“Social distancing is on all of us.” That from Governor Tony Evers, who’s ordered drastic new measures as COVID-19 coronavirus cases grow in Wisconsin.
During a Monday afternoon conference call, Evers called on Wisconsin Department of Health Services Andrea Palm to order a ban on public gatherings of 50 or more, with the exception of critical infrastructure including hospitals, day care centers, homeless shelters and grocery stores.
The Department of Health Services reports confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin have increased from 33 to 46 as of Monday.
— WIDeptHealthServices (@DHSWI) March 16, 2020
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said some patients have only mild symptoms, but others are critically ill. He said that community spread, that is cases in people who have not traveled outside the state or nation, or had contact with those who have, is now likely.
Westergaard explained that the social distancing measures are critical to stemming the rapid spread of the disease, and preventing the health care system from being overwhelmed.
Also on Monday, Wisconsin’s State Emergency Operations Center moved to a Level 1 response in order to coordinate the work of state agencies in one location, the first time it’s been done for a health-related incident.