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Gov. Evers declares public health emergency for COVID-19

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sits for an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers sits for an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019.(NBC15)
Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 11:02 AM CDT
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A public health emergency

by Governor Tony Evers in response to new cases of the coronavirus.

Thursday’s declaration will direct the Department of Health Services to use all the resources necessary to respond and contain the outbreak.

“This can be a frightening time, but our state has incredible health professionals who are working to contain the spread,” said Evers. “We cannot do this alone, we need all hands on deck to protect the public from COVID-19.”

Right now, Wisconsin has seven confirmed

of COVID-19, not including the state's first patient who has since recovered. Two new cases were confirmed in Dane Co. Thurs.

Seemeyer said her agency has been planning for months for an outbreak and that her agency is ready to meet the challenge.

In addition, health officials say people should keep a two week supply of food, medicine, and any other needs on hand. Although, Seemeyer urges everyone not to start hoarding supplies.

DHS will be able to purchase, store, or distribute appropriate medications, regardless of insurance or other health coverage, as needed to respond to the emergency.

Evers said the state will focus on food security, especially for some of the most vulnerable elements of society, including children who rely upon schools and non-profits for meals and the state's homeless population.

The declaration also authorizes state funds to support local health departments with costs related to isolation and quarantine, as well as the use of the Wisconsin National Guard.

Evers announced the state has 37 residents returning to Wisconsin from the Princess Cruise ship in California who may have been exposed and need to be monitored in self quarantine for 14 days. The Wisconsin National Guard will assist in bringing those people home once they land.

“We have been working aggressively to slow the spread of COVID-19, and this declaration allows us to get the resources we need to continue to be proactive when it comes to protecting Wisconsinites,” Evers said.

He is reminding voters that they can still vote early and avoid the crowds on Election Day.

According to Seemeyer, her agency is working on further guidance for people who are traveling and for the people living at assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Insofar as public events, DHS is advising all events where more than 250 people be canceled or postponed and they will have further recommendations for smaller events soon.

The Governor's Office recommends taking the following these steps to to stay safe:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Staying home when sick.

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