UPDATE: Gov. Evers orders closure of all salons, tattoo parlors and other establishments
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has ordered the closure of all nail and hair salons, barbers, day spas, tattoo parlors, body art establishments and tanning facilities to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Evers ordered them closed as of 5 p.m. Friday.
Evers has already ordered all bars and restaurants to close, except for delivery or carry out options. He's also ordered there to be no gatherings of more than 10 people at a time. Grocery stores can remain open.
Evers and state health officials say they severe limitations are needed so the state's hospitals and health care system don't become overwhelmed trying to treat those who are sick. Health officials had no estimate on when hospital beds and medical supplies will no longer be able to meet demand.
The total number of confirmed cases was at 206 with three deaths as of Friday. The state's first case was recorded on Feb. 5.
Gov. Tony Evers cautioned Wisconsin that more people were going to die from the coronavirus pandemic as the state registered its first three deaths and the number of confirmed cases grew to 206.
Evers and state health leaders also said Friday that the state continues to face a shortage of tests and equipment for health care workers treating the sick.
"Things will get worse before they get better," Evers said. "The fight against COVID-19 will not be easy."
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm also cautioned that the worst was yet to come.
"Sadly these deaths will not be our only deaths, we will see more," she said.
There are 2,500 ICU hospital beds in Wisconsin and 620 ventilators, but those will not be enough to deal with an expected surge in patients and officials are looking for more supplies, Palm said.
A doctor in the SSM Health system that operates in and around Madison has tested positive for COVID-19.
SSM Health said in a statement Friday that the doctor was not showing symptoms during their last encounter with patients, but as symptoms developed the doctor self-quarantined and was tested.
The health system says it is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working with the local health departments to identify and contact all staff and patients who may have come into contact with the doctor.
Earlier this week, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa said that one of its doctors had tested positive, resulting in testing of about 200 patients and staff.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday that a birth suites nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison said she was exposed to another worker at the hospital who later tested positive. SSM Health operates the hospital, but it wasn't immediately clear if the doctor who tested positive was the same one the nurse said she had contact with.
Nurse Jennifer Aumanstal said she is allowed to work as long as she wears a surgical mask the entire time and remains asymptomatic.
"We're coming in every day. We're potentially exposing ourselves, and then were going home and putting our families at risk as well," the State Journal reported her as saying.
A bipartisan trio of northeastern Wisconsin mayors is calling on Gov. Tony Evers and the Legislature to delay the April 7 spring election and conduct it by mail-in ballots only due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayors of Green Bay, Appleton and Neenah made the request on Friday. Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna and Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert are Republicans and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich is a Democrat.
Genrich says moving ahead with the election without any changes is a "logistical train wreck and a public health travesty."
They say holding the in-person election is dangerous and irresponsible given the pandemic. They say Evers is sending mixed messages by ordering no gatherings of more than 10 people, but proceeding with the election where larger groups could congregate at polling sites.
The mayors also expressed concerns about older poll workers, election clerks and city staff being put at risk.
Evers and legislative leaders have said they plan to proceed with the election as scheduled.
"Ensuring the health and safety of Wisconsinites is our top priority, but the governor has said repeatedly that our democracy must continue," said Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff. "He has been urging folks to vote by absentee ballot and believes that process should be as simple and accessible as possible."
Add Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to the list of politicians who are self-quarantining after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Barrett announced on Thursday night that he was self-quarantining for 14 days. He came to that decision after consulting with public health officials.
The 66-year-old mayor says he intends to continue working from home, using teleconference and videoconference.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, also of Milwaukee, said Monday she was self-quarantining after coming into contact on March 8 with someone who tested positive. Former Gov. Scott Walker also self-quarantined himself for two weeks for the same reason.
Numerous other elected officials across the country are taking similar steps as the pandemic spreads amid pleas for people to avoid groups or get closer than 6-feet to others.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner says it was investigating the death of a 66-year-old man who died from complications of a COVID-19 infection.
The medical examiner said the Milwaukee man had been hospitalized for several days prior to his death.
Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday announced the first two confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Wisconsin. One was a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County and the other was a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County.
State health officials did not immediately confirm that the Milwaukee death was the third in the state from COVID-19. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported Thursday there were 155 confirmed cases in the state in 21 counties.
Wisconsin-based retailer Kohl's Corp. is closing all of its more than 1,100 stores nationwide in response to declining sales tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kohl's said the stores will be closed at least until April 1.
The company planned to "support store associates with two calendar weeks of pay," said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief executive officer in a news release.
Kohl's also said late Thursday that it has fully drawn its $1 billion unsecured credit facility to bolster its cash and "preserve its financial flexibility."
The Menomonee Falls-based chain is withdrawing its fiscal full year and first-quarter guidance and slashing its inventory and expenses.
Kohl's has stores in 49 states.