The Latest: Wisconsin COVID-19 cases grow to 1,730
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin (all times local):
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin has cracked 1,700 while 31 people have died, the state Department of Health Services reported Thursday. There have also been 461 people hospitalized to date, 27% of all confirmed cases.
Andrea Palm, secretary of the health agency, also clarified her earlier announcement that models showed by April 8 that 22,000 people could be infected and up to 1,500 could die. She said that was how many would ultimately die, not deaths by that date.
The model was also generated before Gov. Tony Evers’ order for people to stay at home, she said.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer for communicable diseases, said evidence is showing that mitigation efforts are working and the growth in cases is not as high as was expected when that model was created.
The Wisconsin National Guard is trying to dispel rumors spread by what it calls “nefarious actors” about its role in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Guard members have been ordered to assist at low-staffed polling places during Tuesday’s presidential primary and spring election and offer other assistance so the election can run smoothly, such as distributing sanitary supplies.
The Guard said those who do work the polls will be in civilian clothes and will provide the same roles as traditional poll workers. They are receiving the same training and will work at polls in the counties where they live, the Guard said.
Guard troops are also supporting the movement of personal protective equipment for health care workers at distribution sites around the state.
They have also been assisting with staffing at self-isolation centers in Madison and Milwaukee. Guard troops previously helped staff a nursing home in Grafton and assisted with bringing home people who had been quarantined on a cruise ship.
But the Guard said Wednesday night it is not enforcing statewide quarantines, shutting down interstate highways or “any of the other baseless rumors that are circulating.”
“Unfortunately, there are nefarious actors – in some cases, from other countries – operating in the shadows and intentionally circulating false information and misinformation via social media,” the Guard said. “We understand that these rumors are part of a concerted disinformation campaign aimed at creating hysteria and panic in our nation’s communities.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Thursday it will not offer any in-person classes during its summer term, instead moving to online only because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The move affecting more than 300 courses comes after UW-Madison canceled all in-person classes for the spring term and moved them to online. The moves are consistent with what colleges and universities are doing across the country.
“The decision to suspend in-person instruction was made with the safety of our students in mind,” said Aphra Mednick, the associate dean for summer term. “We already had a robust online offering and in response, we are offering even more online courses than ever before so students can continue their academic progress.”
There are at least 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and 24 deaths, according to the state Department of Health Services.