Live: What To Know April 2 About COVID-19 In Wisconsin

Number Of Total Cases Of COVID-19 In State Is Rising

Andrea Eby, left, puts up a yard sign showing support for a doctor who is a neighbor
Andrea Eby, left, puts up a yard sign showing support for a doctor who is a neighbor Sunday, March 22, 2020, in Nolensville, Tenn. Several residents in the neighborhood put up signs thanking medical personnel for their work during the coronavirus outbreak. Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the state continues to grow.

The state Department of Health Services announced Thursday there are 1,720 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide, as well as 20,317 negative tests. However, the number continues to grow as counties announce positive cases. According to figures from DHS, 31 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon. That does not include two deaths in Milwaukee County.

As the response to the virus evolves, Wisconsin Public Radio will be keeping track of up-to-date happenings here, and in our broadcast and online coverage. If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 — either about the virus, prevention or preparation — ask us and we’ll do our best to answer.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

For explanations for common questions and additional information about COVID resources, read WisContext’s story listing 10 things to know about the pandemic and public health in the state.

For a compilation of all WPR’s coverage, visit WPR’s Coronavirus In Wisconsin section.

Here are the latest updates on the new coronavirus in Wisconsin:

4:06 PM: DWD To Receive Extra Help Processing Unemployment Claims

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced Thursday its request has been approved for 25 additional staff members to help process the state’s unprecedented number of unemployment claims.

The agency received more than 110,000 initial claims last week, it said in a news release. More than 98 percent of those claims were filed online without the help of claims specialist, the agency said.

As claims have surged, some Wisconsinites have said they’ve struggled to apply for unemployment benefits.

3:26 PM: Wisconsin’s April Primary Won’t Be Postponed But Absentee Voting Will Be Extended, Federal Judge Says

U.S. District Judge William Conley denied a petition Thursday to postpone Wisconsin’s April primary, which will take place Tuesday, due to the new coronavirus.

Conley did, however, order absentee ballots will be counted through 4 p.m. Monday, April 13. Voters now have until 5 p.m. Friday to request an absentee ballot.

Conley also removed witness requirements for absentee voters.

Democrats are calling the ruling a victory.

“We are glad that the court came to the right decision today,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement.

Amid coronavirus concerns, some states have moved to postpone their primaries, while others have shifted to mail-in voting.

2:15 PM: State’s Top Medical Officer Says Testing Situation Has Improved

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, said Thursday the state is able to process more than 3,000 COVID-19 tests per day. That’s higher than the number of tests being conducted, he said.

“We don’t have a backlog of tests,” he said.

He said most patients are receiving their results within 48 hours. Patients who don’t receive results within that time frame should contact their health care provider, he said.

1:59 PM: Milwaukee’s Bobblehead Museum To Feature Dr. Anthony Facui

The United States’ top infectious disease specialist is getting his own bobblehead. The creation from the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum features Dr. Anthony Fauci wearing a suit as he discusses the coronavirus pandemic.

Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said Fauci was picked because many people see the plain-speaking expert on the coronavirus as a hero right now.

Sklar said the Milwaukee museum will donate $5 from every $25 Fauci bobblehead that’s sold to the American Hospital Association. The funds will go toward getting masks and other protective equipment for health care workers.

1:45 PM: DHS Confirms 1,730 Cases of COVID-19 In Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Thursday 180 additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the state, taking Wisconsin’s total number of confirmed cases to 1,730. DHS also reports 31 deaths and 461 hospitalizations related to the virus. The death total does not include two additional deaths in Milwaukee County.

There are confirmed cases in 52 Wisconsin counties.

Across the state, 20,317 people have tested negative for the virus.

12:25 PM: State Legislature Members Sign Open Letter Calling For Legislative Action On COVID-19

Dozens of members of the state legislature have signed an open letter to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos urging them to convene the legislature so it can take action on issues relating to COVID-19.

“We all recognize that now is not the time for partisan politics,” the letter reads. “The people of Wisconsin want to see their state elected officials working together to do everything possible to manage this public health crisis and provide the support for those whose lives have been negatively impacted by this crisis.”

The letter outlines proposed policies on public health, education, elections and unemployment.

11:05 AM: 92-Year-Old Dies From Coronavirus In Milwaukee County

According to a tweet from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, a 92-year-old man was pronounced dead from COVID-19 complications at a local hospice Thursday morning.

Milwaukee County has more than 875 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with nearly 700 of those in the city of Milwaukee, according to data from the county.

11 AM: UW-Madison Researchers Are Developing Coronavirus Vaccine

Virologists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have partnered with vaccine companies FluGen and Bharat Biotech to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus, according to a news release from the university.

Called CoroFlu, the vaccine will be built on top of the group’s existing flu vaccine candidate, which has been shown to be safe in initial trials.

Refinement and initial testing is expected to take three to six months. The new vaccine could be ready for human clinical trials this fall, according to the release.

10:50 AM: Milwaukee DNC Pushed To Week Of August 17 Due To Coronavirus Concerns

The 2020 Democratic National Convention, originally scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee, has been postponed, according to a news release from the Democratic National Convention Committee.

The convention will now take place the week of August 17. The delay will give organizers time to evaluate how to best structure the event given public health concerns, according to the committee.

The event is expected to draw thousands of people to southeast Wisconsin. According to the host committee, the group confirmed Fiserv Forum, the Wisconsin Center District and hotels in the area will be available in August.

“The City of Milwaukee welcomed our convention team with open arms over a year ago when our convention planning first kicked off,” Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Joe Solmonese said in the release. “We remain inspired by the people who live and work here, and we remain committed to hosting this historic moment in their hometown.”

Milwaukee has been the hardest hit area of Wisconsin so far in the COVID-19 outbreak.

9:46 AM: DHS Urges Patients, Health Care Professionals To Use Telehealth During COVID-19 Outbreak

Communicating with health care professionals through video calls instead of in-person office visits will help keep Wisconsin’s frontline health care workers safe, Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Thursday in a statement.

“Never has the option of telehealth been more critical than at a time when we are asking people to stay home, especially people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19,” Palm said.

Many patients now have the option of connecting with health care providers via cell phone, tablet or computer.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week expanded access to telehealth for its customers.

9:30 AM: State Fair Park, Milwaukee Convention Center Could Be COVID-19 Care Sites

State Fair Park in West Allis and the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) in downtown Milwaukee are being considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as alternative care sites.

These sites are part of a nationwide effort by Federal Emergency Management Agency. The facilities are meant to free up space in hospitals for patients who don’t require intensive care.

Marty Brooks, president and chief executive officer of WCD, said the Army Corps is looking for a site large enough to accommodate 1,200 beds.

Brooks said each site takes about two weeks to set up and will be operational for about 90 days.

9:19 AM: UW-Madison Will Offer Online Classes Only This Summer

The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Thursday it will not offer campus-based classes this summer due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Instead, the university will offer more than 300 online courses this summer, including some that meet general education requirements.

“We know this is a challenging time for students, and we are here to help them continue their studies and advance toward graduation,” Associate Dean Aphra Mednick said in a statement.

The scholarship application period for UW-Madison’s summer term has been extended from April 1 to May 1.

9:17 AM: 80-Year-Old Dies From Coronavirus In Milwaukee County

According to a tweet from the Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office, an 80-year-old female from Milwaukee died Thursday morning at a local hospital from complications of the new coronavirus.

More than 30 people have now died from COVID-19 in Wisconsin, according to state and local figures. Seventeen of those deaths have been in Milwaukee County, according to Milwaukee County.

9 AM: Dairy Farmers Flushing Away Milk Due To Coronavirus

Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that’s forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain.

That’s the case at Golden E Dairy near West Bend, according to the Associated Press. Farmer Ryan Elbe told WISN-TV they are dumping about about 30,000 gallons a day.

The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and business in food service have been closed.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Elbe’s cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, for now has agreed to pay them for their milk that’s being dumped. But, like most cooperatives, Dairy Farmers of America can only afford to do that for so long.

7:45 AM: Wisconsin WIC Agency Offers Assistance To People Financially Affected By Pandemic

Wisconsin WIC, which administers food assistance for pregnant women and mothers of young children, is working to get the word out that people financially impacted by the fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic could be eligible for benefits.

In a press release, the agency said eligibility for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) takes into account both past and future income, so even mothers who have recently been laid off or furloughed from their jobs due to the response to COVID-19 could qualify for help.

LATE WEDNESDAY: Dane, Sheboygan Counties Confirm COVID-19 Deaths

A third person in Dane County has died of complications from COVID-19, according to Public Health Madison Dane County.

Sheboygan County reported its first COVID-19 death Wednesday. According to the Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department, the county had 15 confirmed cases of the virus as of Wednesday afternoon, including seven patients who’ve recovered.

WEDNESDAY: DHS Confirms 1,550 Positive Cases Of COVID-19 Statewide

There are now 1,550 positive cases of the new coronavirus in Wisconsin, according to the state Department of Health Services.

The number of positive cases increased by 199 from Tuesday to Wednesday.

According to DHS, 398 people are hospitalized and 24 people in Wisconsin have died of COVID-19.

The number of negative tests rose to 18,819 Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY: Gov. Tony Evers Deploys National Guard To Help At Polls

Gov. Tony Evers is deploying the Wisconsin National Guard to help staff polling sites during the state’s presidential primary, the Associated Press reports.

There has been a shortage of poll workers across the state. Over 100 municipalities have reported a lack in staff. Workers are worried about being exposed to the new coronavirus.

A federal judge is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case seeking to delay the state’s election.

Evers told a federal judge he’ll use Wisconsin Army National Guard members as poll workers, but he also said that staffing could still be short.

Resources For Food, Housing Help And More In Wisconsin

Are you in need of food? Do you need someone to pick up groceries? Are you looking for ways to help during the COVID-19 pandemic? WPR is keeping an updated list of resources across Wisconsin. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can search for services online at 211 Wisconsin, dial 211 on your phone, or text your ZIP code to 898211.