Coronavirus: Wisconsin Has More Than 200 Cases; Evers Orders Hair, Nail Salons To Close

2 hours ago

WUWM is providing updates about the coronavirus and COVID-19 in Wisconsin and the Milwaukee area. Find the most recent news and information below.

Wisconsin and Milwaukee by the numbers, according to state Department of Health Services (unless otherwise noted):

  • 3 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
  • Wisconsin has at least 206 confirmed cases.
  • Milwaukee County has 95 confirmed cases, according to reports from the county.

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March 20, 3:20 p.m.: Evers orders hair, nail salons to close

Evers updated his emergency order limiting public gatherings to direct all hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, tanning salons, day spas, tattoo parlors and body art establishments to close by 5 p.m. Friday.
-Emily Files

March 20, 2:25 p.m.: Officials urge people of all ages to stay home, warn we'll see more deaths

A day after Wisconsin confirmed its first deaths from COVID-19, state officials urged residents of all ages to stay home and warned that more deaths will come.

As of Friday afternoon, there are three confirmed deaths from the virus and 206 positive tests in Wisconsin, according to the state health department. The deaths include a 66-year-old Milwaukee man, a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County, and a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County.

Gov. Tony Evers and Department of Health Secretary Designee Andrea Palm are asking Wisconsin residents of all ages to stay home as much as possible.

“We know that COVID-19 will affect thousands of Wisconsinites,” Palm said. “Most of these illnesses will be mild, but for others, including our most vulnerable, outcomes will be more severe. Sadly, these deaths won't be our only deaths. We will see more."

Palm explicitly says it's important for young people to practice social distancing and stay at home. Even though they may not suffer the same complications from coronavirus as older adults, young people can carry and spread the disease to others.

“While most cases of COVID-19 have been among people older than 50, younger people, particularly those between 18 and 30 years of age, aren’t immune to COVID-19,” Palm said. "Anyone can contract the virus. And it’s as important for young and healthy people to heed the orders requiring social distancing as it is for the rest of us.”

Evers says he doesn't think he would have to issue a "shelter in place" order as California and Illinois did this week. 

“I believe that we'll be able to avoid that," Evers said. "People in the state of Wisconsin are taking this seriously. We continue to encourage them to stay at home. I know other states are doing that, we will follow the science on that."

“All the things we’re talking about to limit the size of the epidemic are to save peoples’ lives and prevent people from dying because we don’t have enough resources." - Wisconsin DHS Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westergaard

The officials say personal protective equipment (like face masks and gloves) provided so far to Wisconsin by the Strategic National Stockpile isn't enough to meet the needs of health care workers in the state. Palm says there are currently 620 ventilators and 2,500 ICU hospital beds in the state, and officials are investigating how many more might be needed.

Health officials said the demand for ICU beds and ventilators will depend on the steps Wisconsinsites take now to socially distance, practice good hygiene and limit nonessential travel.

“The stakes are really high, that’s the message we want the public to hear,” said Wisconsin DHS Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westergaard. “All the things we’re talking about to limit the size of the epidemic are to save peoples’ lives and prevent people from dying because we don’t have enough resources.”
-Emily Files

During this pandemic, WUWM's Bubbler Talk is focusing on the coronavirus and its impact on the Milwaukee area. If you have a question, submit it below.