The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 884 new coronavirus cases and 9 deaths on Wednesday.
The seven-day average of daily new cases on Wednesday was 810.
People ages 20-29 continue to account for the largest percentage of those in Wisconsin confirmed to have the virus, at 25%.
State mask mandate
A statewide mask mandate is now in effect in Wisconsin, and some people aren’t happy about it.
Dozens turned out in Brookfield to protest the move requiring people to wear face masks while in public indoor spaces.
The mandate was signed by Gov. Tony Evers last week and went into effect Saturday.
Only a few demonstrators wore masks during the protest, while some say they don’t believe masks will help stop the spread of the virus.
Evers issued the statewide mask mandate Thursday amid a spike in coronavirus cases, setting up a conflict with Republican legislative leaders who oppose such a requirement and successfully sued earlier to kill a “safer at home” order.
Wisconsin and three other states were added to Chicago’s expanding COVID-19 travel quarantine list on Tuesday.
“If Chicago thinks our people should stay home, then we better put some damn masks on and make sure that we continue to reverse the course that we’re in,” Evers said Thursday.
Wisconsin election head: ‘Don’t wait’ on mailing ballots
The head of the Wisconsin Elections Commission is urging voters not to wait to return their ballot for the Aug. 11 statewide primary, given high demand and possible mailing delays. As of Monday, nearly 332,000 completed ballots had been received out of the more than 821,000 sent to voters. That is six-times the number of absentee ballots sent in the 2018 primary and greater than the 645,000 total ballots cast in the 2016 August primary. Voters have until Thursday to request an absentee ballot. The deadline to return the ballot is 8 p.m. on the night of the election, Aug. 11.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark closes after 2 employees test positive
A popular Wisconsin Dells attraction has closed until further notice after two employees tested positive for the coronavirus. Noah’s Ark Waterpark announced the closing Saturday on its website. In a statement, Noah’s Ark says it has implemented extensive safety protocols since opening this summer. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the water park says it will be working closely with the Sauk County Health Department and other experts on how to move forward. The statement says Noah’s Ark’s top priority is the health and safety of its guests and employees.
Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain opts out of 2020 season
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain has become the latest player to opt-out of the 2020 season. The Brewers announced the two-time All-Star’s decision Saturday hours after news broke that their scheduled home opener would be postponed for a second straight day because members of the St. Louis Cardinals had tested positive for COVID-19.
Wisconsin opioid overdoses jump 117% since pandemic began
Wisconsin health officials say suspected opioid overdoses have increased 117% since the coronavirus pandemic began compared with the same period last year. Data from Wisconsin emergency departments show 325 suspected overdoses from March to July 13 compared with 150 suspected overdoses over that span in 2019. State Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm says financial pressures and isolation can exacerbate behavioral and substance abuse problems. DHS officials say calls to the state’s helpline indicate requests for information on behavioral health have been increasing as well.
Federal suit over local Wisconsin COVID-19 orders dismissed
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by two dozen Wisconsin residents challenging a variety of local stay-at-home orders enacted to curb the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. District Judge William Griesbach on Monday dismissed the challenge, saying those bringing it did not properly join all of the defendants into one lawsuit. The judge says that mistake requires that the lawsuit be dismissed, but it can be refiled. The dismissal came as Wisconsin hit a record high Tuesday in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,117 additional cases. More than 44,000 people have tested positive with 859 deaths.
Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions call for online school
Teachers unions for Wisconsin’s five largest school districts are asking Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s top health and education officials to keep schools closed at the start of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The letter sent Monday was signed by union leaders for teachers in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine. It was sent to Evers, Department of Public Instruction Secretary Carolyn Stanford Taylor and Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm. The Milwaukee and Madison districts have already announced that they plan to start the school year with online instruction only and will reassess later.
Wisconsin unemployment drops to 8.5%, below national rate
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% in June. That good news came Thursday as Democratic lawmakers released proposals to remove obstacles and broaden access to unemployment benefits and Gov. Tony Evers’ administration temporarily reassigned 100 state workers to help address a backlog in claims. The Department of Workforce Development has struggled to process the claims of everyone seeking unemployment. Currently, about 141,000 people were awaiting payments. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was below the national average of 11.1% and far down from the state’s high of 13.6% in April. Wisconsin added 99,300 private-sector jobs in June.
A new audit says an unknown number of unemployed people in Wisconsin received too much, or not enough, in benefits from the state Department of Workforce in late April. The errors came as the department worked to process additional money in federal aid to help those suddenly out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Legislative Audit Bureau said Wednesday that the department should determine how many people were sent incorrect amounts and how much, then report back by Aug. 14. Agency Secretary Caleb Frostman says the department is implementing all of the audit’s recommendations.
Ryder Cup postponed until 2021 in Wisconsin because of COVID-19 pandemic; had been set for Sept. 25-27
The Ryder Cup has been postponed until 2021 in Wisconsin because of the COVID-19 pandemic; it had been set for Sept. 25-27 in Whistling Straights.
WLS-TV contributed to this report.
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Source: ABC7 Chicago