Coronavirus Wisconsin: COVID-19 cases increase by 771; 0 additional deaths

Wisconsin-La Crosse halts classes for 2 weeks due to virus
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 89,956 with 1,210 deaths in the state.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 771 new coronavirus cases Monday, with zero additional deaths.

Wisconsin-La Crosse halts classes for 2 weeks due to virus

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has suspended in-person undergraduate instruction for two weeks, citing an increase of COVID-19 cases. The school said in a release it is requiring face coverings on all campus property, whether indoor or outdoor, and is expanding a previous edict for shelter in place that was limited to one residence hall. The Journal Sentinel reports that classes are now scheduled to resume in-person instruction on Sept. 28. Graduate courses will continue in their current pre-established mode.

Milwaukee archbishop urges Catholics to return to pews

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki is urging Catholics in strong terms to return to in-person Mass, provided they follow rules about wearing masks and social distancing. The order excusing Catholics from in-person worship expires on Monday. The move coincides with the archdiocese lifting restrictions that limited churches to 25% of capacity. Listecki's letter to the 10-county archdiocese said the fear of getting sick is not an excuse, and Catholics "who deliberately fail to attend Sunday Mass commit a grave sin."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he wanted to learn more about the archdiocese's updated reopening plans.

Catholic dispensation for Sunday Mass is expiring

Catholic dioceses across the state are lifting the Sunday dispensation which means parishioners are once again obligated to attend Mass. Catholic churches lifted the obligation and stopped holding in-person Mass when coronavirus cases started growing in mid-March. Masses were once again held in-person at 25% capacity in June, but the dispensation was still in place. The dispensation officially ends next week. The diocese says there are circumstances when it's OK not to follow the obligation including when someone is ill, is taking care of someone who is ill, there isn't room to safely worship, or if a person has grave fear of contracting COVID-19.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is moving all classes online and quarantining students in two of its largest dorms as it deals with rising cases of COVID-19.

According to UW-Madison data, 1,044 students and 26 employees have tested positive for the virus since Aug. 6.

Officials: Keep vote helpers out of Wisconsin nursing homes

Wisconsin election officials don't want to send special deputies into nursing homes to help residents vote in November. The state Elections Commission decided in March to keep special voting deputies out of nursing homes to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Commissioner Robert Spindell directed staff last week to research whether deputies could reenter the homes to help residents vote absentee in November. But commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe warned in a memo to commissioners that the risk of deputies spreading the coronavirus among facility residents is still too great. The commission was set to consider the memo Thursday but the meeting was postponed.
RELATED: Wisconsin face mask mandate ordered by Gov. Evers as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Evers won't say whether he'll seek mask mandate extension

Gov. Tony Evers says he has not yet decided whether to extend his statewide mask mandate that it set to expire Sept. 28. Evers spoke Wednesday during a Milwaukee Press Club event. His comments come as the state is seeing increases in COVID-19 cases, particularly on college campuses. Evers says he will "cross that bridge when we get there" when it comes to extending the mask order. But he says he believes it is legal. The order is being challenged by conservatives. A new Marquette University Law School poll showed 57% approve of Evers' handling of the coronavirus.

Milwaukee health commissioner steps down, cites obstacles

Milwaukee's health commissioner is quitting to take a new job, citing in part the partisan battles over how the coronavirus pandemic should best be managed. Jeanette Kowalik is joining a national health policy think tank in Washington, D.C. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Kowalik noted obstacles to testing, public health orders, mask messaging and limits on public gatherings as part of the pandemic response. The newspaper said Kowalik made clear in an interview that she was referring to Republican state lawmakers and the conservative-controlled state Supreme Court, who have challenged or knocked down public health orders aimed at preventing the virus' spread.
With more positive coronavirus cases in Wisconsin linked to parties and other gatherings, state health officials have released a new tool that people can use to measure risk levels of different activities. Positive COVID-19 cases tied to mass gatherings grew from 7% of cases in May to 21% in June and 20% in July. The new tool allows people to answer a series of questions to determine the risk of certain behaviors. The health department also released guidelines for school districts to follow in preventing, investigation and controlling COVID-19 outbreaks.

Chicago COVID-19 travel quarantine list

Wisconsin has also be taken off of Chicago's COVID-19 travel quarantine list, Chicago health officials announced. The state was added last month due to the rising number of cases in the state. In order to be taken off the list, the state needed to continue to stay below a threshold of 15 daily cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period.

WLS-TV contributed to this report.
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