‘These deaths will not be our only deaths’: State health official, Evers say more virus deaths to come in state

Tony Evers

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers cautioned Wisconsin that more people were going to die from the coronavirus pandemic as the state registered its first three deaths and the number of confirmed cases grew to 206.

Evers and state health leaders also said Friday that the state continues to face a shortage of tests and equipment for health care workers treating the sick.

“Things will get worse before they get better,” Evers said. “The fight against COVID-19 will not be easy.”

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm also cautioned that the worst was yet to come.

“Sadly these deaths will not be our only deaths, we will see more,” she said.

There are 2,500 ICU hospital beds in Wisconsin and 620 ventilators, but those will not be enough to deal with an expected surge in patients and officials are looking for more supplies, Palm said.

Evers also made changes to his previous mass gatherings order, saying hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, and tanning facilities must close by 5 p.m. on Friday.

He said the updated order maintains the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and indefinite school closures, but includes clarifications. According to the update, the order:

  • “Treats bars and restaurants are the same. Bars will be able to have carryout sales of alcohol and food, if allowed by local ordinances and state law. This will help ensure thousands of establishments can stay in business during this unprecedented health emergency.
  • Media and news organizations can remain open to provide the public with vital information.
  • Laundromats may remain open.
  • Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions may remain open if they practice social distancing.
  • All parts of the food delivery system – from farms to stores – may remain open.
  • Clarifies that cafeterias in healthcare facilities may remain open to serve our healthcare workers.
  • Allied health professions, such as acupuncturists, are unaffected by the mass gathering ban.
  • All parts of our transportation system can continue to serve our economy.
  • Any facility used for in-person absentee voting or as a polling location may remain open for voting, except for sites at long-term care and assisted care facilities.”