By Shereen Siewert
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Thursday announced the number of positive COVID-19 tests statewide now sits at 155, though none have been officially confirmed in Marathon County.
That number is up from 106 on Wednesday and 72 on Tuesday. Health officials did not say how many tests have been processed in Marathon County or how many are pending, though 2,347 tests have been processed as of midday on March 19. Cases have now been reported in 21 counties including Bayfield, where a high school student tested positive, according to an Ashland Daily Press report.
All Bayfield High School students and their families are being asked to self-quarantine for the next 14 days, ADP reports.
Applications for unemployment benefits surged by 70,000 last week as impact of virus begins to be felt in labor market.
New limitations were placed on Wisconsin child care facilities Wednesday when Gov. Tony Evers announced that child care settings must have no more than 10 staffers and 50 children present at the same time. Providers were asked to prioritize families of health care and essential service workers. The restrictions began Thursday morning and will remain in place indefinitely.
Meanwhile, unemployment rates are skyrocketing around the state and nationwide. In Wisconsin, the Department of Workforce Development is encouraging newly unemployed people to go online for faster service delivery. DWD’s Unemployment Insurance Division is experiencing heavy call volume and longer than normal wait times, the agency said in a news release.
For unemployment information, head to https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui/.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canada-U.S. border likely will be closed to all non-essential travel in both directions on Friday night. He says it will take “weeks to months” for social-distancing measures in his country to be lifted.
Seven members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation on Wednesday said the state was running “critically low” on needed medical equipment to combat the spread of the virus and asked the federal government for immediate help.
The lawmakers sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to request nearly 55,000 respirators, more than 130,000 surgical masks, nearly 25,000 face shields, more than 20,000 surgical gowns, about 100 coveralls and 72,000 gloves from the national stockpile.
The lawmakers asked when the state could expect the supplies, whether the stockpile would be replenished, if production was bring ramped up to ensure there’s an adequate supply and what was being done to respond to other critical supply shortages.
The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson along with U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Bryan Steil and Mike Gallagher. Only Reps. Glenn Grothman and Jim Sensenbrenner, both Republicans, did not sign. They did not immediately return messages asking why they didn’t sign it.
The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 84,500 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.