good place for number of testing but did urge the President to allow more swabs and tests to come into the state to ensure that everyone can get tested.

- Designee Andrea Palm said with the increase of testing, the state is expecting to see an increase of positive cases. These positive cases will allow for better contact tracing.

-Wisconsin case numbers
-51 labs testing in the state
- 80,467 negative test results, increase of 2,470
-8,236 confirmed cases, increase of 272 since Sunday
- 340 total deaths in the state

-The goal for right now is testing people who have any COVID-19 symptoms. The people who are asymptomatic who may have been exposed will be tested but not doing general population testing at this time.

-Health officials say if there was a ruling to reopen the state all at once, the court would have the details and they would have to see what is included. They say they are confident of the laws and their ability to make arguments on the facts and the law.

- DHS has been working to expand tests for communities that do not have their own clinical lab.

-Retail places have a reasonable strategy to use masks. They said to save medical grades for healthcare settings but simple face coverings in public could help stop community spread.

- When asked about antibody testing, they said we cannot use antibody testing to see if people can go back to work or if they are completely safe.

-93 outbreak investigations are at long term care facilities and most are five cases or fewer.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29th UPDATE:

-The State Parks will re-open on Friday. Want to keep parks open so social distancing should occur. People should stay close to home for recreation.

-The virus sets the timetable for re-opening the state and that can be frustration.The state needs a unified and bi-partasian approach to fighting the disease. They are trying to get the Supreme Courty to toss the Republican lawsuit challenging Safer at Home. Wisconsin is one of 42 states using laws similar to this. The state law gives the DHS right to act quickly in a time of need.

Wisconsin Numbers:
50 labs, 11,047 tests, 66,630 negative tests, 6,520 positive. 308 deaths.

They are introducing a new page tracing facility based outbreaks. A single positive case in congregate home starts an investigation. Wisconsin has 187 facility bases outbreaks, 93 in long term homes, 48 in work places, 25 in group homes 11 in healthcare facilities and 10 others places,

More than 140 million dollars in funding has been secured for students receiving free or reduced meals. Families already enrolled will get the money on their cards, those with reduced meals will need to enroll.

QUESTIONS:

-Is the May 12th special election still on as planned and how many cases from April 7th election?

The special election is on as planned and will make sure is can be safe as possible. 52 positive cases from April 7th poll workers and or those who went to the polls. Will monitor until May 7th.

-What are the reasons for cutting the state budget?

Finding ways to save money, cutting 5% will save 70-million dollars

-Would they like to see an expansion in drive thru mass testing?

They are working with health systems to expand community testing sites.

-More budget cuts for next year?

Working with Federal Government, but also being proactive now within the state.

-What do they think will happen with the Safer at Home case in front of the Supreme Court?

Good case for the order and are confident in what they are doing will stand.

-What is being done to improve unemployment claims at the Department of Workforce Development?

They continue to hire more employees and upgrade technology.

-What are their thoughts on more widespread testing for people going into nursing homes?

They are looking at this and transferring between hospitals and nursing homes is a concern.

-What are their thoughts on meat packing plants and staying open?

Doing what they can to get all employees tested and that it is culturally appropriately done.

-What is the status of the PPE for healthcare workers?

The shortage continues. Working on a number of ways to get supplies through FEMA and buy back programs. Will be distributing more equipment to counties.

-What is being done to catch the disease early in the 187 facilities affected?

One case in a facility is enough to start an investigation to stop spread ASAP.

The are concerned about the lack of processing plants for livestock (milk, meat ect.)

-How have the conflicts with the Republicans affected his governing?

They are not productive. They need to work together and he is willing to negotiate.

-Who enforces meat packing plants?

OSHA enforces, but they are and CDC provide guidance. Those businesses should be using distancing guidelines.

-What needs to be done to come to the table with the Republicans?:

They are not that far apart as both sides want everybody to be safe and re-open the state safely.

-What should be done if somebody tests positive in an essential business?

Isolation and not working. Anybody with symptoms should not be at the workplace.

-Why can't long-term facilities with outbreak be identified?

Privacy and the privacy of those who live there.

What is the projected revenue shortfall for next year?
2-billion dollars

-Should the state make wearing a mask in businesses a requirement?
Under discussion. Really important to keep social distancing.

-Will government employs be forced to furlough?
Not able to say right now

-Target percentage for positive tests for Badger Bounce back?
We are at 9 to 11% right now with a flat rate. Precise number depends on amount of testing. Would want a % better than it is now and sustaining that.

-What is the state of the testing kits and supplies?
Feel good about ability to get to 85,000 tests. They are competing with other states for supplies.

MONDAY, APRIL 27 UPDATE:
-Evers announced the expanded opportunities for certain nonessential businesses, allowing them to conduct business with curbside pick up or delivery.

Case numbers:
48 active labs running tests
61,311 negative tests, increase of 2,076 from Sunday
6,081 confirmed cases, an increase of 170 from Sunday
281 deaths total

-Secretary-designee Andrea Palm says these numbers are the reason why the state is working on the Badger Bounce Back program.

- The state is starting to test asymptomatic people who may been in outbreak areas.

- The state is working towards a goal of 1,000 contact tracers.

- Evers says they are keeping an eye on the data and they believe the activities included in the new allowance of businesses to work curbside and delivery will be done safety. He said there are enough control factors in place that it will all be done safely.

-Evers noted that good business practices are a must. He stressed that social distancing and good practice is still needed for places that have been open and ones that will be opening in the future.

- Health officials say we are still in need of testing to scale up and community spread to go down. While increase of testing could result in positive cases but the state is needing the percent and trend of positive cases and community spread to go down.

THURSDAY, APRIL 23RD UPDATE:

-Safer at home is working and a recent poll shows 61% of people believe the steps are the right move
-Encourage people to remain at home and travel for essential needs, but the new order also adds flexibility.

WISCONSIN COVID-19 NUMBERS
48 Labs in Wisconsin
51,456 tests
5,052 positive tests
257 deaths

Questions:

How will they help furloughed healthcare workers?:

Most hospitals were preparing for possible surge.
Hoping to get increase of hospitals for deferred care. Need more PPE for workers as well.

What will be the guidelines for schools reopening in the fall?:

-Provide guidance once more metrics have been met. Will have the proper measures in place to re-open when they can safely

If there is a continue increase in positive cases is there a second thought in re-opening state?:

-Number of positives is just one metric, there is other data they use as well. Number of cases could also be related to more testing as well.

What are Gov. Evers thoughts on rally happening without permit?:

-He understands the 1st amendment rights and hopes that they rally safely and recognize social distancing

For the counties that do not have cases, is it likely somebody who hasn't tested has the disease?:

-They are talking with local medical partners and pushing for more testing in places that haven't had the access. Pretty common that transmission is happening before being confirmed and is why state wide measures are needed.

What are they looking for in "downward trajectory" of cases?:
Specific total cases has many factors, including the number of tests available and being given. Looking at percentages going down,

What is the response to those angry and concerned calling his office:?
-People are struggling, best way to move forward is to attack the virus and turn the dial as much as they can to re-open. Essential businesses employ more people in Wisconsin than many other states. Need to make sure people are getting unemployment and other benefits. Trying to find ways to to re-open sectors before May 26th

Response to Robin Vos saying the there has been no discussion with legislature and Republicans about plans?
-Staff members talk almost everyday and have talked personally to Republicans. The Republicans taking the case to the Supreme Court is a power grab. Doesn't want to get into a back and forth as it doesn't help things.

What are they doing to help the outbreak in Brown County?:
-In very close contact with their health department. Sent testing supplies (2000) and also have them working with the CDC.

How many contact tracing employees are there?
-150 and more in the pipeline. Many helping with surge capacity. It will take a large workforce once the next phases and need to train people on specifics.

What are they doing to help those not receiving unemployment checks yet?
-Increasing capacity and hours to process claims and adding more people to help.

What has stopped elective or deferred treatments at hospitals?
-Did not tell hospitals to stop those procedures, was a local decision. Looking for them to ramp up again.

What are the thoughts on large scale antibody testing in Wisconsin?
-Science is catching up to the promise it can bring. Interested in using it as a survey, but the technology is not at the point it would be highly useful.

Will the Madison police be enforcing social distancing at rally?
-Won't actively be checking, it is up to the individuals, but hoping they will be safe.

When do they hope to reach the testing threshhold?
12,000 tests a day for total of 85,000 a week...currently at a little shy of 11,000

Do more tests equal more positive results?:
Yes, but that is just part of what is used to see where the disease outbreak is trending.

Would a spike for one day reset the clock for re-opening the state?
-Would like to see 14 consecutive days of a decrease, but one anomaly they could re-examine.

Will you feel comfortable opening up schools without a vaccine in the fall?
-If they do everything right the virus will be contained enough to re-open. If they rush into things, they could be in the same situation in the fall.

What is the stance on parades?
Not going to tell people not to do it, but make sure social distancing is kept.

Should people who are showing symptoms get tested now?
Yes, they have the capacity to do more testing and are trying to get that message out to healthcare providers. For the next couple phases and need to test more widespread and it will have an expanded roll.

Is the test tracking the amount of tests processed and will they be showing the progress?
-They will be putting up a daily tracker of testing capacity and processing.

What relief will they have for farmers?:
-Will present a proposal to Republicans and hope to come to an agreement. The Federal Government is stepping up as well and excess supply is being used for food banks.

How do they compute the daily number of tests?
-In measures labs that are online, daily capacity and future shortages of supplies as well. The number is what is available on that day.

How much information can be given out about positive cases?:
Depends on the size of the community and could the person be identified using the data, so a smaller town, less date, bigger area, more can be given.

MONDAY APRIL 20 UPDATE:
Gov. Evers says the state is announcing the Badger Bounce Back program so Wisconsin can "bounce back" after the closure. Evers says to move on past "Safer at Home" the state needs to see a 14 day decline on COVID-19 symptoms, a 14 day decline on positive tests, increase testing and lastly make sure hospitals can treat all patients.

Secretary-designee Andrea Palm with DHS says reopening will happen in phases.

PHASE ONE: restaurants to open while enforcing distancing, allowing people to gather in groups of up 10 and returning children to childcare.

PHASE TWO: allowing gatherings of up to 50 people and opening bars with physical distancing.

Evers says there is no timeline on when the state will reach these phases.

CASE NUMBERS:
36 active labs
46,603 negative tests, an increase of 1,280 from Sunday
No new counties reporting cases for the first time
4,499 confirmed cases, an increase of 153 cases
1,211 COVID related hospitalizations, an increase of 21
27% of people who have tested positive have been hospitalized
230 deaths, an increase of 10
Clark County reporting first death


MADISON, Wis. (WEAU)--A recap from Thursday's press conference is available below.

Gov. Evers on extension of "Safer at Home" order:

-The order is working, with 300 to 1,400 lives being saved. The curve has been flattening.
-End of the day keeping people safe is the main concern.
- K-12 schools are closed for the remainder of the school year.
- Extension will lessen some restrictions on businesses.
-Try to keep travel for "essential" reasons.
-Can't think of this situation as a light switch that can be turned off and on. Must think of it as a dial that can be turned in a gradual process.
-Developing a plan with other Midwest governors to safely open up the states and economies.
-To re-open completely, will need massive expansion of testing capacity, grow the the healthcare workforce and increase equipment and PPE.
-Will need to increase contact tracing as well.
-In the last month the lab capacity has increased testing from 500 to over 7,000 tests a day.
-Must continue contact tracing to follow the path of the disease.
-There is no medicine or vaccine yet for COVID-19.
-State Numbers:
29 active labs
40,974 negative tests (increase of 1,648 from yesterday)
3,875 confirmed cases (increase of 154)
1,121 hospitalizations
197 deaths.

- If you open the state too soon, 2nd wave could overwhelm hospitals.

-A path has been laid out to open the economy back up.

-Currently 50,0000 small retailers, 40,000 small healthcare, 23,000 arts and entertainment and 17,000 food and lodging businesses are affected.

-Small Business Administration has 32,000 loans approved for 7.2 Billion dollars, payment in the next 10 days.

Questions:
What is the minimum instructions for schools and students?:
Will work with the schools and have a better feel for this in the coming weeks.

What is the legality of extending the order?:
Falls under the Department of Health Services authority. No dependent on Gov. Evers'ndeclaration of a health emergency earlier in March.

What is the status of the May 12th special election in the 7th congressional district:?
Keeping an eye on the situation and listening to the clerks. This election different than the April election, with smaller turnout, lower rate of COVID-19, more rural areas and more time to prepare in the district.

What does the Gov. say to those who are pushing back on the extension of the order?:
It gives plan for businesses to re-open. Safety is his top priority.
If people are going to "rally", they have their 1st amendment right, hopes the practice social distancing.
In small areas that aren't seeing cases, it is still likely somebody may have the disease but hasn't been tested. Smaller areas have the fewest resources to fight the disease. Need the approach to fighting it to be statewide.

Has people travelling to second homes been an issue?:
Have heard from areas of people travelling. They could bring disease to that area that may not have the resources to fight an outbreak.

Will healthcare workers be cared for after this is done? Some may have lingering problems such as PTSD:
Last legislation had some compensation budgeted. Must be ready to address issues for years to come.

When does the extension of the order and it's new regulations go into effect?
April 24th. The order put out early to give people time to plan.

Why is testing not at capacity at this moment?:
Need to express that healthcare workers can expand criteria for those who can be tested.
Will see a switch from those with upper respiratory illnesses possibly having the flu to more likely a chance of them having COVID-19 as spring continues.

What needs to happen for schools to re-open in the fall?:
Most make sure the control of the disease is safe enough too return with testing ect.

What made for the change to allow golf courses to re-open?:
A good example of finding a reasonable solution in the current situation and that the order can be changed during the time it is in affect.

How close is Wisconsin to the "peak"?:
The cases are near a flat line right now, won't know until the number of cases starts to drop.

How is the state addressing childcare for essential workers?:
Making sure they have childcare, and looking at federal and state money to support it.

What are they doing to help speed up unemployment benefits?:
We are working as hard as we can with the staff they have. Eliminating the week waiting period for filing should help.

Will group events (concerts ect.) be possible this summer?:
Right now it doesn't seem too likely, but the data could change.