Hospital Leaders Ask Green Bay Officials To Institute Mask Mandate

Northeast Wisconsin Is Experiencing A High Level Of COVID-19 Activity, According to DHS

Voters masked against coronavirus line up at Riverside High School for Wisconsin’s primary election Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. Marry Gash/AP Photo

Leaders from five hospitals with a presence in the Green Bay area have asked local officials to establish a mask ordinance to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Executives from Aurora BayCare Medical Center, BayCare Clinic, Bellin Health, HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s, Prevea Health and the Oneida Nation signed a letter this week in support of a mask mandate that would require anyone over the age of 2 to wear a face covering in public settings, unless a health condition prevents them from doing so.

“As health care organizations in the city of Green Bay, we are committed to caring for all people in this region. Our ability to provide health care for all people in the region would be impaired if the number of COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization exceeds our capacity,” the letter reads.

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Northeast Wisconsin is experiencing a high level of COVID-19 activity, according to the state’s Department of Health Services.

Milwaukee and Madison currently have mask mandates in place. Officials from Wisconsin’s third largest city discussed the possibility of a mask ordinance this week. It drew mixed reviews from Green Bay residents.

At a virtual meeting of the city’s Protection and Policy Committee on Monday, one community member said her daughter, who has asthma, passed out at work being forced to wear a mask.

Celia Nalbach, 23, knows masks can be a polarizing issue. As of Friday morning, her petition asking officials in the city of Neenah to institute a mask rule had received nearly 800 signatures.

“Additionally, however, I have gotten a lot of negative feedback,” she said. “One of the local TV stations did a little piece on it a couple (of) days ago and the comments coming in, some of them were extremely negative.”

Because of the contentious relationship between Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Nalbach said she believes change will need to come at the local level.

Nalbach, who works in chemical engineering, said she was inspired to create the petition after reading an international study that shows masks can dramatically limit the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S.