Report: A spike in virus cases due to election could extend Wisconsin’s stay-at-home order

A Health Alert is seen posted April 7, 2020, at a Madison polling location

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin forged ahead with an election Tuesday in the middle of a pandemic and public health officials are worried about whether it will result in a spike in cases of the coronavirus.

Public health experts, elected officials, poll workers and many voters pushed unsuccessfully for a delay in the election. Voters who didn’t get absentee ballots were forced to choose between voting in person or staying at home to avoid possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Line For Voters At Chavez Elementary School

Voters in line at Chavez Elementary School in Madison.

Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said the state could extend the Safer at Home order if a rise in COVID-19 cases is seen, WTMJ-TV reported. Palm mentioned the possible extension on a conference call Wednesday.

Palm said DHS will look at data from neighboring states to determine whether or not the order should be extended, but it wasn’t immediately clear when officials would make the decision.

Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order, which began March 25, is in effect through April 24. The order directs non-essential businesses to close, prohibits gathering sizes and places new restrictions on travel across the state in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Epidemiologist Kristen Malecki said Wednesday holding the election was counter to all good scientific evidence.

Results from Tuesday’s Spring Election won’t be released until Monday.

Absentee Drop Off Spring Election 2020 Polling Place

A Madison poll worker  on April 8, 2020, outside a city polling location.

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