Wisconsin now has 89 confirmed coronavirus cases, experts seeing evidence of community spread

Gov. Tony Evers
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MADISON, Wis. — There are now 89 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin.

Earlier today, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the state had 72 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,038 negative tests.

Milwaukee County has since reported 16 more cases and Fond Du Lac County has reported another one.

There are 19 confirmed cases in Dane County.

So far, only one of the patients has recovered.

In Tuesday’s media briefing, experts said there is evidence of community spread in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties. That means patients who are testing positive have not had exposure to someone else who tested positive and they haven’t recently traveled to an area with community transmission.

Gov. Tony Evers is ordering a statewide moratorium on events with 10 or more people effective today at 5 p.m. Transportation, childcare, hotels, military and law enforcement, hospitals, food pantries, utility facilities, courts, job centers and long-term care facilities are exempt from the order.

Evers also said bars throughout the state will be closed at 5 p.m. today. Restaurants will only be able to provide food through take-out or delivery services.

“What we’re saying folks is as simple as this: stay home if you can,” said Evers.

Although the governor’s office expects residents to follow this new moratorium, Evers’ legal counsel said local police departments will be enforcing it. Penalties would be a $250 fine and/or imprisonment for 30 days.

Evers has also expanded the statewide school closure order until further notice. The order originally said until at least April 6.

Evers said he is asking the state legislature to immediately take up legislation to repeal the state’s one week waiting period for unemployment compensation insurance. He plans to issue an order on Wednesday that will ensure that people affected by the virus who are out of work can get benefits.

Despite community spread in three counties, health officials said not everyone with symptoms needs to be tested for COVID-19.

People with a high risk of poor outcomes, and those who are severely ill and require hospitalization will be prioritized for testing.

“People who do not require hospitalization or people that have mild respiratory symptoms for which they wouldn’t normally go to the doctor, many times we have a cold and go to the pharmacy to get over the counter medications, we actually want those patients to not go get tested, even assuming that some of them have COVID-19,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

Westergaard said the state does not plan to count every single case.

Experts said if a patient’s symptoms are gone for at least 7-10 days, they are probably not contagious anymore.