Evers' 'Badger Bounce Back' plan offers roadmap for reopening state economy
Criteria for reopening businesses comes as state announces 4,499 confirmed COVID-19 cases
Gov. Tony Evers on Monday laid out a plan to reopen the state economy.
The roadmap, called the Badger Bounce Back plan , follows guidance released last week by the White House for safely relaxing social distancing requirements.
The plan would allow Wisconsin businesses to reopen in several phases.
- Phase one will allow gatherings of up to 10 people; restaurants to reopen with social distancing requirements; and will lift some restrictions on retailers. K-12 schools and child care centers would reopen at full capacity.
- Phase two will allow gatherings of up to 50 people; restaurants to open at full capacity; bars to reopen with social distancing requirements; and colleges and technical schools to reopen.
- Phase three will allow all businesses and gatherings to resume.
But by current guidelines, even phase one is weeks away at minimum, and phase three could be much longer.
In order to enter the plan's first phase, Wisconsin would need to see a 14-day period of reductions in new infections; robust testing programs for those who need them, including health care workers; and hospitals would need to have the ability to treat all patients without crisis care.
At a Monday press conference, Evers held out hope that the state could meet the criteria and reopen some businesses before the end of the extended stay-at-home order announced last week through May 26.
"I believe if we (work) 24/7 ... we have a shot at doing that," Evers said. "We are very, very hopeful that we will get there."
New facilities, plans ramp up COVID-19 testing in Wisconsin
Evers on Monday announced major advances in Wisconsin’s testing capacity.
Widespread testing is considered a key part of planning to safely ease social distancing requirements. Wisconsin has 36 labs performing COVID-19 tests, up from eight labs one month ago, Evers announced.
Major private labs involved in the state’s testing efforts include Exact Sciences of Madison and Epic of Verona, as well as the rural Marshfield Clinic Health System and biochemical manufacturer Promega.
In addition to these efforts, 11 National Guard teams are serving a "rapid response role in hotspots and underserved areas of the state," the governor’s office said.
DHS: New Cases Continue To Rise
There are 4,499 positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, the state Department of Health Services announced Monday.
According to figures from DHS, 230 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon.
DHS reports 1,211 people have been hospitalized because of the virus. That means at least 27% of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus in the state have been hospitalized. DHS officials have said they don't know the hospitalization history of 19% of cases.
The number of positive test results increased by 153 people from Sunday to Monday.
Douglas County had eight confirmed cases as of Monday's DHS report, with 383 people who tested negative for the illness. The Saturday, April 18 report marked the first time in two weeks the county had an increase in confirmed cases . Bayfield County had three confirmed cases, with 107 people who tested negative. Bayfield County has reported one death from COVID-19.
Across the state, 46,603 people have tested negative for the virus so far. From Sunday to Monday, the number of negative test results increased by 1,280.
With recent increases in testing capacity, health officials are loosening restrictions on who can get tested, subject to the availability of testing supplies.
There are now confirmed cases in 65 of Wisconsin's 72 counties.
The following counties have no confirmed cases as of Monday afternoon: Burnett, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Pepin, Taylor and Vernon.
The Telegram staff contributed to this report.
Wisconsin Public Radio can be heard in the Twin Ports at 91.3 FM or online at wpr.org/news .
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