By Shereen Siewert
The number of overall coronavirus infections and deaths related to the virus rose again on Monday, but state officials say the rate at which infections are growing is slowing.
On Monday, the state reported 3,428 confirmed coronavirus cases, up 87 from one day earlier. Marathon County numbers also rose to 14. One person has died from complications related to coronavirus as of April 13.
The death toll rose by 10 to 154, while the number of hospitalized patients rose to 993 statewide, about 29 percent of patients with the virus. About 16 percent of positive tests are health care providers, state officials said.
The number of negative tests rose to 36,759, said DHS Secretary designee Andrea Palm.
“There is a decrease in exponential growth,” Palm said. “We are flattening the curve.”
State officials do expect the overall number of infections to rise considerably in the coming days as restrictions on testing ease statewide. Due to a shortage of tests and test medium and the earlier lack of available test labs, the state limited tests to the most critical patients and health care providers with symptoms. Those restrictions are now being relaxed.
Initially, tests in Wisconsin were being processed by two state labs. That number has grown to 23 labs, with a test capacity of 3,887 each day, Palm said.
People who are testing positive now were likely infected about two weeks ago, said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for communicable diseases at the Wisconsin Department of Health.
In other developments:
- A group of 14 Milwaukee-area residents filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking a partial re-vote of last week’s election. The class action suit filed in U.S. District Court in Madison names Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, both Republicans, as defendants, along with the state individually, the Legislature and the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The suit’s goal is not a new election but an “order to count the votes of all those who were disenfranchised April 7,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys say in a news release.
- President Donald Trump asserted Monday that he is the ultimate decision-maker for determining how and when to reopen the coronavirus-stricken country, though it is unclear what authority he has to overrule the states. While Trump has issued federal social distancing recommendations, governors and local leaders have instituted mandatory restrictions, including shuttering schools and ordering the closure of non-essential businesses. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what authority they believe the president might have to overrule local orders. Under the Constitution, public health and safety is primarily the domain of state and local officials. And many of those leaders have expressed concern that Trump’s plan to try to return to normal as soon as the end of the month will cost lives and extend the duration of the outbreak.
- The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Monday released its coronavirus response bill, a proposal lawmakers plan to vote on starting Tuesday in first-of-its-kind virtual sessions that they will attend remotely. The key provision that Gov. Tony Evers objected to in the earlier version would have given the Legislature’s GOP-controlled budget committee the power to make any cuts in spending it wanted. That provision was removed from the latest plan. The budget committee would be allowed to allocate up to $75 million in emergency funding during the public health emergency and up to 90 days after it’s over.
- Minnesota’s governor on Monday extended the state’s COVID-19 emergency through May 13.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.