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Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday that he plans to declare a new public health emergency and extend his statewide mask mandate into mid-January as Wisconsin’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue to surge.
“It’s clear based on where we’re headed, we cannot afford to stop or have a gap in some of the only mitigation efforts we have in place,” Evers told reporters.
Public health experts tout mask-wearing as a key tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19, and the mandate is Evers’ only major public health restriction that has not yet been thwarted by courts.
Evers’ current emergency declaration is set to expire Nov. 21 — as is the mask mandate attached to it. With the GOP-controlled Legislature’s backing, a consertvative legal group is challenging the constitutionality of previous extensions of the emergency declaration and mask mandate. The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments in the case on Monday.
Evers announced the extension Wednesday as his Department of Health Services reported 7,989 new COVID-19 infections in Wisconsin — yet another daily record. DHS has reported 144 COVID-19 deaths in the past two days, pushing the state’s recorded pandemic death toll to 2,793.
Public health experts worry the death toll will only grow if residents host holiday gatherings.
Gov. Tony Evers says he will extend mask mandate into 2021 — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A Milwaukee County program has prevented over 1,000 evictions. But as 2021 approaches, money’s running out. — Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
Lake Mills teachers sound alarm, call for action to protect students and staff against COVID-19 — Wisconsin State Journal
Direct-care workers, at risk during COVID-19, need raise, benefits, groups say — Wisconsin State Journal
Data to note
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin’s trends in COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations.
Calculate your exposure risk
In Wisconsin, even small gatherings this holiday season can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here.
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