By Shereen Siewert

As confirmed cases of novel coronavirus surged Friday to 1,916 including nine in Marathon County, Gov. Tony Evers is calling for a special legislative session to review proposed changes to voting deadlines in the upcoming spring election.

Statewide, about 25 percent of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have required hospitalization, health officials said. Wisconsin is also reporting an additional six deaths since Thursday. Rusk and Barron Counties reported their first cases today.

Health officials say 22,377 negative tests have been processed including 271 in Marathon County.

Meanwhile, the flurry of debate over the viability of the state’s presidential primary election, set for April 7, continues. Evers on Friday said he is asking for a special session Saturday afternoon of the Legislature to consider allowing an all-mail election, to send a ballot to every registered voter who has not already requested one by May 19, and to extend the time for those ballots to be received to May 26.

“Your efforts to maintain social distancing, the sacrifices you have made when it has come to your jobs, your schooling, and your day-to-day activities are what we need to flatten the curve to protect the people of our state. It’s also what we need to do to support our healthcare workers who are making heroic efforts to test, treat, and prevent this virus. At the same time, we also have to be patient with ourselves and each other because we’re all doing this for the very first time,” Gov. Evers said in a video to Wisconsinites.

“As we’ve faced these challenges over the past few weeks, I have also asked the people of our state to do their part to help. Well here’s the bottom line folks: if, as elected officials, we’re going to expect the people of our state to make sacrifices to keep all of us safe, then, by golly, we better be willing do our part, too. So, today I announced that I am calling the Legislature into a special session to do its part—just as all of us are—to help keep our neighbors, our families, and our communities safe.”