Gov. Evers declares new public health emergency amid overwhelmed hospitals

Gov. Tony Evers addresses latest COVID-19 numbers during a Dept. of Health Services' news...
Gov. Tony Evers addresses latest COVID-19 numbers during a Dept. of Health Services' news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020.((WMTV))
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 3:08 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Gov. Tony Evers declared a new public health emergency Friday and extended the mask mandate in Wisconsin for an additional two months.

Gov. Evers issued Executive Order #95 and extended Emergency Order #1, both effective immediately. The orders will expire after 60 days unless there is a subsequent order to extend them.

The governor announced Wednesday that he would be extending these orders, as the current orders were set to expire on Saturday.

“Call it what you want, flattening the curve, stopping the spread, staying safer at home,” Gov. Evers said during a Wednesday news conference. “I’m going to call it what it is, it’s about saving lives.”

The governor noted in a news release that more than a third of all hospitals in the state are operating at peak capacity and are unable to admit new patients. Over 20% of medical surgical bed and 32% of ICU beds are also occupied currently by COVID-19 patients.

“Wisconsin hospitals are overwhelmed and facing staffing shortages,” said Gov. Evers. “We continue to see record-setting days of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. We need everyone to stay home and wear a mask if you have to you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together.”

Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm also noted that the surge in cases is overwhelming hospital workers. Over a third of Wisconsin hospitals are reporting a critical staff shortage and 42% of hospitals expect a critical staff shortage in a week.

Palm urged Wisconsinites Wednesday to not gather for Thanksgiving saying it “is not worth the risk.”

“We need every Wisconsinite to take this seriously to stay home,” Palm said. “That is why it is imperative we take action to curb transmission now – to protect residents of Wisconsin in every corner of the state.”

The Gov. noted in Executive Order #95 that there are currently 17 patients in the COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility, though dozens have entered the facility to date. The facility was created in April to accommodate an overflow of COVID-19 patients from hospitals across Wisconsin, but the first patient was admitted in October.

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