Several more deaths confirmed as 5.4% of new COVID-19 tests come back positive

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Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (pink) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

MADISON, Wis. — As the debate over Gov. Tony Evers’ newly announced statewide mask mandate continues, Wisconsin health officials have confirmed several new COVID-19 cases and virus-related deaths Friday.

There have been 926* new cases since Thursday afternoon, which puts Wisconsin’s lifetime total at 53,196. The state Department of Health Services said 9,671 of those cases remain active, which is about 18% of all people who have tested positive.

Health officials said 16 more have died, including two in Dane County. At least 942 people in the state are dead as a result of the virus. Another 47 people have been hospitalized, though Wisconsin still has 2,305 hospital beds available for patients.

Out of the 15,379 tests conducted in the past day, 5.4% of those results came back positive. That’s a slight drop from Thursday’s 6.1%.

Covid Chart

Evers issued a statewide mask mandate that will go into effect Saturday. The announcement received immediate push back from state GOP members, as Wisconsin Republicans “stand ready” to kill the mask requirement, according to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

From a legal standpoint, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said the executive order goes beyond Evers’ political authority.

“We don’t live in a society where a chief executive makes the law that we live under,” said WILL founder Rick Esenberg. “We don’t have a king. We don’t have a dictator. We have a governor. The governor can certainly propose laws the governor can take steps to administer the law but if new law is to be made it has to be made by the legislature and signed into law.”

State Sen. Steve Nass has since called on Republican leaders to bring the Legislature back into session to pass a resolution that would oppose the mask mandate.

Sheriff’s departments from several counties have also released statements saying they don’t plan to enforce the mandate.

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*News 3 Now uses data from DHS and county dashboards to calculate daily cases and deaths. DHS posts new numbers daily at 2 p.m., and our newsroom continues to update our totals throughout the day with additional cases that individual counties report. By using a combination of state and county data, News 3 Now is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date COVID-19 coverage.