(UPDATED at 9:40 a.m. March 12, 2020)

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is asking Gov. Tony Evers to declare an emergency to free up resources to respond to COVID-19, as universities around the state are canceling in-person classes and the state’s official toll of positive tests rose to six.

“This is a preparedness measure,” Barrett said. “We don’t know what’s going to come next, but we want to make sure we’re prepared.”

Evers set a news conference for Thursday at the state’s emergency response center.

Minnesota has five confirmed cases, while Illinois has 25.

Ascension is implementing temporary visitor restrictions, in both inpatient and outpatient settings, to minimize disease transmission, specifically the spread of viral respiratory infections — including coronavirus.

Ascension Wisconsin said the following in a press release,”Our goal is to protect our associates and those we are privileged to serve by limiting possible exposure to Novel Coronavirus and directing people to the right level of care.”

The following visitor restrictions are similar to the infection control precautions Ascension puts in place in  hospitals and care sites every year during flu season to protect our patients, visitors and associates.

Ascension Wisconsin’s current visitation policy includes the following:

  • Restricting visitors who have flu-like symptoms and/or cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, runny nose/nasal congestion, or sore throat.
  • Limiting visits to two visitors per patient at any given time.
  • Visits from children under age 14 will be at the discretion of patients and clinicians involved in their care.
  • Per guidance from the CDC, we are restricting visitors who have returned from a country within the past 14 days that the CDC has designated as Level 3 Warning or Level 2 for Novel Coronavirus.

Impact on sports

Wisconsin high school basketball tournaments will still go on as planned this weekend, despite rising fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

The WIAA confirmed Wednesday the girls basketball tournament and boys sectional rounds will still be happening this week. Officials plan to keep monitoring the virus’ spread and said they will issue a new statement if anything changes with the tournament schedule.

The State Girls Basketball tournament is slated to be played at the Resch Center, in Green Bay.

General admission tickets won’t be available for the Wisconsin state boys basketball tournament March 19-21 at the Kohl Center, according to the University of Wisconsin.

And don’t plan on seeing the Milwaukee Bucks continue their stellar season anytime soon.

The NBA on Wednesday confirmed its season has been suspended after a player tested positive for coronavirus.

“Like everyone, we were just made aware that the league is suspending its season,” said Barry Baum, Chief Communications Officer of Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum. “This is a fluid situation so we will have more information as soon as possible for our fans who have tickets to upcoming games. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

The Thunder and Jazz were moments from tipoff when a trainer approached referees. Moments later, players, coaches and referees left the court. The game was then suspended.

An hour later, the NBA announced that the season would be suspended.

“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz preliminary tested positive for COVID-19,” the NBA said in a statement. “The test result was reported shortly prior of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”

Schools impacted

University of Wisconsin-Madison officials announced Wednesday that they will suspend face-to-face instruction and students shouldn’t return to their dorms after spring break. The university’s announcement mirrored that taken by several others, including Ohio State and at least five other UW System schools.

University officials said students should not return to their dorms following break and should take essential belongings with them when they leave. The move is designed to keep people from congregating in shared bathrooms and dining facilities.

The dorms will remain available for students who can’t return to their permanent residences but they should expect a reduced services, officials said.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank said during a news conference that the university is working on potential financial reimbursement to offset displaced students’ housing payments.

All campus events of more than 50 people and all university-sponsored travel has been canceled through at least April 10, officials said.

The campus will remain open and all faculty and staff will continue their regular work schedules unless told otherwise by their supervisors. Many research labs use student workers, raising questions about whether they’ll remain open. Blank said most of the students in the labs are graduate students who live off-campus and won’t be affected by the dorm closures.

The state Department of Health Services announced late Wednesday afternoon that tests have confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, bringing the total number of infections so far to six.

One of the new cases involves a patient in Waukesha County who was exposed while traveling in the United States and internationally. That patient has been isolated at home.

The other new cases involve two patients in Fond du Lac County. Both were exposed while traveling, one domestically and one abroad. One of them has been hospitalized, the first COVID-19 hospitalization in Wisconsin since the outbreak began in China. The other patient is isolated at home.

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.