Live: What To Know March 22 About COVID-19 In Wisconsin

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

People standing in line outside a grocery store
People keep their distance from each other while waiting in line to enter a Trader Joe’s grocery store in San Francisco, Saturday, March 21, 2020. Jeff Chiu/AP Photo

The state Department of Health Services announced Sunday 381 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide, as well as 6,230 negative tests. However, the number continues to grow as counties announce positive cases.

As of Sunday afternoon, four people had died from the new coronavirus in Wisconsin.

In the last several days stores have shut their doors, communities have come together to support one another, and Gov. Tony Evers’ administration has taken several steps to attempt to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

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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.

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:

9:05: PM Milwaukee Suspends In-Person Early Voting

Milwaukee announced Sunday that it has halted in-person early voting because of the risk posed by the new coronavirus.

According to a city press release, it will no longer be offering in-person absentee or early voting at Zablocki Library, the Zeidler Municipal Building or the Midtown Center.

“Due to increased COVID-19 exposure risk, the Election Commission can no longer maintain sufficient staffing levels to operate these sites in a manner that would ensure a safe or efficient public voting experience,” the press release said. “Given the city’s longstanding dedication to fair and equitable elections, the decision to end early voting in Milwaukee has been exceptionally difficult for all involved. However, given daily increases in COVID-19 cases on the local level, a critical balance must be achieved between access to voting and the health of election workers and the public.”

7:25 PM: State Supreme Court Postpones Jury Trials Until Late May

The state Supreme Court released an order Sunday night putting off new jury trials in Wisconsin courts through May 22 in response to the spread of the new coronavirus.

While state courts will remain open, justices also ordered judges and court staff to use telephone and video conferencing instead of in-person proceedings through the end of April.

“We are taking these steps not only to protect public health, but also to help ensure continued and effective operation of all our courts for the people of Wisconsin,” said Chief Justice Patience Drake Roggensack in a press release. “Our circuit court judges have taken strategic, proactive steps to keep each of their courts operating as safely and smoothly as possible since the start of this public health emergency.”

4:55 PM: Bayfield County Asks Seasonal Homeowners To Stay Away

The Bayfield County Health Department is recommending seasonal and second homeowners stay away from the county due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The county follows others like Vilas County who have said they have limited health care infrastructure to address the spread of COVID-19, citing the high community transmission in other areas of the state.

The county is asking seasonal and second homeowners who are already in the county to self-isolate for 14 days, noting its high population of older residents are vulnerable to the disease.

4:48 PM: Gov. Evers Issues Order On Suspending Utility Administrative Rules

Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order Sunday to suspend utility-related administrative rules. The move allows the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to provide temporary consumer protections in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is critically important to give people flexibility during this emergency, when paychecks might be disrupted, to keep the lights and heat on and water flowing,” said Evers in a news release. “We’re making sure that folks don’t have to make the critical choice between keeping their utilities on and paying for other essentials.”

PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq is directing regulated utilities to stop disconnections for all accounts for nonpayment, end late fees and allow deferred payment agreements for customers who ask for them.

4:46 PM: Company Denies Allegations In New York Times Report Regarding COVID-19

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting Uline, Inc. is responding to a New York Times story that suggests the company is among businesses nationwide that aren’t doing enough to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Wisconsin newspaper reports the company said it’s been a leader in efforts to combat COVID-19.

The New York Times reported Sunday the company based in Pleasant Prairie required its employees to go to work, at times in close quarters, during the last week. The story referenced a memo urging workers to avoid revealing if they’re feeling unwell.

In a statement, Uline told the Journal Sentinel all non-essential employees are working at home.

3:15 PM: Local Leaders Warn Gov. Evers That Voters Are At Risk

More than 200 local leaders have sent Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers a letter telling him that he hasn’t done enough to ensure voters stay healthy during next month’s election, according to the Associated Press.

The April 7 election features the state’s presidential primary and a state Supreme Court race.

Some other states have postponed primaries in hopes of slowing the coronavirus spread. But Evers has insisted Wisconsin’s election go on as scheduled. He’s urging people to vote via absentee ballot.

2 PM: DHS Says There Are Now 381 Positive Cases Of COVID-19

The state Department of Health Services announced Sunday 381 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide, as well as 6,230 negative tests. The number of positive cases increased by 100 since Saturday. However, the number continues to grow as counties announce positive cases.

As of Sunday afternoon, four people have died from the new coronavirus in Wisconsin.

DHS has identified community spread of the virus in Brown, Columbia, Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, meaning some people who have been infected with the virus are not sure how or where they became infected.

Health officials stressed social distancing — staying 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds and staying home if sick.

SATURDAY: Gov. Tony Evers Asks FEMA To Help Secure Medical Supplies For First Responders

Gov. Tony Evers directed Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) to request assistance obtaining protective medical supplies from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The gear would be used by law enforcement and firefighters who may be exposed to the new coronavirus on the job.

“We are asking FEMA to help us purchase valuable medical supplies that will be used to protect our first responders as they do the important work of keeping Wisconsin safe,” said Gov. Evers in a news release. “It is our hope that the federal government can identify a source for these supplies as quickly as possible.”

Wisconsin is requesting 50,000 non-surgical masks; 10,000 face shields; 11,000 coveralls; 3,000 N95 face masks; and 35,000 pairs of gloves. Health care workers are facing a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment. The request is in addition to gear needed for them. The state has so far received 52,000 N95 face masks and 130,000 surgical masks plus tens of thousands of surgical gloves and gowns for medical providers from the national stockpile.

SATURDAY: U.S. Senator Ron Johnson Asks Pompeo For Help To Bring Residents Home

Republican Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday asking for help to secure the safe return of Wisconsin residents stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“These Americans are scared, desperate and running out of hope,” Johnson said in the letter written March 20. “I hope you will give your fullest and most immediate consideration to this request, and I appreciate your time and consideration to this urgent matter.”

Johnson’s office says staff have been assisting travelers in more than a dozen countries, including Peru, Honduras and Guatemala.

SATURDAY: State Extend Tax Filing Deadline To July

State officials announced on Saturday that they were extending the deadline for residents to file income tax payment and return due dates to July 15.

The state Department of Revenue issued a press release Saturday that noted state law will automatically “extend time and waive interest and penalties for taxpayers due to a presidentially declared disaster.”

“This is just one more thing we can do for Wisconsinites during this challenging time. Our main goal is to assist our citizens in any way that we can.,” Gov. Tony Evers said in the statement.

Tax filers don’t have to file an extension form to be eligible for this new due date.

“This is a time of great uncertainty for everyone. People are concerned and worried, and one thing they should not have to worry about right now is an April 15 tax deadline,” Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca said in the statement.

Barca said that roughly half of all taxpayers in Wisconsin have already filed their tax returns “and most have received refunds, on average over $700.”

SATURDAY: DHS: 4 Deaths, 281 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Wisconsin

Four deaths and 281 cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin were confirmed Saturday by state health officials.

The state Department of Health Services updated the outbreak section of the department’s website with the latest tallies related to the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the state. Officials reported that there were 4,628 negative test results.

SATURDAY: Virus Leads Wisconsin State Prisons To Suspend Admissions

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections says it’s no longer accepting admissions to its state prisons and juvenile facilities in an effort to slow down spread of the coronavirus.

Corrections officials said they will allow some essential transfers and work with the counties on any potential tweaks to the order.

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.