Coronavirus cases update: Wisconsin COVID-19 death toll hits 510 in 15,277 cases

Lake Geneva beaches packed with Memorial Day weekend tourists
As the number of novel coronavirus cases increases across the U.S. and around the world, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin has reached 15,277, with 510 deaths in the state.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Tony Evers' administration overstepped its authority when it extended the governor's stay-at-home order until May 26. Republican legislators asked the conservative-controlled Supreme Court to block the extension and let them offer their own recovery plan. They argued that the extension amounted to state Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm writing rules without legislative input. The ruling marks another defeat for Evers as Republicans continue to chip away at the Democratic governor's authority.

We've compiled the need-to-know information and resources to keep you and your family informed and safe. You can find all of ABC7's latest reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak here.

WATCH: Wisconsin COVID-19 survivor tells people to stop 'complaining' about extended stay-at-home order


TRACKING CORONAVIRUS IN WISCONSIN:

May 24, 2020

Wisconsin reports 400 new cases of COVID-19, 3 more deaths
Wisconsin health officials have reported 400 new cases of the coronavirus and three additional deaths. The Department of Health Services update on Sunday shows that the number of COVID19 cases across the state is 15,277. The total number of hospitalizations was 2,315, an increase of 23 from Saturday's report. The number of deaths related to the coronavirus in Wisconsin is 510. Statewide, 186,206 tests have come back negative. That's an increase from 179,329 negative tests reported Saturday. Health officials said 15% of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Wisconsin have been hospitalized.

Wisconsin draws Memorial Day beachgoers amid COVID-19 pandemic
Wisconsin's Lake Geneva looked like a pre-pandemic summer day on Sunday, a sight unseen in months. Outdoor restaurants were packed with patrons, while beachgoers enjoyed the lake waters during the Memorial Day weekend. Social distance signs posted in the sand served as reminders.

May 23, 2020

Wisconsin health officials announce 14,877 COVID-19 cases, with 507 deaths
Wisconsin health officials announced 14,877 COVID-19 cases and 507 related deaths. There are 2,292 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state.

Lake Geneva beaches brace for Memorial Day weekend tourists
A tourist hot spot, thousands typically flock to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin for the Memorial Day weekend. But this year, the city is balancing the COVID-19 pandemic and its progress in reopening. Beachgoers will be faced with signs at all entry and exit ways that prioritize social distancing and sanitation. Normally Riviera Beach can accommodate for more than 700 people. This week, city council approved limiting the sands to only 300 people at any one time.

May 21, 2020

Federal lawsuit challenges local stay-at-home orders
Seventeen Wisconsin residents, including one of the organizers of a "reopen Wisconsin" protest last month at the state Capitol, have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that local stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Milwaukee. It challenges the local orders that took effect after the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week tossed Gov. Tony Evers' statewide "safer at home" order as unconstitutional. The new lawsuit names 21 state and local Wisconsin public safety and health officials, including Evers and all members of the state elections commission, as defendants.

Wisconsin unemployment rate hits 14.1% in April
Wisconsin's unemployment rate hit 14.1% in April, a level not seen since the Great Depression. The state Department of Workforce Development reported the latest figures on Thursday. The state's rate was just below the national unemployment rate of 14.7%. April was the first full month of Wisconsin's "safer at home" order issued by Gov. Tony Evers in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic that forced most nonessential businesses to close. While unemployment has soared, so too has criticism from Republicans over the speed in processing claims for benefits. As of Monday, more than 2 million weekly claims had been filed, but more than 675,000 were unpaid.

Wiscosnsi health officials announce 13,885 COVID-19 cases, with 487 deaths
Wisconsin health officials announced 13,885 COVID-19 cases and 487 related deaths. There are 2,218 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state.

May 20, 2020

Wisconsin officials announce 13,413 COVID-19 cases, 481 deaths
Wisconsin health officials announced 13,413 COVID-19 cases, with 481 deaths and 2,161 hospitalizations.

Aid to Wisconsin farmers, renters due to pandemic announced
Gov. Tony Evers has announced programs for farmers and to help cover rent for Wisconsin residents who lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Funding for the programs announced Wednesday comes from the federal coronavirus relief bill. There is $50 million for the farmer aid program, $25 million for rent assistance and another $15 million for food banks and others fighting hunger. Evers says payments to farmers could start as soon as next month. Announcement of the program came on the same day that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden held a virtual round table in La Crosse focused on rural issues.

May 19, 2020

Program to help workers during pandemic sees spike in use
A Wisconsin program to help small companies retain workers when business is slow has taken off after it was changed to allow more employees to qualify during the coronavirus pandemic. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development said Tuesday that since mid-March, more than 14,000 workers have signed up to receive partial unemployment benefits paid for by the federal government under the Work-Share program. From 2016 until mid-March, there had been just shy of 900 participants.

May 18, 2020

Evers gives up on virus restrictions amid GOP opposition
Gov. Tony Evers says he's given up on any statewide rules to control the coronavirus amid fierce Republican opposition. His administration had been working on a new emergency rule after the state Supreme Court last week struck down the governor's stay-at-home order. However, it withdrew the outline for the rule Monday after a key Republican on the Legislature's rules committee accused Evers of trying to use the process to reinstate stay-at-home. Evers said during a teleconference with reporter that there's no point in attempting a statewide rule because Republicans are clearly opposed to any restrictions and won't allow anything to take effect.

May 17, 2020

Wisconsin reports 456 new coronavirus cases, no new deaths
Wisconsin health officials on Sunday reported more than 450 new cases of the coronavirus but no new deaths. The Department of Health Services update shows that the number of COVID19 cases across the state is 12,543. The total number of hospitalizations was 2,038, an increase of 20 from Saturday's report. The number of deaths related to the coronavirus remained at 453. Statewide, 139,674 tests have come back negative. That's an increase from 134,206 negative tests reported Saturday. Health officials said 16% of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Wisconsin have been hospitalized.

May 16, 2020

500-plus virus cases counted in midst of stay-at-home debate
Wisconsin health officials on Saturday reported more than 500 new cases of the coronavirus, as communities and counties continued to debate their plans after the state Supreme Court rescinded a statewide stay-at-home order. Some local health officials in Wisconsin rescinded their stay-at-home orders Friday after attorneys warned they could be vulnerable to legal challenges. Wisconsin's largest counties, Milwaukee and Dane, home to about 1.5 million of the state's 6 million residents, left their orders in place. Meanwhile, the Department of Health Services update shows that the number of COVID19 cases across the state has gone over 12,100. The total number of hospitalizations has topped 2,000.

Wisconsin again? Swing state a hotbed of virus politics
Wisconsin has been the battleground for political proxy wars for nearly a decade, and six months before the next presidential election, the state is on fire again. With a divided state government and a polarized electorate, Wisconsin has emerged as a hotbed of partisan fighting over the coronavirus, including how to slow its spread, restart the seized economy, vote amid a pandemic and judge President Donald Trump's leadership. In recent weeks, every political twist has been dissected by the parties, political scientists and the press, all searching for insight into which way the swing state might be swinging in the virus era. The answers have been conflicting.

May 15, 2020

Some local governments in Wisconsin drop stay-at-home orders
Some local health officials in Wisconsin are rescinding their stay-at-home orders as attorneys warn they may be on shaky legal ground after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down a statewide order. About a dozen Wisconsin counties implemented their own stay-at-home orders after the high court on Wednesday struck down Gov. Tony Evers' order outlawing nonessential travel and closing nonessential businesses. The court ruled the order went too far. The Wisconsin Counties Association warned that local orders could be challenged on the same grounds. At least four counties and two cities dropped their orders Friday.

Attorneys: Local stay-at-home orders on shaky legal ground
Attorneys say local stay-at-home orders may be on shaky legal ground in the wake of a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision invalidating a statewide mandate. About a dozen Wisconsin counties have implemented their own stay-at-home orders since the high court on Wednesday struck down Gov. Tony Evers' order outlawing nonessential travel and closing nonessential businesses. The court ruled 4-3 that the order went too far. The Wisconsin Counties Association posted a warning on its website Wednesday saying local stay-at-home orders could be challenged on the same grounds.

May 14, 2020

Wisconsin governor warns of 'massive confusion' after ruling
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is warning of "massive confusion" after the state Supreme Court tossed out the Democrat's stay-at-home order and Republicans said they may leave it up to local governments to enact their own rules for combating the coronavirus pandemic. The court order threw communities into chaos. Some bars opened immediately while local leaders in other areas moved to keep strict restrictions in place to prevent further spread of the virus. After a Thursday meeting with Evers, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said GOP lawmakers and the governor may not be able to reach agreement and that a statewide policy might not be needed.

Wisconsin officials announce 11,275 COVID-19 cases, 434 deaths
Wisconsin health officials announced 11,275 positive COVID-19 cases and 434 deaths Thursday. There are also 1,939 hospitalizations associated with the disease.

Wisconsin may leave virus restrictions to local leaders
Wisconsin no longer has a statewide approach for combating the coronavirus pandemic after the state Supreme Court tossed out the Democratic governor's stay-at-home order. And a Republican legislative leader said Thursday that it may be best to leave it up to local governments to set policies. The court order threw communities into chaos. Some bars opening immediately, while local leaders in other areas moved to keep strict restrictions in place to prevent further spread of the virus. Wisconsin is just one of several states where governors have run into increasing resistance from Republican legislators over coronavirus restrictions.

Bars, restaurants reopen after stay-at-home order overruled by state supreme court

Wisconsin bars and restaurants opened back up after the Wisconsin State Supreme Court's ruling to overturn an extension to Governor Tony Ever's safer-at-home order.

People eager to return to their favorite spots quickly packed many restaurants and bars. Some owners that did decide to open put more cleaning measures in place, and are happy to reopen.

Kenosha County officials to uphold Gov. Evers' extended stay-at-home order

In response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision Wednesday overturning the state's Safer-at-Home order, Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit issued a local order continuing the regulations within the county until May 26.

Freiheit noted that Kenosha County remains behind other counties and the state when it comes to high infection growth rate and positive test rate. She said relaxing the social distancing restrictions now would almost certainly result in a spike in cases locally.

"We must stay the course and remain calm until Kenosha County is safe to open for all residents," Freiheit said. "The consequences of relaxing Safer-At-Home before the data and science suggests, would be devastating to our community."

As the county's health officer, Freiheit has the authority to issue this emergency order under Wisconsin Statute 252.03. The local order takes effect at 12 a.m. Thursday, May 14, and continues all of the provisions of the original state order, including its expiration at 8 a.m. May 26.

May 13, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Evers' stay-at-home order extension
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Tony Evers' administration overstepped its authority when it extended the governor's stay-at-home order until May 26. Republican legislators asked the conservative-controlled Supreme Court to block the extension and let them offer their own recovery plan. They argued that the extension amounted to state Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm writing rules without legislative input. The ruling marks another defeat for Evers as Republicans continue to chip away at the Democratic governor's authority.

Wisconsin officials announce 10,902 COVID-19 cases, 421 deaths
Wisconsin health officials announced 10,902 positive COVID-19 cases and 421 COVID-19-related deaths. There are also 1,908 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state.

DNR to reopen 8 state shooting ranges
The Department of Natural Resources plans to reopen eight state shooting ranges on Thursday. Shooters will have to maintain social distancing and observe capacity limits at some locations. All visitors are encouraged to wear face masks and gloves as well as bring hand sanitizer. People should wait in their vehicles until enough space opens up for them to use the range. Shooters should leave immediately when they're finished and not linger to visit.

In-person voting rises in Wisconsin's 2nd pandemic election
The share of voters casting absentee ballots in Wisconsin's special congressional election Tuesday was well below that in last month's statewide election. About half the ballots in Tuesday's 7th District election were absentee, compared to more than 70 percent in the statewide spring primary. Both elections went forward with in-person voting despite the pandemic. The reduced absentee rate Tuesday could be another sign that people's fears about leaving home amid the pandemic are waning. But it also may reflect growing Republican skepticism about Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order since the 7th is deeply conservative territory.

Wisconsin hair salon owner sues over stay-at-home order
The owner of a Christian-based children's hair salon has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Gov. Tony Evers' "safer at home" order that closed nonessential businesses is a violation of free speech and religious rights. The lawsuit filed Tuesday is the third legal challenge to the order issued by the Democratic governor that runs until May 26. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the latest lawsuit was filed by Jessica Netzel, the owner of Kingdom Kuts in Appleton. Netzel argues that the order violates her ability to practice her religion because she cannot attend in-person services or operate her Christian-based hair salon.

MotoAmerica to be held at Road America without fans
Road America in Elkhart Lake says it will still hold its season-opening races at the track the last weekend of May. But, the races will be held without fans. MotoAmerica announced Tuesday that it will still hold its season-opening races at the track May 29-31. Road America general manager Mike Kertscher says the event draws competitors and fans from around the world, but because of the uncertainty for public gatherings in Wisconsin, they'll proceed without fans attendance. The Journal Sentinel says the series' five racing classes - Superbike, Supersport, Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Stock 1000 and Twins Cup - will compete in the opener.

May 12, 2020

Poll shows smaller majority supports 'safer at home' order
A majority of Wisconsin residents still support the "safer at home" order issued by Gov. Tony Evers in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but that support is down from where it was six weeks ago. That is what the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Tuesday found. In March, 86% of respondents said the order that closed nonessential businesses, shut down schools and encouraged people to stay at home was appropriate. But in May, 59% said "safer at home" was appropriate. In March, 71% of respondents thought normalcy would return by August, but just 38% think that now.

115th Fighter Wing flyover salutes COVID-19 workers
Across Wisconsin, F-16 pilots from the Wisconsin Air National Guard will be saluting health care workers and first responders on the front lines of the cornonavirus pandemic by flying over 17 cities. From Kenosha to La Crosse to Eau Claire and Green Bay, the salute called Wings Over Wisconsin, is scheduled for Tuesday evening. Four F-16s from the Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing are participating in Operation American Resolve, which is a national campaign to show appreciation for healthcare and front line workers. The Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force's Thunderbirds have performed flyovers to thank health care workers across the U.S.

May 11, 2020

Wisconsin announces 199 new COVID-19 cases, 9 additional deaths
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 199 new positive coronavirus cases on their website Monday with 9 additional deaths. The state has a total of 10,418 cases and 409 deaths from COVID-19.

Evers allows nearly all retail stores to open with limits
Gov. Tony Evers has issued an order allowing nearly all nonessential businesses to reopen as long as they serve no more than five customers at a time. Evers' move Monday partially lifts the restriction that has kept such retailers closed for weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It takes effect immediately. The latest directive addresses criticism that it was unfair to allow essential businesses such as grocery stores to remain open while nonessential ones, like flower shops, had to close close under Evers' "safer at home" order, which runs until May 26. Evers also strongly encouraged everyone in the opened stores to wear masks.

Free COVID-19 testing sites open in Madison and Milwaukee
Free community testing sites for the coronavirus have opened in Milwaukee and Madison. The sites that opened Monday expand on the number of locations where people can show up without an appointment to get screened for the highly contagious virus without having to leave their vehicles, though the sites also offer walk-up testing. The sites are part of the state's effort to create testing sites in areas with a known lack of access to testing or with community spread of the disease. Health officials are urging anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in close contact with someone who has had the disease to get tested.

Majority of school districts request teaching hours waiver
Nearly 60% of school districts in Wisconsin have asked the state Department of Public Instruction to waive its requirement on a set number of instructional hours due to the coronavirus. The department has received waiver requests from 248 of the state's 421 school districts. COVID-19 canceled in-person classes beginning March 18 for the remainder of the school year. The State Journal reports DPI requires a minimum number of annual instructional hours: 437 for kindergarten, 1,050 for grades 1 through 6, and 1,137 for grades 7 through 12. Districts have until the end of the academic year on June 30 to apply for a waiver.

May 10, 2020

Wisconsin COVID-19 death toll hits 400; total cases top 10K
Wisconsin's COVID-19 death toll has reached 400. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported two new deaths on Sunday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports two deaths were reported in Milwaukee County on Sunday morning. The coronavirus has killed 225 people in Milwaukee County as of Sunday. Milwaukee County has 3,952 positive cases as of Sunday. That's nearly 40 percent of the total cases in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has now reported more than 10,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The number of positive test results statewide grew to 10,219 on Sunday, up 280 from the previous day.

May 8, 2020

Waukesha County residents mount 2nd stay-at-home lawsuit
Two Waukesha County residents have quietly mounted their own challenge to the restrictions. Jere' Fabick and Larry Chapman filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court on Monday arguing that the order violates their constitutional rights to freedom of speech, religion and travel. Fabick is a member of the board for The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank. Chapman is a member of the Lakewood Baptist Church in Pewaukee.

The court hasn't decided whether to take the case.

May 7, 2020

Wisconsin health officials announce 9,215 COVID-19 cases, 374 deaths
Wisconsin officials announced 9,215 COVID-19 cases and 374 COVID-19-related deaths Thursday. There are also 1,732 hospitalizations related to the disease.

Wisconsin Republicans push for regional reopening
Wisconsin Republicans in more rural parts of the state are joining with business owners to push for a regional reopening plan to give the economy a boost as it struggles under the coronavirus pandemic. The state Department of Workforce Development on Thursday also sounded a warning that the state fund that pays unemployment claims could run out of money in five months. Meanwhile, Gov. Tony Evers says he worried that loosening restrictions designed to curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus in some parts of the state could lead to regional outbreaks.

Cross orders UW to prepare to cut courses, brace for layoffs
University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross is ordering campuses to prepare to cut academic programs and brace for layoffs as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic deepens. Cross says he wants campuses to complete evaluations of their programs by January with an eye toward cost, whether they're duplicated at another campus and student demand. System officials will decide which courses stay. Cross says campuses should be ready to move forward with scaled-down course catalogs by fall 2021. Cross also says he wants to consolidate functions such as information technology and human resource operations by January 2022.

May 6, 2020

Wisconsin officials announced 8,901 COVID-19 cases, 362 deaths
Wisconsin health officials announced 8,901 COVID-19 cases and 362 deaths in the state Wednesday. There were also 1,694 hospitalizations.

Bad budget news for Wisconsin as pressure mounts to reopen
New budget figures for Wisconsin show an $870 million drop off in tax collections last month, the latest stark sign of how much the coronavirus pandemic is hurting the state's economy. The bleak but expected budget figures delivered to state lawmakers Wednesday come as pressure continues to build on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to reopen business in the state faster and loosen his "safer at home" order that runs until May 26. Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde joined the conservative chorus against Evers, launching a statewide television ad Wednesday arguing for the immediate reopening the state.

No spike, but no certainty on fallout of Wisconsin election
Wisconsin's presidential primary election held last month in the face of the coronavirus pandemic drew concern from doctors, voters, poll workers and politicians. Now far beyond the 14-day incubation period for COVID-19 it remains largely unknown just how many people contracted the virus at the polls. Public health experts say a lack of testing, not enough contact tracing, difficulty in pinpointing where a person got infected and the fact that some people are infected but have no symptoms and therefore don't get tested, all make it nearly impossible to quantify the impact COVID-19 during the election.

May 5, 2020

Conservative justices bash Wisconsin stay-at-home order
Conservative justices who control the Wisconsin Supreme Court are raising questions about the legality of Gov. Tony Evers' administration's stay-at-home order.
The court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit Republican legislators filed challenging the order.
The Republicans argue that state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm exceeded her authority when she extended the order until May 26.
Justice Rebecca Bradley said during the arguments that the state constitution doesn't bestow such sweeping authority on an unelected official.
Justice Dan Kelly said the order creates new criminal penalties, a power reserved for the Legislature.

Wisconsin Supreme Court hearing case over COVID-19 order
The future of Wisconsin's "safer at home" order that sets to run until May 26 is at stake in a case brought by Republican lawmakers being heard by the conservative-controlled state Supreme Court. The case being argued Tuesday seeks to block the stay-at-home order issued last month by Evers' health department secretary as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order closing most nonessential businesses was issued under powers of the state health secretary to deal with outbreaks of communicable diseases. Republicans argued that Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm exceeded her authority with the order.

Private college closing, in part citing COVID-19
A private Catholic college in Manitowoc says it will close for good, citing in part the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Holy Family College, formerly known as Silver Lake College, will lay off employees in June and eliminate any remaining jobs by the end of August. WLUK-TV reports the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries announced the decision on Monday. Leaders say enrollment and fundraising challenges were made more difficult with COVID-19. The college, founded in 1935, has about 360 students enrolled in the spring semester. A limited number of already scheduled summer term classes will be offered to allow students to complete their degree requirements.

May 4, 2020

All Wisconsin nursing home residents to get COVID-19 test
Gov. Tony Evers has announced a plan to expand testing for COVID-19, including every nursing home resident and worker. Evers announced the increased testing Monday ahead of his first meeting with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to discuss the next steps in response to the pandemic as pressure builds to more rapidly reopen the state's economy.

Evers, legislative leaders to meet, discuss coronavirus
Gov. Tony Evers was scheduled to meet late Monday afternoon with both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to discuss next steps in Wisconsin's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting comes the day before the Wisconsin Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case brought by the Republican legislative leaders seeking to block Evers' "safer at home" order that currently runs until May 26. Both Evers and Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald expressed a willingness on Friday to meet. Republicans have been increasingly critical of Evers' approach to the COVID-19 outbreak.

May 3, 2020

Wisconsin reports 304 new COVID-19 cases, 5 new deaths
Wisconsin health officials confirm another jump in new COVID-19 cases. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Sunday reported 304 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, raising the state's total to 7,964 cases. Wisconsin recorded five new deaths from the disease, bringing the state's total to 339. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Milwaukee County's coronavirus death rose to 187 as of Sunday morning after four new deaths were reported. Milwaukee County reports 3,249 cases, an increase of more than 100 since Saturday. Gov. Tony Evers on Sunday announced additional drive-through coronavirus test sites in northwestern Wisconsin.

May 2, 2020

Judge: Strip clubs should be eligible for emergency loans
A judge says four Wisconsin strip clubs should be eligible to receive emergency loans offered by the federal government to offset losses due to the coronavirus, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Saturday.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Friday issued a preliminary injunction in favor of the owners of four Silk Exotic Gentleman's Clubs in Milwaukee and Middleton.

Wisconsin health officials announce 334 deaths in 7,660 COVID-19 cases
Wisconsin officials announced 7,660 COVID-19 cases and 334 deaths in the state. There were also 75,570 negative test results and 1,591 hospitalizations.

May 1, 2020

Wisconsin court sets argument date for stay-at-home lawsuit
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for next week in a lawsuit seeking to block an extension of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order. Republican legislators filed the lawsuit directly with the high court last month after state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm extended the order to May 26. The lawmakers say Palm lacked the authority to extend the order and asked the court to issue a temporary injunction blocking it. The court ruled 6-1 on Friday afternoon to hold oral arguments on Tuesday morning.

Wisconsin health officials announce 327 deaths in 7,314 COVID-19 cases
Wisconsin officials announced 7,314 COVID-19 cases and 327 deaths in the state. There were also 72,566 negative test results and 1,544 hospitalizations.

April 30, 2020

Wisconsin health officials announce 316 deaths in 6,854 COVID-19 cases
Wisconsin officials announced 6,854 COVID-19 cases and 316 deaths in the state. There were also 69,394 negative test results and 1,512 hospitalizations.

Wisconsin businesses urge legislators to OK reopening plan
Wisconsin's chamber of commerce is urging legislators to adopt its business reopening plan. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Executive Vice President Scott Manley says Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order is crushing the economy and that the coronavirus appears under control in the state. Manley addressed the Assembly's Republican-controlled state affairs committee during a video conference Thursday. WMC's plan would allow all businesses to reopen but assign them risk factors and order them to take precautions ranging from social distancing to protective gear for workers. Committee Democrats complained that no laborers or health officials were invited to speak.

April 29, 2020

Gov. Evers' attorney warns of safe-at-home patchwork
Gov. Tony Evers' attorney is warning that Wisconsin would see a confusing patchwork of county stay-at-home orders if the state Supreme Court strikes down the existing statewide mandate. Republican legislators asked the conservative-leaning high court earlier this month to strike down Evers' statewide order, saying the mandate is crushing the state's economy. Multiple groups filed briefs with the court Wednesday arguing for and against the statewide order. Church groups and legal scholars contend Evers is well within his rights to impose the order. Conservative groups, including organizations representing hunters and fishing guides, insist the governor overstepped his authority. Evers' attorney, Ryan Nilsestuen, told reporters during a conference call that if the court strikes down the statewide order counties would be on their own and would start issuing localized stay-at-home orders. He said the rules would change for anyone crossing a county line.

Wisconsin officials announce 6,520 COVID-19 cases, 308 deaths
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 6,520 COVID-19 cases, with 308 deaths. There were 66,630 negative test results and 1,489 hospitalizations.

52 who worked or voted in Wisconsin election have COVID-19
More than 50 people who voted in person or worked the polls during Wisconsin's election earlier this month have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. But there are no plans to move or otherwise alter a special congressional election coming in less than two weeks. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tried to move to a mail-order election but was blocked by the Republican Legislature and conservative controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court. He said he was confident that the May 12 special congressional election in a mostly rural district could be held safely.

Republicans praise Evers' spending cuts and call for more
Gov. Tony Evers' has ordered state agencies to reduce spending by 5% between now and July, drawing praise from Republicans who called for even more cuts. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and budget committee co-chair John Nygren both said Wednesday that spending should be frozen starting in July. Wisconsin is grappling with steep revenue drops due to the coronavirus pandemic. Evers earlier this month told President Donald Trump in a letter that the state could lose as much as $2 million over the next year.

UW-Madison orders furloughs through October
University of Wisconsin-Madison officials are ordering most employees to take furlough days through October and top campus leaders will take pay cuts as the school tries to absorb a $100 million loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Frack, mining plants continue to shut down
The coronavirus pandemic has had a ripple effect on frack sand mining plants in Wisconsin. At least three plants have shut down this month amid crashing oil and gas prices. The latest plant closure was reported this week to the state Department of Workforce Development. Eau Claire-based Smart Sand said it was laying off 55 workers at its plant in Tomah, the Journal Sentinel reported. Hi-Crush Inc. said it would permanently lay off 67 workers. A total of 35 jobs will be cut at a plant in Whitehall and 32 at a plant in Taylor.

April 28, 2020

Wisconsin COVID-19 deaths hit 300
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 208 new coronavirus cases and 19 additional deaths, bringing the state's total positive cases to 6,289 with 300 deaths in the state.

Unions seek to join lawsuit challenging stay-at-home order
A group of labor unions are looking to join a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order. Republican legislators asked the state Supreme Court on April 21 to block the order, arguing state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm issued the order unilaterally without legislative approval. The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, Madison Teachers Inc., SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 filed a motion with the court Tuesday morning seeking to intervene in the case. The unions argue the Legislature has no standing to sue and Palm was within her rights when she issued the order.

Evers reopens 34 Wisconsin parks, natural areas
Thirty-four Wisconsin state parks and recreational areas closed for three weeks will be able to reopen as temperatures increase across the state and cases of coronavirus level off. Gov. Tony Evers announced the reopenings on Tuesday. Evers ordered the closure of 40 state parks and recreational areas on April 10, citing overcrowding that could hasten the spread of COVID-19, mounting trash, dwindling cleaning supplies and vandalism. The closures included some of the state's most popular hiking and camping destinations, all in southern and southeastern Wisconsin. Popular parks that will reopen include Devil's Lake, Governor Dodge and Kettle Moraine.

April 27, 2020

Positive COVID-19 cases top 6K in Wisconsin; 281 deaths
Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 170 new positive coronavirus cases Monday with 9 additional deaths in the state, bringing the total number of cases up to 6,081 with 281 deaths.

Evers loosens restrictions, allowing more businesses to open
Dog groomers, upholsterers, lawnmower repair shops and other nonessential businesses in Wisconsin that can offer contactless services will be allowed to reopen starting Wednesday. Gov. Tony Evers on Monday announced the latest loosening of the stay-at-home order designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The order also allows for outdoor recreational rentals, such as boats, golf carts and kayaks, and the opening of self-service or automatic car washes. All of the businesses must operate free from contact with customers. Meanwhile, a cluster of cases led to the closure of the JBS Packerland meatpacking plant in Green Bay.

JBS closes Green Bay beef plant over virus infections
A beef production plant in Green Bay has become the latest to shut down due to coronavirus infections among employees. JBS USA said Sunday that the JBS Packerland plant would be closed temporarily. The Green Bay Press Gazette reported that at least 189 COVID-19 infections had been linked to JBS Packerland as of Friday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brown County overall grew to 776 on Sunday, the state Department of Health Services said. The JBS Packerland plant employs more than 1,200 people and feeds nearly 3.2 million people per day, the company said. Employees will be paid during the closure.

April 26, 2020

Positive COVID-19 cases nearly 6K in Wisconsin; 272 deaths
The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Wisconsin is nearing 6,000. Wisconsin health officials reported Sunday the number of people in the state testing positive for COVID-19 has grown to 5,911, up 224 from the day before. The number of deaths attributed to the coronavirus in Wisconsin grew Sunday to 272. That's up six from the previous day. Statewide, 59,235 tests have come back negative. Hospitalizations increased to 1,397, up from 1,376 on Saturday. Officials said 24% of people who have tested positive for coronavirus in Wisconsin have been hospitalized.

April 25, 2020

Wisconsin reports largest 1-day increase of COVID-19 cases
Wisconsin health officials report that 331 tests for the coronavirus have come back positive in the last 24 hours, the largest single-day rise since the outbreak started.

An additional four people have died. The update raises the total number of positive cases to 5,687 and the statewide deaths to 266.

State Department of Health Services data shows that 24 percent of infected people have been hospitalized.

The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Evers' stay-at-home extension draws anger, pleas for help
Wisconsin residents bombarded Gov. Tony Evers' office in the hours surrounding his decision to extend the state's stay-at-home order with hundreds of emails blasting him for destroying the state's economy and begging him to let their business remain open, records The Associated Press obtained show. Evers' website received about 6,435 messages between the morning of April 16 and 5 p.m. on April 17, the day Evers extended stay-at-home to May 26. A majority of senders opposed the order. Some called the extension "political suicide" for the governor.

April 24, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects prisoner release request
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit seeking the release of inmates from state prisons as a way to reduce the risk of them contracting the coronavirus. The court on Friday declined to take up a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin on behalf of two inmates with preexisting conditions. The court, in an unsigned order, noted steps taken by the state Department of Corrections to mitigate risks to inmates. The court said it was not within its powers to assign someone to determine which inmates should be released, as the lawsuit sought.

As hundreds protest Wisconsin restrictions, some in GOP skip
The latest demonstration by right-wing groups against measures to contain the coronavirus has arrived in Wisconsin. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Statehouse on Friday in one of the largest such events in recent days. But as with some earlier events, one group was noticeably absent: the state's most prominent Republicans. That includes Sen. Ron Johnson, a Trump ally, who says he is sheltering in place at his home. Johnson's distance and ambivalence is shared by many Republicans as they warily watch the protests. Six months from an election, the demonstrations are forcing some Republicans to reckon with a restless right flank advocating an unpopular opinion.

Wisconsin chamber of commerce calls for opening businesses
Wisconsin's chamber of commerce is calling for opening businesses starting May 4. That's three weeks sooner than is called for under Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce released its plan Friday. It came hours before protesters were expected to converge on the Capitol to call for reopening the state. Evers' current order closing most nonessential businesses runs until May 26. Republicans are asking the state Supreme Court to block it and force the Department of Health Services to propose a new rule.

April 23, 2020

Wisconsin labs nearing testing capacity needed to reopen
Wisconsin health officials say labs in the state are closing in on Gov. Tony Evers' coronavirus testing goal. Evers' plan to reopen businesses hinges on being able to test at least 85,000 people a week. That equates to about 12,140 tests a day. State Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said during a video conference Thursday that 48 labs are now testing and the daily capacity stands at 10,937 tests. State health officials say they're now telling physicians to order tests for anyone who presents with symptoms of the coronavirus.

Wisconsin health officials announce 5,052 positive COVID-19 cases, with 257 deaths
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 5,052 positive COVID-19 cases and 257 deaths from COVID-19 complications. There are 1,318 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 51,456 negative tests.

Democrats expect 'in-person convention,' party chairman says
Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez says he expects to hold an in-person convention in Milwaukee to nominate Joe Biden for president, though he didn't rule out the potential that portions of the event would be conducted virtually. The convention is slated for the week of Aug. 17. It was postponed from July 13-16 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Perez told reporters on a telephone call Thursday that they are planning for an in-person convention, but "at the same time, we do not put our public health heads in the sand." Biden has been more circumspect, stating that the convention might have to be entirely virtual.

April 22, 2020

Wisconsin health officials announce 4,845 positive COVID-19 cases, with 246 deaths
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 4,845 positive COVID-19 cases and 246 deaths from COVID-19 complications. There are 1,302 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and 49,502 negative tests.

Wisconsin virus order protesters vow to rally without permit
Organizers of a rally against Wisconsin's stay-at-home order say they're proceeding with the event on April 24 even though their permit to hold it on the grounds of the state Capitol has been denied. The decision to proceed without a permit comes as two county sheriffs have voiced opposition to the stay-at-home order, Republicans are trying to block it in court and other local governments are charting their own course forward. The planned rally is the latest in a string of events in Wisconsin and elsewhere organized by opponents of orders designed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

April 21, 2020

Pence visits Wisconsin, thanks GE for ventilators
Vice President Mike Pence highlighted the manufacturing of ventilators during a visit to battleground Wisconsin on Tuesday, a trip that Democrats used to blame the Trump administration for failing to deliver needed supplies to the state to fight the coronavirus.

Pence toured a GE Healthcare plant in Madison which has doubled its production of ventilators over the past month. GE said it plans to double production again by the end of June.

Pence used the opportunity to underscore the availability of ventilators across the country, despite complaints to the contrary. He also thanked GE workers for stepping up, working long hours and saving lives.

Wisconsin Republicans sue governor over stay-at-home order
Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature have asked the state Supreme Court to block an extension of the Democratic governor's stay-at-home order. The lawsuit came Tuesday as Vice President Mike Pence toured a GE Healthcare facility in Madison that is manufacturing ventilators. Pence says social distancing and other mitigation efforts are working to slow the spread of the virus. The lawsuit was expected after Gov. Tony Evers' health secretary last week ordered nonessential businesses to remain closed until May 26. The original stay-at-home order had been scheduled to end on Friday.

Officials link 7 Wisconsin virus cases to in-person voting
Milwaukee's health commissioner says officials have identified seven people who may have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin. Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik says six of the cases involve Milwaukee voters and one is a Milwaukee poll worker. The Journal Sentinel reports Kowalik said Monday officials hope to have additional information on the cases by the end of the week. Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Monday there were no signs yet of a surge in cases from the election as some feared. Milwaukee voters stood in long lines, many for hours, to cast their ballots.

April 20, 2020

Supreme Court to hear arguments in challenge to veto powers
The state Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a pair of lawsuits seeking to rein in the governor's partial veto authority. The cases could impact how much power the governor has to unilaterally alter final spending figures in state budgets. In the first case, three taxpayers are looking to overturn four of Gov. Tony Evers' partial vetoes in the 2019-21 state budget. They argue Evers illegally created new laws the Legislature never intended. In the other case, Wisconsin Small Business United is challenging former Gov. Scott Walker vetoes in the 2017-19 budget that changed dates.

Wisconsin Tavern League calls for opening bars by May 1
The Tavern League of Wisconsin is calling on Gov. Tony Evers to allow bars and restaurants to reopen on May 1, more than three weeks ahead of the end of the current stay-at-home order that has forced the closure of most nonessential businesses. The lobbying group argued in a statement late Sunday that bars, restaurants and supper clubs could reopen by implementing a variety of safety measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19. The governor is facing increasing pressure from businesses and Republican lawmakers to reduce the time of the stay-at-home-order which he extended last week from April 24 to May 26.

COVID-19 survivor urges people to stop complaining over extended stay-at-home order
A Wisconsin woman who nearly lost her ability to walk after suffering from COVID-19 is imploring people to stop complaining and follow social distancing orders.

35-year-old Leah Blomberg was bedridden just a few weeks ago as she fought off the COVID-19 virus.

Blomberg said she had no underlying health issues but her condition got so bad that she had to be placed on a ventilator and learn how to walk again due to muscle atrophy.

Now back at home, Blomberg said she disagrees with those who are complaining about Gov. Evers' decision to extend the state's stay-at-home order through May 26.

In a strongly worded Facebook post that's been shared dozens of times, Blomberg told people to be thankful for their health.

"The people complaining, haven't lost anyone or don't know anyone close to them that's been through this," Blomberg said.

April 19, 2020
Wisconsin has a total of 4,346 positive COVID-19 cases and 220 deaths.

April 18, 2020

2 teams investigate Wisconsin virus cases, others protest
There was new testing and protesting in Wisconsin Saturday as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose to nearly 4,200 and the death toll increased to 212. Hundreds of protesters stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Brookfield to protest Gov. Tony Evers' decision to extend Wisconsin's stay-at-home order through May 26. The group is calling for the reopening of churches, parks and the state economy. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was in the Green Bay area investigating a recent surge of virus cases

Federal investigators looking into Brown County virus surge
Brown County officials say federal investigators plan to be in the Green Bay area this weekend to look into a recent upsurge in COVID-19 cases. County officials requested help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after the number of cases increased more than fourfold in just 10 days. The Green Bay Press Gazette reports that officials are worried that the coronavirus is being transported to nearby counties by people who come into Brown County to work or conduct business, then return home.

April 17, 2020

Wisconsin's bipartisan detente in fighting coronavirus ends
Wisconsin has a total of 4,045 positive COVID-19 cases and 205 deaths.

Wisconsin's tenuous bipartisan detente in fighting the coronavirus pandemic broke down this week with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' decision to extend a stay-at-home order through Memorial Day.

That divide will likely result in lawsuits that may determine who has the power to say when the state can start to reopen.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Friday on WISN-AM that his goal was to have a legal strategy in place for next week.

Other Republicans are calling for Evers' health secretary to be fired and for limits to be placed on powers of the state health department.

April 16, 2020

Wisconsin joins Midwest partnership to coordinate reopening of economies
Wisconsin has a total of 3,875 positive COVID-19 cases and 197 deaths.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Indiana Gov. Mike Holcomb, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Kentucky Gov. Andy Bashear are joining together to coordinate the reopening of the regional economy.

In a joint statement, the governors said, "We are doing everything we can to protect the people of our states and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we are eager to work together to mitigate the economic crisis this virus has caused in our region. Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet."

The statement said there will be four key factors in determining when to reopen:

-Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
-Enhanced ability to test and trace.
-Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
-Best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

Gov. Evers extends Wisconsin's 'stay-at-home' order
Gov. Tony Evers extended Wisconsin's stay-at-home order through May 26 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. The latest order does allow golf courses to open and for nonessential businesses to make deliveries and have curbside pickup available.

Cudahy meat processing plant to close due to COVID-19 crisis
Smithfield Foods will temporarily close its meat processing plant in Cudahy, Wisconsin because of the coronavirus pandemic. The plant near Milwaukee will be closed for two weeks. Virginia-based Smithfield Foods has reported 518 infections in employees in Sioux Falls and 126 more in people connected to them. Smithfield said a small number of employees at the Wisconsin plant have tested positive for the virus.

University of Wisconsin System moves toward temporary layoffs as COVID-19 revenue losses pile up
The University of Wisconsin System regents are set to take the first steps toward furloughing employees as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on. The regents' executive committee is set to meet to adjust personnel policies to allow system President Ray Cross and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank to create furlough policies. System officials estimated that they'll lose $170 million for the spring semester alone through refunds for on-campus parking, dining and housing serves, technology purchases to move classes online, payments to student workers who have lost their jobs and athletic revenue losses.

April 15, 2020

Wisconsin's COVID-19 death toll nears 200
Wisconsin has a total of 3,721 positive COVID-19 cases and 182 deaths.

April 14, 2020

Coronavirus cases top 3.5K in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a total of 3,555 positive coronavirus cases and 170 deaths.

April 13, 2020

Wisconsin's COVID-19 death toll climbs above 140
Wisconsin has a total of 3,341 positive coronavirus cases and 144 deaths.

April 10, 2020

Coronavirus cases surpass 3K in Wisconsin
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website, the state has a total of 3,068 positive coronavirus cases and 128 deaths. The website also stated that 904 of their cases were currently hospitalized at a 29% rate.

April 9, 2020

Wisconsin's COVID-19 cases near 3K, with 111 deaths
The number of coronavirus cases in Wisconsin has reached 2,885, with 111 deaths, state health officials announced Thursday.

Gov. Evers orders 40 state parks, recreational areas to close to limit COVID-19 spread
Gov. Tony Evers has ordered the closure 40 Wisconsin's state parks, forests and recreational areas primarily in south and southeast Wisconsin starting due to overcrowding, litter, vandalism and to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

He warned Thursday that more closures may be coming if the public does not follow social distancing guidelines and vandalism continues.

April 8, 2020

Wisconsin's COVID-19 death toll nears 100
Wisconsin health officials have announced 2,756 positive COVID-19 cases, with 99 total deaths.

April 6, 2020

Wisconsin high court overturns Gov. Evers' order to postpone primary
Wisconsin's conservative Supreme Court has ruled that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers could not postpone the state's presidential primary, striking down his order to move the election to June over coronavirus outbreak fears.

Monday morning, Evers issued an executive order in an attempt to delay the state's scheduled presidential primary election for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court ruled 4-2 that Evers lacked the authority to move the election on his own.

The decision means the election will occur as originally scheduled on Tuesday.

Wisconsin's coronavirus cases rise to 2,440, with 77 deaths

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services website shows 173 new coronavirus cases with 9 additional deaths. The latest numbers bring the total number up to 2,440 positive COVID-19 case with 77 deaths in the state.

Gov. Evers issues order to postpone presidential primary
Gov. Tony Evers has issued an executive order to delay the state's scheduled Tuesday presidential primary election for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Wisconsin 2020 primary: Executive order postpones election due to coronavirus pandemic

April 5, 2020

Wisconsin's COVID-19 death toll nears 70
The state of Wisconsin has 2,267 positive COVID-19 cases, with 68 deaths, health officials said.

April 4, 2020

Presidential primary to be held as scheduled despite COVID-19 concerns, Republicans say
Wisconsin's primary election will continue as planned despite concerns about the public health risks of the coronavirus crisis.

Gov. Evers' called a special session Saturday and asked Republicans to shift the election to all-mail with absentee voting into late May. Republicans said they wouldn't do it, and immediately adjourned upon meeting.

Wisconsin Republicans have also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block extended absentee voting in Tuesday's primary. They argued in a filing Saturday that the extension by a federal judge this week is inherently unfair by creating two different deadlines for in-person and absentee voters.

Coronavirus cases surpass 2K in Wisconsin
The state of Wisconsin has 2,112 positive COVID-19 cases, with 56 deaths, health officials said.

April 3, 2020

2 p.m.

Wisconsin health officials said the state has 1,916 positive COID-19 cases, with 37 deaths.

April 1, 2020

2 p.m.

Wisconsin officials announced 1,550 COVID-19 cases, with 24 deaths in the state.

11 a.m.

Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for Wisconsin to delay its April 7 primary.

"People should not be forced to put their lives on the line to vote, which is why 15 states are now following the advice of public health experts and delaying their elections. We urge Wisconsin to join them," Sanders said. "The state should delay Tuesday's vote, extend early voting and work to move entirely to vote-by-mail. While we wait for a decision, we urge our supporters to vote-by-mail."

March 31, 2020

Wisconsin officials announce 1,351 COVID-19 cases statewide and 16 deaths.

March 30, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services' daily outbreak tracker shows 1,221 cases statewide and 14 deaths related to COVID-19.

7:19 a.m.

The coronavirus has delivered a severe blow to Wisconsin dairy farmers who rely on selling milk to restaurants, schools and the hospitality industry.

The Journal Sentinel reports about one-third of Wisconsin dairy products, mainly cheese, are sold in the food service trade.

Farmers say the coronavirus outbreak has caused milk prices to drop to unprofitable levels this spring, at a time when money is needed for the upcoming planting season.

Dairy farmers are worried about processing plants closing or cutting production, forcing them to dump milk.

7:40 a.m.

Preparations for Wisconsin's presidential primary and spring election that's just a week away on April 7 continue, even in the face of a growing number of COVID-19 cases statewide and lawsuits seeking a delay and other changes to how the election is run.

Monday was the deadline for voters to register to vote absentee. Once registered, they had until Thursday to request an absentee ballot.

There remains a pending lawsuit in federal court that seeks to postpone the election, move to a mail-in voting only and make a number of other changes to facilitate more ballots being cast.

March 29, 2020

The health department announced a total of 989 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, with 13 deaths.

March 27, 2020
2 p.m.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services' daily outbreak tracker shows 842 cases statewide and 13 deaths related to COVID-19.

March 24, 2020

10:56 a.m.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an order Tuesday closing businesses deemed to be nonessential, ordered no gatherings of any size and placed restrictions on travel across Wisconsin for a month in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Evers' order has numerous exceptions, including for hospitals and other health care facilities, grocery stores, bars and restaurants offering delivery and carry out food, airports and other businesses offering essential services.

The order takes effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday and is to run through April 24, but could be altered, ended or extended.

Evers said he didn't want to have to issue such an order, but "folks need to start taking this seriously." The goal of the order, which many other states have also issued, is to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak so doctors and nurses are not overwhelmed with patients.

Under the order, Wisconsin residents will be able to go to the doctor and obtain medicine, leave home to care for family members and obtain necessary food and supplies, including pet food.

Other businesses allowed to remain open include pharmacies, gas stations, banks, laundries and dry cleaners, hardware stores, churches, funeral homes and media outlets.

6:05 a.m.

Organizers of the music festival that draws hundreds of thousands of people to Milwaukee's lakefront each summer has postponed the event for the first time in its 52-year history.

Summerfest was scheduled to run from June 24 to 29 and June 30 to July 5. But because of the uncertainty over the coronavirus, Milwaukee World Festival has cut the event to nine days across the first three weeks in September.

The new dates are Sept. 3 to 5, Sept. 10 to 12 and Sept. 17 to 19.

Organizers have not yet said whether the main acts already scheduled will be available in September, including Justin Bieber, Chris Stapleton and the Dave Matthews Band.

March 23, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services' daily outbreak tracker showed 416 cases statewide and one more death related to COVID-19, bringing that number to five.
March 22, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced the fourth COVID-19 death in the state. Health officials did not release any information at this time about the latest death, but the website indicated an additional death in Milwaukee County, where they believe they have community spread cases of the virus. A total of 281 people have been confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.



March 21, 2020

Health officials say younger people, and particularly those who are 18 to 30 years old, aren't immune to COVID-19.

March 20, 2020

3:02 p.m.

Gov. Evers issues an update to the previous order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 or more people.

The updated order maintains the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and indefinite school closures, but includes some important changes and clarifications:
  • 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.

  • Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body art establishments, and tanning facilities must close effective 5 pm on Fri., March 20, 2020.


  • 10 a.m.

    The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner said Friday it was investigating the death of a 66-year-old man who died from complications of a COVID-19 infection. This marks the third death from COVID-19 in the state.

    12:20 a.m.

    Gov. Evers' call for the Republican-controlled Legislature to waive a one-week waiting period to receive unemployment benefits in the face of soaring claims will be an early test of how well the two sides can work together in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.



    March 18, 2020

    Gov. Evers order child care settings not to operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and many not operate with more than 50 children present at a time. The order is effective at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020 and will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency or until a superseding order is issued.

    The governor also order the Department o Workforce Development (DWD) to consider a claimant to be available for suitable work during a public health emergency if the claimant is perceived by an employer as exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms preventing a return to work or the claiment is quarantined by a medical professional or under local, state or federal government direction or guidance, and one of the following applies:
  • The employer has instructed the claimant to return to work after the employee no longer exhibits symptoms, after a set amount of time to see if the disease is present, or after the quarantine is over.

  • The employer has not provided clear instructions for the claimant to return to work.

  • The claimant would be available for other work with another employer but for perceived COVID-19 symptoms preventing a return to work or the quarantine.


  • This order goes into effect immediately and remains in effect for the duration of the public health emergency.

    March 17, 2020

    1:47 p.m.

    DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm signed an order for a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 10 or more people, as directed by Gov. Evers. The order makes exemptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, grocery and convenient stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts..

    Bars and restaurants can only offer take-out or delivery.

    Additionally, schools will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency.

    The state also released that they have prioritize testing for COVID-19 because of a shortage of ingredients needed to run the tests, but added that they have evidence of community spread within Wisconsin.

    Tier One (Individuals who):
  • are critically ill and receiving ICU level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure.

  • are hospitalized (non-ICU) with fever or signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness (cough, shortness of breath) and either known exposure to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient or travel to an area with sustained community transmission.


  • Tier Two (Individual who):
  • are hospitalized (non-ICU) with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness.

  • are health are workers with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of a lower-respiratory illness, regardless of hospitalization.


  • Tests that do not meet these criteria will be sent to other labs in the state and country for testing, resulting in longer wait times.

    March 16, 2020

    4:00 pm.

    Kenosha County reports its first confirmed case of COVID-19. The infected person is a 59-year-old female with no travel history. The individual is in self-isolation at home.

    1:53 p.m.

    Governor Tony Evers directed DHS to prohibit mas gatherings of 50 people or more statewide effective March 17, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declaration or until a superseding order is issued.

    9:59 a.m.

    Twenty-nine Wisconsin residents who were aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked at the Port of Oakland in California last week were safely transported back to Wisconsin late Sunday night, where Soldiers and Airmen from the Wisconsin National Guard were waiting to transport them back to their homes for self-quarantine. Two passengers chose to remain in quarantine in Texas under the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), citing personal reasons. State officials continue to work with HHS to return home the seven Wisconsin passengers who remain in HHS custody in California.

    March 12, 2020

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Public Health Madison & Dane County announced two additional people have contracted COVID-19. Both had contact with the confirmed case reported earlier this week. Both patients are isolated at home.

    Gov. Evers declared a Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19. He also announced the state has 37 residents returning to Wisconsin from the Princess Cruise Ship who may have been exposed and need to be in monitored self quarantine for 14 days.

    March 11, 2020

    Three cases of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Fond du Lac and Waukesha counties, bringing the total in the state to six cases. The Waukesha County patient was exposed while traveling in the United States and internationally, and is currently isolated at home. Both Fond du Lac County patients were exposed while traveling, one in the U.S. and one internationally. One patient is hospitalized, while the other person is isolated at home. County health officials are working to determine the people who have been in contact with the patients to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms.

    March 10, 2020

    A third case of COVID-19 was confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Health services and Public Health Madison and Dane County. The person was exposed while traveling in the United States and is currently isolated at home. County health officials are working to determine the people who have been in contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms.

    March 9, 2020

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Pierce County Public Health Department announced today that a second person has tested positive for COVID-19. The person was exposed while traveling within the U.S. and is currently isolated at home. County health officials are working to determine the people who have been in contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms.

    February 5, 2020

    The first 2019 novel coronavirus case was confirmed in Wisconsin. The patient is an adult with a history of travel to Beijing, China prior to becoming ill and was exposed to known cases while in China. The individual is isolated at home, and is doing well.



    HOW IT SPREADS


    • Person-to-person: The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet) via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    • Spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects: It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    • When does spread happen? People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    • How efficiently does the virus spread? How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. Another factor is whether the spread continues over multiple generations of people (if spread is sustained). The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in Hubei province and other parts of China. In the United States, spread from person-to-person has occurred only among a few close contacts and has not spread any further to date.

    • There is still more to be learned: COVID-19 is an emerging disease and there is more to learn about its transmissibility, severity, and other features and what will happen in the United States. New information will further inform the risk assessment.

    SYMPTOMS


    • Fever

    • Cough

    • Shortness of breath

    * The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.

    RELATED STORIES AND RESOURCES:


    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.