UPDATE (5:08 p.m. April 6, 2020): The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday, April 6, struck down an executive order by Gov. Tony Evers postponing in-person voting for tomorrow's spring election and presidential preference primary, multiple Madison-area news organizations reported.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday afternoon provided additional comments on his executive order suspending in-person voting in tomorrow’s spring election and presidential preference primary.
“We expect more cases, we expect more deaths, we expect more tragedies,” Evers said during a statewide COVID-19 pandemic update. “With that in mind, I cannot in good conscience allow any types of gathering that would further the spread of this disease and to put more lives at risk."
The state health department advised the governor that, despite the preparation done by local elections clerks, polling place workers and the National Guard, “... there’s not a sufficiently safe way to administer in-person voting tomorrow,” Evers said.
The governor’s order directs the Legislature to meet in special session April 7 — the date of the spring election and presidential preference primary — to take action on changing election rules. If no laws are passed Tuesday, the governor said in-person voting will take place June 9.
All absentee ballots already cast will remain valid, according to the order. The full text of Executive Order #74 is available here.
Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said the recommendation to the governor to suspend in-person voting was in the interest of saving lives.
“In-person voting would, without question, accelerate the transmission of COVID-19 and increase the number of cases,” Palm said during the update presentation Monday. “And an increase in the number of cases in Wisconsin would result in more deaths.
Palm also announced Monday the signing of two emergency orders easing regulations on health care facilities, providers and emergency medical services to address staffing needs, as well as allow health care providers whose licenses expire during the declared public health emergency to continue to work until 30 days after the emergency ends.
Updated COVID-19 numbers
- 12 active labs were running COVID-19 testing as of Monday, with a daily testing capacity of 3,563.
- 26,574 tests for the respiratory illness have come back negative, an increase of 1,405 over Sunday.
- 2,440 total tests were positive for COVID-19, an increase of 173 cases from yesterday.
- 668 cases required hospitalization, up 44 compared to Sunday. In the state, 27% of positive test cases required hospitalization.
- 77 deaths in Wisconsin associated with COVID-19.
“When the numbers increase it's easy to think of this pandemic in terms of graphs and the numbers on our web pages,” Palm said. “But we need to remember that each number represents a person — a friend or family member, a neighbor or a coworker.”
She called on residents to continue social-distancing practices to keep others safe and reduce the strain on the health care system.
Personal protective equipment
Palm also provided an update on the state’s stockpile of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers.
The state has distributed the following from the National Strategic Stockpile:
- 104,608 N95 respirator masks
- 260,840 surgical masks
- 48,168 face shields
- 140,750 pairs of gloves
“This PPE will help protect our medical professionals as they do their important work of treating COVID-19 patients who need care,” Palm said, but cautioned PPE from the national stockpile does not meet what has been requested by the state’s health care system.
The state launched a website to help first responders and residents cope with trauma and mental health issues during the pandemic and Safer at Home order: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/resilient/index.htm
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