As promised, Governor Tony Evers on Friday declared a new public health emergency in response to Wisconsin’s coronavirus crisis.
Evers noted that “hospitals are operating at or very near full capacity and healthcare providers are struggling to keep up with the demand for care.” He also issued a new statewide mask order. Both are effective immediately and will expire after 60 days — well into the New Year.
The governor’s actions came as the state Department of Health Services reports another 78 COVID-19 related deaths for Friday.
That brings the statewide toll since the start of the pandemic to 2,954. DHS reported 6,473 new confirmed cases and 190 people newly hospitalized. The 3-day average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has doubled in the past month.
Your #COVID19_WI update w/6,473 new cases & 190 people hospitalized. The 3-day average number of people hospitalized w/#COVID19 has doubled in the past month. The ever hospitalized number is 15,526. One month ago it was 9,537. Two months ago it was 6,653: https://t.co/lkiGTjSo8P pic.twitter.com/wN3GhLOg8c
— WIDeptHealthServices (@DHSWI) November 20, 2020
More than 15,500 Wisconsinites have had to be hospitalized, up from just over 9500 a month ago.
Also on Friday, Evers met virtually with Republican legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, and new Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to discuss a pandemic response.
I’m encouraged by our productive meeting. This was a great first step towards finding agreement on how to most effectively meet our state’s health care needs. I look forward to discussions w/ my Senate colleagues & working w/ @GovEvers & @SpeakerVos towards balanced solutions.
— Sen. Devin LeMahieu (@SenatorDevin) November 20, 2020
That meeting came after months of inaction by the Republican controlled legislature, and continued GOP supported legal efforts to block Evers’ actions. Both lawmakers and the governor released statements, saying the meeting was productive, but did not provide details on what, if anything, they are prepared to agree on.