State Watch

Wisconsin governor declares emergency amid surge in infections

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) on Tuesday declared a new public health emergency in response to a flare-up of coronavirus outbreaks on college campuses in the state and extended the mandatory use of face coverings.

Within the past month, COVID-19 cases have surged among young people in Wisconsin, apparently driven by in-person social gatherings, Evers’s office said in a statement. People between 18 and 24 years old have a case rate five times higher than any other age group, it added.

“We need folks to start taking this seriously, and young people especially—please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars, and wear a mask whenever you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together,” Evers said in the statement.

Eight Wisconsin cities were listed among the top 20 U.S. cities in which COVID-19 cases are rising fastest, and six of those eight cities have University of Wisconsin system campuses.

The state is now experiencing “unprecedented, near-exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic,” rising from 678 new cases on Aug. 31 to 1,791 on Sept. 21, Evers’s office said.

A total of 104,170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Wisconsin as of Tuesday, according to the state’s health department. 

Evers issued an executive order declaring a public health emergency, which will activate the Wisconsin National Guard to provide personnel to support the Nov. 3 general election and operate community testing sites. 

He also extended a mandate for face coverings on Wisconsin residents aged 5 or older when they are indoors or in enclosed spaces through Nov. 21. His previous order on face coverings issued on July 30 was due to expire. 

The orders came the same day Evers was sued by a man who was dismissed from a paid poll worker position for refusing to wear a mask at a voting precinct, citing a medical condition.

They were also issued the same day the U.S. surpassed a grim milestone — 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

Tags COVID-19 pandemic face masks mask mandate Public health emergency Tony Evers Tony Evers Wisconsin
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