One day after Wisconsin saw the highest single-day increase in COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, Governor Tony Evers has extended a State of Emergency, and reissued his original mask mandate.
“I’m announcing I’ll be declaring a new State of Emergency this week, and extending our public health emergency until January of next year,” Evers said Wednesday. “We will also be reissuing Emergency Order Number One, requiring face coverings in public places.”
Evers is also asking Republican legislative leaders to withdraw their support for a lawsuit that seeks to block the mask mandate. That suit is currently under consideration by the state Supreme Court.
“Republicans in the legislature support this effort. That’s why today I’m also once again calling on Republicans to withdraw their support for this lawsuit, and publicly support our new public health emergency, and face coverings order.”
Interim Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said hospitals are under increasing stress, as the coronavirus pandemic remains essentially unchecked in Wisconsin.
“Hospital staff are out sick, unable to come to work because they have tested positive for COVID-19, or because they are in quarantine. One-third of Wisconsin hospitals are reporting a current critical staffing shortage. Forty-one percent expect a critical staffing shortage within in a week.”
Palm said there are zero ICU beds available in one region of the state, and only nine available in another.
Palm said Wisconsin hospital staffs are doing “heroic work” amid the pandemic – and need our help.
“This is an emergency we cannot solve through health care workers and our hospital system. It is up to each of us to solve it by taking action to stop the spread in the first place. We owe it to these front line health care workers to stay home, and prevent further transmission of this virus.”