State Watch

Milwaukee health officials link 7 coronavirus cases to in-person voting

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Health officials in Milwaukee reported on Monday that seven people are thought to have contracted COVID-19 through activities related to state’s controversial April 7 primary election.

The city’s health commissioner, Jeanette Kowalik, noted that six of the cases are voters, while the other is a poll worker.

“There needs to be a little bit more analysis so we can connect the dots, that’s why case investigation and contact tracing is so important,” Kowalik said, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

She added: “As you recall, there were people that were in line for a very long time to get their vote in, so if you figure out around a range of time when someone was there or in the polling sites or in the line, connect to someone who was an actual case, that’s when we would do notifications.”

While the city only had five in-person voting sites open during the primary, Mayor Tom Barrett (D) said that each site saw about 3,500 voters and had dozens of poll workers, according to the paper.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Monday that the agency had yet to find evidence linking any of the state’s new COVID-19 cases to the April 7 primary, noting that symptoms in some patients may not have appeared yet. Tuesday is the 14th day since the election and health experts around the country have widely indicated that symptoms of the virus typically take about 14 days to appear, if at all.

Wisconsin held in-person voting despite efforts by Gov. Tony Evers (D) to postpone voting amid fears that it could facilitate the spread of the coronavirus.

Evers was rebuked by the state Supreme Court, which ordered the election to take place as scheduled.

In the days and weeks before the Wisconsin primary, several states moved to delay elections.

–This report was updated at 10:01 a.m.

Tags 2020 Wisconsin primaries Coronavirus Milwaukee Milwaukee Wisconsin

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