Wisconsin health officials urged people Thursday to spend the Fourth of July weekend at home as coronavirus infections surge in the state.
The virus has spiked in Southern and Western states in recent weeks, but also parts of the Midwest. Wisconsin has had a nearly 20% rise in the past two weeks in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started, the state Department of Health Services said.
Health officials blame the surge largely on young people congregating in bars. DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said Thursday that 23% of total confirmed cases in Wisconsin are people in their 20s, which is up from 11% in April.
“In order to help decrease the infection rate in our state, we need younger Wisconsinites to take more precautions like staying home, physical distancing and wearing cloth face coverings whenever possible,” Palm said.
Celebrating July 4th shouldn’t put families, friends, and neighbors at risk. COVID-19 has not gone away, folks—it is still very present and spreading in our communities. Don’t risk it. Stay home, practice social distancing, and always wear a mask.https://t.co/dLkWiOwb6P
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) July 2, 2020
Public health officials halted indoor service at Madison bars beginning Thursday and limited the number of people who can eat inside at restaurants to 25% capacity.
As of Wednesday, Wisconsin has had 29,199 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, according to the DHS. Nearly 790 people had died from it, 5,320 cases were still active and a little more than 23,000 people had recovered.
The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state's totals because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.