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Coronavirus in Wisconsin: Historical updates from April 4-11

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Posted at 9:09 AM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-12 10:13:08-04

This page features historical updates and will not be updated. For the latest news and developments, click here.

As the 2019 novel coronavirus continues to spread across the country and the world, TMJ4 News is tracking how schools, businesses, governments, and more are reacting. Bookmark this page for the latest updates on how COVID-19 is affecting daily life.

As of Friday, there were a total of 486,994 confirmed cases and 18,022 deaths in the U.S., according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins. At least 27,565 people have recovered.

Here in Wisconsin, as of Thursday, there were 3,068 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. 128 people have died. Here is the latest county-by-county breakdown:

Wisconsin CountyTotal Cases as of 4/11/2020Total Deaths as of 4/11/2020
Adams20
Ashland10
Barron60
Bayfield30
Brown601
Buffalo31
Calumet40
Chippewa180
Clark70
Columbia241
Crawford30
Dane32712
Dodge180
Door90
Douglas70
Dunn90
Eau Claire210
Florence20
Fond du Lac522
Grant51
Green90
Iowa40
Iron21
Jackson100
Jefferson220
Juneau50
Kenosha1631
Kewaunee10
La Crosse250
Lafayette30
Manitowoc30
Marathon130
Marinette30
Marquette20
Menominee10
Milwaukee1,69285
Monroe80
Oconto30
Oneida50
Outagamie292
Ozaukee729
Pierce70
Polk10
Portage40
Price10
Racine1053
Richland50
Rock533
Rusk30
Sauk252
Sawyer10
Shawano50
Sheboygan342
St. Croix80
Trempeleau10
Vilas40
Walworth350
Washington713
Waukesha2016
Waupaca31
Waushara20
Winnebago251
Wood20
Total3,252137

Editor's note: The numbers above may not match data from the state's Department of Health Services website. Many Wisconsin counties release confirmed COVID-19 cases independent of the state, and those cases are reflected in the above total.

Latest updates:

Saturday, April 11

11:46 a.m. -- Aurora performs its first COVID-19 plasma transfusion

Advocate Aurora Health administered its first convalescent plasma transfusion to a COVID-19 patient Friday.

The procedure took place at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee.

The procedure involved taking the antibodies from the bloodstream of a person who has recovered from the virus and giving them to someone who is trying to fight the infection.

Though the FDA has not approved convalescent plasma as a COVID-19 treatment, they have issued guidance for its use as an Emergency Investigational New Drug.

The experimental treatment is newly available in Wisconsin. To learn more, click here.

Friday, April 10

10:43 p.m. -- Triciclo Peru trying to stay afloat, open for takeout six days a week

Triciclo Peru opened at 38th and Vliet four months ago. It's a gem in Milwaukee's Near West Side neighborhood.

But it has to adapt the way it operates to stay afloat.

Co-owner Amy Narr spent four years volunteering with the Peace Corps in Peru. While there, she didn't only fall in love with her husband, Mario.

"I fell in love with the food, Peruvian food is amazing," Narr said. "When we came back to Milwaukee together, we realized that there was not a whole lot of Peruvian food here."

They started offering homemade Peruvian Empanadas out of a food truck. They would sell them at local farmer's markets and the Humboldt Park Beer Garden. They worked hard, saved up, and in December opened Triciclo.

"Who could have predicted what would have happened next with this pandemic and stay at home order?" she said. "It's devastating. We're trying to still focus on the positives, our loyal customers."

Now, Triciclo is only open for takeout six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. They do not do delivery. Customers can call ahead or message their orders via Facebook or Instagram, and Narr brings the food out to cars.

10:11 p.m. -- County ramping up efforts to curb COVID-19 in African-American communities

Leaders in Milwaukee County are ramping up their efforts to try to stop the coronavirus from disproportionately affecting the African-American community.

Village of Brown Deer President Wanda Montgomery is experiencing the impact first hand.

"It's almost every day I see a name that rise up, and I'm like, 'oh my God, I know that person,'" Montgomery said.

As of Friday evening, 732 of Milwaukee County's 1,634 coronavirus cases were African-American, as well as 50 of the county's 75 deaths.

"Two in three of our deaths are African-American, while less than one in three of our county population is African-American," said Dr. Ben Weston, the medical director of Milwaukee County Emergency Management.

9:39 p.m. -- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino to temporarily furlough 90% of its employees

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino says it will have to temporarily furlough 90% of its 2,700 team members.

Our coverage partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal report the furloughs begin Monday, April 13.

"Unfortunately, we cannot continue to sustain these payments so we have issued furlough notices to affected employees," the company said. "These decisions are never easy ones. The situation we now face is affecting millions in our country, and hitting the service industry especially hard."

Potawatomi announced it was suspending its operations last month. Concerts and events have also been canceled and postponed.

Potawatomi said it expected to call all of their employees back and reopen its business doors when it is safe to do so.

9:27 p.m. -- Milwaukee hospitals at critically low levels of personal protective equipment

Hospitals across Wisconsin are at critically low levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers, and the state has not hit its surge yet.

In Milwaukee, officials say most hospitals have less than a week's worth of supplies left.

"If all the health systems had a week worth of PPE, they would actually be extremely happy. I think the numbers are much less than that," said Dr. John Raymond, president, and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Hospitals across the country have been facing a shortage of PPEs for their workers since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Despite donations from the community, the hospitals are still in need.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, more than half of the state's hospitals have less than a seven day supply of goggles, face shields, and gowns. A third of hospitals have less than a week's amount of N95 masks, paper medical masks, and face shields.

8:36 p.m. -- Milwaukee COVID-19 survivor details near-death experience, losing father

Adrienne Lathan is dealing with a major loss and overcoming COVID-19 all at once.

Now, she has a story of survival and a message to the general public.

"It felt like the flu, but it was the flu times ten," Lathan said.

She's now a COVID-19 survivor, but the journey to get there hasn't been easy.

"The first day I felt symptoms was March 18. I thought I just had a cold," Lathan said.

Initially, her symptoms felt like a common cold. Eventually, it would become much, much more.

"Physical pain. I was in pain from head to toe. The only thing not hurting on my body was my hands and my feet," Lathan said.

Lathan was admitted to a local hospital on March 25. She would stay for six more days.

One of those six days was almost her last as she's lost her breath and collapsed inside her room.

"When I came to, the response time was standing over me," Lathan said. "The nurse started talking to me, and he said he told me, 'We almost lost you.'"

"It's tough I'm recovering and healing and planning a funeral. It's hard. It's really hard," Lathan said.

Her 71-year-old father, Jerald, who had pre-existing conditions, was also diagnosed with the virus.

He died last Saturday.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said he dealt with complications due to COVID-19.

She only could say goodbye via FaceTime.

"I knew once I said that to him, he would let go," she recalled.

As she moves on, Lathan hopes her story encourages others to stay safe at home.

"Yes, there are lots of numbers of people who have died, but there are also numbers of people who are survivors. And if you want to be one of those survivors, you have to take this seriously," she said.

8:17 p.m. -- 'We're trying to do all that we can': COVID-19 upends tradition during religious holidays

Multiple faiths will observe some of their holiest days this month, but COVID-19 is upending tradition.

Using an AM transmitter and video conferencing app Zoom, Pastor David Cross has been reaching the faithful from his church parking lot for weeks.

"They don't have to leave their cars at all. They just sit in the car and tune the radio to AM 800," said Pastor David.

The senior pastor leads the Riverwood Community Church in Burlington.

He's new to the church, but after 25 years in ministry, this is a first.

"We want to be respectful to the government restrictions, and yet we want to meet in person," said Pastor David.

Like other faith communities, Riverwood Community Church is adapting in light of COVID-19.

In Milwaukee, the Cathedral of St. John live-streamed Good Friday mass on Youtube, showing hundreds of empty chairs inside.

During a press conference Friday, Pastor Sean Tatum said Mason Temple Church in Milwaukee would do a drive-in service on Sunday as well.

"We'll have to use a lot of handwaving and maybe a blow a kiss from inside of your car, and so we're trying to do all that we can," said Pastor Sean.

The Wisconsin Council of Churches, a statewide network of 2,000 churches, encourages video conferencing but advises against drive-in services.

"It's a calculated risk. What if someone has to use the restroom? What if people decide to roll down the windows," said Reverend Kerri Parker, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches.

"We would rather have folks be able to worship in the safety of their homes knowing that eventually, we'll be able to come together," Reverend Kerri.

She added they (the council) would hate for the faith community to be a source of another wave of illness.

Pastor David says over the past six weeks of drive-in service, they have not had issues with people getting out of cars.

"It's really just been an opportunity for people to come and to see each other to connect and even to hear prayer requests," said Pastor David.

Religious organizing is exempt from the safer-at-home order but with limitations. In-person gatherings must include no more than ten people, and those ten need to stay at least six feet apart.

"Drive-in services" are allowed, but people should not get out of their cars at all.

7:49 p.m. -- Buffalo Boss asking for people to support them during COVID-19 pandemic

Buffalo Boss should be celebrating its first anniversary with a bunch of customer appreciation events the owner had planned.

Instead, he's imploring everyone to please keep supporting.

"We're in a state of confusion and uncertainty on whether we're going to be here for another year, or another month," said Taj Pearsall, the owner of Buffalo Boss. "It would be virtually impossible to start from scratch and try to build that momentum back up."

Pearsall and his employees have extra cleaning measures in place around the clock.

"These are difficult times for all of us, and especially as a restaurant because you have perishable product, and you have to sell it, or it goes bad, and that's money wasted," Pearsall said. "It's a fight and an uphill battle every day."

Orders for Buffalo Boss's signature chicken wings, fries, and homemade sauces are accepted over the phone, online, or on a drive-up basis.

"We're available on all online platforms for deliveries, so thank you to all those delivery drivers who are out there going from restaurants to homes," Pearsall said. "They are really helping us stay afloat right now."

Buffalo Boss is attached to the Sherman Phoenix at 35th and Fond du Lac, which has had to shut down for now.

"That community atmosphere is part of our DNA, and it's missing, it's noticeably missing," Pearsall said.

Because Buffalo Boss has its own side entrance, it can stay open. Right now, it's operating seven days a week from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m

"Survival wise, we're not where we would like to be, but it's enough to keep the lights on, and our employees paid for now," Pearsall said.

He says he's determined to stay in the fight.

6:13 p.m. -- Grieving while in quarantine: 'I have never felt this loneliness in my life'

Social distancing and being in quarantine stem the spread of COVID-19, but they can make grief an even greater burden to bear.

"I have never felt this loneliness in my life, never," said Darlene Thoresen, who is recently widowed.

Darlene opens up about the isolation she feels in quarantine.

Eric, her husband of 37 years, recently passed away. Darlene says it happened after a typical dinner at home.

Eric went to a room to watch television when Darlene heard him call for help.

"I went in the room, and he was gasping for air holding his throat, and he said to me I am going to die," Darlene recalled.

Darlene called 911. Medics showed up in protective gear and worked tirelessly to try and revive Eric.

"It was really an awful, awful night," said Darlene.

5:10 p.m. -- Wait times for some online grocery deliveries is now days or weeks

Customers are opting to stay safe at home during the COVID-19 health crisis and so getting an online grocery delivery slot these days, feels like winning the lottery.

With Passover this week and Easter coming up, grocery chains are seeing a surge in online orders.

"We are at max capacity. I will tell you since the pandemic started until probably the end of today, we will have seen about a 350 percent increase in demand in online orders," said James Hyland, VP Communications & Public Affairs for Roundy's.

Roundy's operates 106 stores in Wisconsin including Pick-n-save and Metro Market in southeast Wisconsin.

Hyland said the dramatic online ordering demand has led to longer wait times for customers.

"The window originally before the pandemic was about a 4-hour window between the time of placing the order and the time of picking it up. On average though all of our stores in Wisconsin, it's about 72 hours now," Hyland continued.

It's not just Roundy's stores inundated with online orders.

On April 10, TMJ4 News attempted to place an order for curbside pickup for groceries at a Sendik's in Waukesha county. The available days were April 23 and April 24.

A Meijer spokesperson emailed us the below statement:

"Like many retailers, we've seen demand for home delivery and pickup increase dramatically, so available times over the past few weeks have filled up quickly. We are doing our best to manage the need for our customers. When ordering on Meijer.com, customers who are having issues scheduling delivery can keep their carts saved and check back through the day as additional time slots become available."Hyland said Roundy's stores are adding more staff to keep up with the constant orders. While the demand is good for these grocery stores' bottom lines, he said panic buying isn't good for anyone.

"The challenge here is to keep the shelves stocked. We ask people to shop responsibly and not stockpile because that creates gaps in the supply chain," he said.

3:21 p.m. -- Fox Sports Wisconsin to re-air Bucks 18-game winning streak in 2019

Fox Sports Wisconsin announced Friday that starting Wednesday, you can watch the Bucks 2019 18-game winning streak.

Over the next five weeks, Fox Sports Wisconsin will re-air all 18 games of the Bucks 2019 winning streak.

There will be one game every few days, all of them falling at 7 p.m. Additionally, Fox Sports Wisconsin will air a virtual NBA 2K simulation between the Bucks and the Hawks on Sunday. This will be at 11 p.m.

For the full game schedule, click here.

1:16 p.m. -- Milwaukee Bucks establish emergency relief fund for part-time employees

The Milwaukee Bucks have established an emergency relief fund to help Fiserv Forum's part-time employees.

This emergency fund will assist part-time employees of Levy, Fiserv Forum’s food and beverage provider; ABM, the arena’s housekeeping employer; Reef Parking and SP+, the Deer District’s parking partners; and Menominee Nation Arena, home of the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd.

To date, the Bucks have donated $500,000 to part time employees. This fund will bring that total to $1 million.

“Our part-time arena staff is there for us day in and day out, and we want to be there for them during this tumultuous time,” said Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry. “We are thankful for the generous financial support by every Bucks player, team management and team ownership for these deserving employees, and we will look to continue to raise additional funds for this relief effort.”

Additionally, Bucks' stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton donated $100K each back in March. This was followed by all Bucks' players making contributions, which were matched by the Bucks Organization.

To donate to the Bucks' emergency relief fund, click here.

1:13 p.m. -- Over 215K Wisconsin households to receive additional FoodShare benefits

Over 215,000 Wisconsin households are set to receive additional FoodShare benefits in response to COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services made the announcement Friday. According to the press release, these benefits will help Wisconsin families stay health amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Wisconsin can now provide FoodShare recipients with the maximum monthly benefit amount, based on the number of people in their household, for two months.

Those who will receive these additional benefits will be notified by mail.

To see the maximum month benefit per person, per household, click here.

1:08 p.m. -- Milwaukee Bucks establish emergency relief fund for part-time employees

The Milwaukee Bucks have established an emergency relief fund to help Fiserv Forum's part-time employees.

This emergency fund will assist part-time employees of Levy, Fiserv Forum’s food and beverage provider; ABM, the arena’s housekeeping employer; Reef Parking and SP+, the Deer District’s parking partners; and Menominee Nation Arena, home of the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd.

To date, the Bucks have donated $500K to part time employees. This fund will bring that total to $1 million.

“Our part-time arena staff is there for us day in and day out, and we want to be there for them during this tumultuous time,” said Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry. “We are thankful for the generous financial support by every Bucks player, team management and team ownership for these deserving employees, and we will look to continue to raise additional funds for this relief effort.”

Additionally, Bucks' stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton donated $100K each back in March. This was followed by all Bucks' players making contributions, which were matched by the Bucks Organization.

To donate to the Bucks' emergency relief fund, click here.

12:59 p.m. -- Assembly plans virtual session for Tuesday

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Assembly plans to meet next week for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began in Wisconsin.

Assembly leaders notified members Friday that they plan to call a virtual extraordinary session on Tuesday morning.

It's unclear what they may take up. Republican leaders have been working on a pandemic aid bill with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The governor said earlier this week that he would veto the GOP's latest proposal because it gives the Legislature's Republican-controlled budget committee carte blanche authority to cut state spending.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke tweeted those provisions have been cut.

12:56 p.m. -- Over 215K Wisconsin households to receive additional FoodShare benefits

Over 215,000 Wisconsin households are set to receive additional FoodShare benefits in response to COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services made the announcement Friday. According to the press release, these benefits will help Wisconsin families stay health amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Wisconsin can now provide FoodShare recipients with the maximum monthly benefit amount, based on the number of people in their household, for two months.

Those who will receive these additional benefits will be notified by mail. To see the maximum month benefit per person, per household, click here.

12:13 p.m. -- Governor Evers launches COVID-19 volunteer program

Governor Tony Evers is now asking for volunteers to help fight COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

If you are a retired health care professional, or would like to help fight COVID-19, Governor Evers has launched a program where you can sign up.

In the coming weeks, the number of sick Wisconsinites is expected to surge and medical professionals need all the help they can get.

The more volunteers the state has, the less hardships there will be on hospitals, clinics, and medical professionals.

“We are creating a wide network of volunteers to increase capacity at hospitals and clinics across Wisconsin,” said Gov. Evers. “Our top priority is to make sure there are enough resources to care for the growing number of people who require hospitalization or other healthcare interventions because of this pandemic.”

Both active and retired medical professionals can sign up to help by entering their information here.

If you aren't a medical professional, the Governor is asking that you sign up for a non-clinical support option. You can sign up with for those roles here.

Volunteers will be assigned to locations across the state, and if you're willing to travel, you should note that when signing up.

11:37 a.m. -- Milwaukee's 2020 German Fest canceled due to coronavirus

Milwaukee's 2020 German Fest has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Milwaukee's German Fest event is the largest in Wisconsin and was set to take place in July. However, due to coronavirus, the event will not take place this year.

German Fest Milwaukee Inc. made the announcement Friday in a press release.

"This decision was not arrived at lightly. Our Board of Directors took many scenarios into consideration," said Eric Radue, the festival's president.

German Fest has been a staple in Wisconsin for the last 40 years, and this is the first time it has been been canceled.

"German Fest will be back in 2021 to celebrate our 40th festival in style. German style that is," said Radue.

If you received a free ticket for German Fest during the 2019 festival or any 2020 festival, it will be honored in 2021.

11:15 a.m. -- The Latest: Wisconsin hospitals report shortages of PPE

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin (all times local): 10:30 a.m.

More than half of Wisconsin's 133 hospitals reported on Friday that they have less than a one week supply of goggle and gowns worn when treating coronavirus patients.

More than a third of hospitals are also reporting they have less than a week's worth of face shields, N95 masks and paper medical masks, according to a Wisconsin Hospitals Association website.

Wisconsin, like many other states, faces a shortage of personal protective equipment vital to health care workers who are treating COVID-19 patients.

Gov. Tony Evers and members of his administration have said that supplies they are receiving from the national stockpile will not come close to meeting the need. They are searching for other sources besides the federal government to get health care workers what they need.

11:04 a.m. -- Lawsuit seeks release of Wisconsin inmates due to virus

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A lawsuit is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to release elderly and vulnerable inmates from the state prisons who would be at greatest risk from the coronavirus outbreak.

Two inmates with preexisting conditions joined together with Disability Rights Wisconsin and criminal defense attorneys on Friday's lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin says the release is necessary to avoid inmates stricken with COVID-19 flooding hospitals in communities where prisons are located.

The action mirrors similar moves in states across the country by the ACLU and others. Spokeswomen for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and Gov.

Gov. Tony Evers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thursday, April 9

10:37 p.m. -- Determined to vote: Woman documents difficulty casting ballot in the city of Milwaukee

A Milwaukee woman was persistent to vote Tuesday despite being told she was at the wrong polling site not once, but twice.

Abra Fortson and her husband set out early election Tuesday. Arriving at Washington high school at 4, they were prepared for the long lines, but when they got to the front of the line, Fortson said she was confused by the poll worker's response.

"He said you need to be at Riverside High School," recalls Fortson, "No, we did the research. There must be a mistake... what they are telling me on the inside its changed."

After already waiting for 2 hours, the couple had a decision to make.

"My husband just said go to Riverside, so we don't miss this. The line has to be just as long."

Sure enough, they were met with a long line of cars. Abra documented her whole experience on Facebook.

"The next time I was able to give someone my ID and information was 8:28 p.m."

The poll worker returned without a ballot, and the couple knew something was wrong.

"He told me you need to be at Washington High School."

This confusion had pushed Abra to the edge, but she continued to advocate for herself, and finally, the chief inspector allowed them to vote on the only machine able to pull up her ballot.

"They gave me their word that they would take it to Washington and feed it into the machine.

And while she was able to cast her vote, she wonders how many other people experienced the same thing and gave up.

"My concern was for the people who may not have the patience, the ability the tolerance for so many obstacles especially with the state we are in with COVID-19 crisis,"

TMJ4 News reached out to the Milwaukee election commission for answers. Neil Albrecht says he is aware of Abra's issue and looking into the matter.

9:23 p.m. -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell tells TMJ4 News how he's spending his time without baseball

"I'm home, this is an office and extra room where the kids do their virtual learning," Brewers manager Craig Counsell says.

In past baseball seasons, Craig Counsell's at work. Now he's just Dad, with new hobbies.

TMJ4 News Main Sports Anchor Lance Allan asks picking up some new jobs like cooking? "We're all cooking more...I talked to Josh Hader about that. I'm making my kids work out. They probably don't like that. None of us can do 7th-grade math," Counsell says with a laugh.

But Counsell is using the time wisely.

"I think we'll look back and say we got to spend good time with our family, once we get through this," Counsell says.

For now, all in baseball wait. But eventually can a return help?

Lance Allan asks, can baseball help heal once things get back going?

"One of the things I think we have to be careful as to kind of rush to all these answers. We don't know what games are going to look like. Are there going to be fans? Are there not going to be fans. But if we're always putting if before our questions? We're going to be wrong. The tough part? We don't have a date. We're thinking about ideas," Counsell says.

Counsell feels the Brewers could be equipped to handle a return to baseball.

"Our roster could help give us an advantage," Counsell says.

And the players seem to be fine.

"This is not a trick question...they are working around. We don't give them enough credit for that. They'll be ready when they get the call," Counsell says.

The Whitefish Bay native is a Milwaukee guy through and through.

"I feel for the Bucks...they had a championship season going. That's frustrating," Counsell says.

8:51 p.m. -- Website shows Wisconsin hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 cases, tracks medical readiness

The Wisconsin Hospital Association has unveiled an enhanced website to get out more data about the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The dashboard has information on hospital admissions and bed count, available ventilators and the number of hospitals with seven days or fewer of personal protective equipment for workers.

Association President Eric Borgerding said the site should help the public understand what's being done to build up capacity for a potential surge in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm hospitals.

Click here to see the WHA Situational Awareness dashboard.

7:48 p.m. -- As COVID-19 impacts the environment in the short-term, environmental leaders call for long-term plan

Directly and indirectly, the coronavirus is affecting every part of our lives, including the physical world around us.

"It is true that emissions are down right now from fewer cars being on the road and perhaps other consequences," Megan Severson, the state director for Wisconsin Environment, said.

While the scientific data is not out yet, Severson said that you could intuit that there is less pollution because far fewer people are driving.

Even the famous canals of Venice, Italy, see a change in color due to a lack of use.

"I think that really shows that we can make changes, we can have an impact on the way in which we interact with our environment," Jonathan Drewsen, the communications coordinator at Clean Wisconsin, said.

These examples show us how our environment is changing based on our new day-to-day routines, or lack thereof, because of the coronavirus.

However, experts say we already knew that burning fewer fossil fuels would be good for the environment.

"We don't need to have a pandemic to be able to really make the changes we ultimately need to have a healthier planet and healthier communities," Drewsen said.

7:34 p.m. -- Historic volume causes challenges applying for unemployment, DWD working to meet need

As another 6.6 million workers across the United States filed for unemployment benefits last week, Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development projects the state's unemployment rate may reach 27 percent.

The DWD has been working to meet historic demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Some days are good; some days are stressful, you know? You don't know how you're going to make ends meet," said T.J. McKee.

T.J. typically bartends at three local spots, including Tomken's in West Allis. But the coronavirus pandemic forced him out of work.

T.J. says he began applying for unemployment on March 18.

"When I started the process, it seemed very simple until I got to the part where I had to contact someone," T.J. recalled.

7:19 p.m. -- Four positive tests of COVID-19 at Greenfield convent, including one death

Four sisters of the School Sisters of St. Francis living at Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Greenfield have tested positive for COVID-19. One sister has also died from the virus.

The medical examiner says Sister Marie June Skender died April 7. The convent's administrator says the medical examiner then contacted them that she tested positive for COVID-19 in a post mortem test.

"Our Lady of the Angels has been working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Milwaukee County Health Department, infection control specialists, and the Greenfield Health Department for months to protect our sisters and staff against COVID-19," said Jane Morgan, Administrator for Our Lady of the Angels in Greenfield.

Administrators say they are also working closely with the leadership of the School Sisters of St. Francis and the School Sisters of Notre Dame to keep them informed.

"We pray for the recovery of the affected sisters and the health of all of our residents and staff," said Morgan.

6:55 p.m. -- 'Safer at Home' order showing positives for road construction in Wisconsin

If any silver lining can be had from all of the abrupt COVID-19 changes, the roads around the state will be better on the other side.

"We're seeing this decreased traffic, so it does present a good opportunity for projects to begin and modify different tasks to possibly get done sooner," Mark Kantola, Communications Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, said.

Kantola says since the beginning of March, before Governor Tony Evers' Stay at Home order was implemented, passenger traffic is down 51 percent.

"It's very telling that the governor's stay at home order is working," Kantola said. "It is an incredible amount of traffic taken off the highway system. I can never remember traffic volumes being this low other than when there is a weather event. [But] when there is a weather event, the roads are much more impacted. So with traffic volumes this low, it really does create the possibility of advancing work and keeping our workers safe."

6:34 p.m. -- Work begins on creating 'alternative care facility' at State Fair Park

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it's just a few days away from starting construction on a field hospital at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis. It will care for COVID-19 patients.

The Army Corps of Engineers was on site Wednesday and Thursday to plan and design how they're going to turn the Exposition Center into a temporary hospital. Based on similar projects they've already completed across the country, it could be ready in less than two weeks.

Through the windows of the Expo Center, workers in masks could be seen Thursday assessing the building that will be transformed into an alternative healthcare facility with more than 700 beds.

"They're laying out right now the grids, in terms of how we will construct the individual patient spaces," said Col. Aaron Reisinger.

Reisinger says each patient space will consist of three 8-foot tall walls, with a curtain entrance. They will be about 10 feet long by 10 feet wide.

5:34 p.m. -- Milwaukee County Transit System launches ridership limits amid COVID-19 pandemic

Another day during the coronavirus pandemic meant new rules for Milwaukee County Transit Bus riders.

Thursday, MCTS began limiting the number of riders per bus to ten.

While the new rule was inconvenient for some, riders said it was necessary.

"It's nice. Just ten people on the bus," said rider Annie Bates.

Fewer people on a bus meant approximately 200 buses ran countywide on Thursday. In turn, pickups were more frequent, free, and used for essential trips only.

However, passenger limits meant some riders were passed up by buses at capacity. Another bus would be alerted to pick them up by a dispatcher.

5:27 p.m. -- Wisconsin clerks guarding ballots for days before counting

(AP) Wisconsin's chaotic presidential primary election has ended for voters, but it's far from finished for nearly 2,000 local clerks who have to guard ballots until counting begins Monday.

Clerks usually count ballots on election day, but federal court rulings have said clerks can accept absentee ballots postmarked by election day through Monday and that counting can't begin until that afternoon.

Clerks will have to keep the ballots secure until then and guard against tampering and leaks of results. Janesville City Clerk David Godek has locked his voting machines and ballots in a room in City Hall.

5:02 p.m. -- New dashboard to track medical readiness

(AP) The Wisconsin Hospital Association has unveiled an enhanced website to get out more data about the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The dashboard has information on hospital admissions and bed count, available ventilators and the number of hospitals with seven days or fewer of personal protective equipment for workers.

Association President Eric Borgerding said the site should help the public understand what's being done to build up capacity for a potential surge in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm hospitals.

4:31 p.m. -- DHS increasing contact tracing measures to treat possible COVID-19 exposure during primary election

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced new tracing mechanisms for local health departments to track better people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 during Tuesday's election.

In the past few weeks, DHS says they've added more than 120 contact tracers to help local public health departments interview people confirmed with COVID-19. That way, they can contact others who may have been exposed.

Contact tracing staff have worked on following up on more than 1,000 interviews to identify and inform communications for the Milwaukee Health Department alone.

Governor Evers has requested $17 million in new funds for local public health agencies, and 64 additional staff at DHS in his proposed legislative package, to adequately respond to the public health needs in Wisconsin. It's a way for the state to manage this pandemic until effective medical treatment actively or a vaccine is available.

"Contact tracing is a critical tool in our ability to effectively manage COVID-19 now and moving forward," said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. "We will continue this important work to ensure that every case is followed up on, contacted, and anyone who may have been exposed notified. We hope the extraordinary efforts taken by local clerks, public health, voters, and poll workers helped minimize any transmission, but we stand prepared to respond if that isn't the case."

Despite efforts to protect the public by moving to postpone in-person voting on April 7, the Supreme Court ruled against that request, and the elections were held on Tuesday. The Wisconsin Elections Commission provided municipal and county clerks with personal protective equipment and guidance so that polling would be as safe as possible for poll workers and voters. However, DHS says there is some risk that people were exposed to COVID-19 while waiting to vote, casting their vote, or working the polls.

Local public health officials are interviewing people who are positive for COVID-19 about exposures, which includes possible exposures at the polls. This information will allow our surveillance epidemiologists the opportunity to identify if the election had any impact on the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

DHS says they will not have a full picture of the effects for several weeks. It takes time for people to develop symptoms, talk to a health care provider about testing, get tested, get the results, and be interviewed by a local public health contact tracer.

2:39 p.m. -- Waukesha County Jail correctional officer tests positive for COVID-19

A correctional officer at the Waukesha County Jail has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office says they were informed Wednesday of the positive test.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Office along with the Waukesha County Jail are following all guidelines set forth by the public health director.

The latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services show 184 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Waukesha County. Six people have died.


1:51 p.m. -- Gov. Tony Evers says he will allow drive-up Easter services

Gov. Tony Evers will allow churches to offer drive-up services on Good Friday and Easter, his spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The conservative law firm the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and religious groups asked for clarity earlier Thursday.

“Our intention was always to ensure that people could still practice their faith while also following the public health and safety measures necessary to flatten the curve and keep folks safe,” said Evers’ spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff.

Evers last week denied a request from Republican lawmakers asking him to roll back his stay-at-home order that doesn’t allow more than 10 people to gather for a church service.

Many churches have moved to broadcasting services online, while others have already been offering drive-up services.

“We are not asking law enforcement to supervise or take enforcement steps against religious gatherings,” Baldauff said. “Rather, law enforcement has been working hard to help congregations understand the order and take precautions to keep themselves and their members safe.”

1:25 p.m. -- Organizations join together to deliver food to neighbors most vulnerable to COVID-19

Unite MKE and several other organizations came together at Ephesians Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee on Thursday to help pack meals for some of Milwaukee's most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Community health workers, who work with "at-risk" families throughout Milwaukee County, joined volunteers from several organizations worked together to make sure families in our community don't end up going hungry during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"It’s showing the love of Jesus Christ by standing up and meeting the needs of people who are in times of challenge," said Pastor Raymond Monk of Ephesians Missionary Baptist Church.

Upwards of 200 packages were stuffed full of meats, breads, produce and fresh fruits and vegetables then, delivered to the recipients. Many of the people on the receiving end are people of color who suffer hypertension, diabetes, who are pregnant, or who are elderly.

"What we are essentially doing is identifying families with underlying health conditions and providing meal delivery to them," said Bria Grant, Founder and Executive Director of Unite MKE.

Felicia Williams, a program director at WestCare Wisconsin, said the packages should be able to provide meals to each family for a couple of days.
"If they can’t get out and about then we want to bring it to them," said Williams.

Organizers say the goal of the event is to limit the need to leave home for some of Milwaukee's most vulnerable neighbors during this health pandemic.


12:44 p.m. -- Army Corps of Engineers mobilized to build alternative care facility at State Fair Park grounds

Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday that work will begin on the mobilization of an alternative care facility at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Evers said that the Army Corps of Engineers will partner with the state to build the facility. The Corps has partnered with other states to build facilities to support infrastructures.

“We are extremely appreciative of FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers for their responsiveness as we continue to see an increase in the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin,” said Evers in a press release. “This alternative care facility will be a critical addition to the southeastern region of our state and will be essential to continuing to ensure our healthcare systems are not overwhelmed.”

The Corps is contracting through Gilbane Building Company in Milwaukee and several subcontractors including HGA, Johnson Controls, Staff Electric, F. Ahern and Hetzel Sanfillipo.

Last month, Milwaukee city and county officials were calling on the state to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build an alternative healthcare facility on the Wisconsin State Fair Park grounds.

12:01 p.m. -- Wisconsin Democrats introduce bill that would move all 2020 elections to vote by mail system

Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature have introduced a bill that would move all 2020 elections to a vote by mail system.

Just two days after thousands in Wisconsin cast their ballots in person amid the coronavirus pandemic and confusion bloomed over the state of some absentee ballots, Democrats say the bill will "preserve voter rights while keeping voters and poll workers safe."

“What we witnessed on April 7th at polling places across Wisconsin was a tragedy, and worse, an avoidable tragedy. Forcing people to make the impossible choice between risking their health and exercising their right to vote is one of the most cynical things I’ve seen during my time in public service,” Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) stated. “During this public health crisis, it is important that we preserve and protect the fundamentals of our democracy. We need to act urgently to maximize voter accessibility. Moving to a Vote by Mail system will protect our democracy and keep Wisconsinites safe.”

Co-sponsors include Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), and Rep Steve. Doyle (D-Onalaska).

Legislative Republicans are expected to oppose the measure. TMJ4 News has reached out to the caucus for comment and will update this story when we know more.

11:47 a.m. -- Art groups post live performances in support of UPAF

How do you conduct a workplace giving campaign when so few people are actually at work?

It's one of the many challenges facing the United Performing Arts Fund as it strives to support its member groups in southeast Wisconsin.

A large component of UPAF's annual fundraising campaign is an extensive outreach into businesses and workplaces all over southeast Wisconsin. Member groups send performers to speak, conduct live shows, inspire and educate participating businesses about the impact of the performing arts. That part of this year's campaign is already pushed back according to UPAF President & CEO Deanna Tillisch.

"We're seeing our most loyal donors stepping up," Tillisch said of the immediate efforts to reach campaign goals, which are typically north of $10 million.

Some local arts groups prematurely ended their 2019-2020 seasons, and the future of the 2020-2021 seasons are surely in question.

"They're exploring pushing back their seasons to a point where people will feel more comfortable," Tillisch explained, acknowledging that the return to public gatherings may be gradual. "It's not going to be an instant switch where people are going to say, 'OK, let's go out and hang out with thousands of people.'"

Read the full story here.

11:23 a.m. -- Religious groups want drive-up Easter services

(AP) Religious groups and a conservative law firm asked Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday to clarify whether churches can offer drive-up services for Good Friday and Easter, saying not allowing them could be unconstitutional.

The request comes after Republican state lawmakers last week asked Evers to roll-back his stay-at-home order so in-person Easter and Passover services could be held.

Evers denied the request from lawmakers. His spokeswoman did not immediately return a message about the latest request.

The letter from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty cited a memo from nonpartisan attorneys for the Legislature saying that outdoor services that adhere to social distancing guidelines would be permissible. But the group said some local government officials are using the order to prohibit such services from happening.

“We understand the Governor’s responsibility to facilitate the safety of all Wisconsinites in the midst of this pandemic,” WILL President Rick Esenberg wrote to Evers. “But we cannot lose our heads. And state and local actors cannot use the occasion of a public health threat to run roughshod over the right to the free exercise of religion.”

10:52 a.m. -- 43-year-old man released from hospital after battle with COVID-19

A 43-year-old man has been released from an area hospital after fighting for his life due to COVID-19.

Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin said that Leo, 43, was released from the hospital on Tuesday after being hospitalized for coronavirus since March 20.

Leo had suffered respiratory failure and cardiac arrest during his battle. He was on a ventilator for eight days.

“Thank you for saving my life. I want to thank every single person from the nurses to the doctors – everybody who helped me. You did it. God bless you guys," Leo told hospital staff.

10:05 a.m. -- Wisconsin GOP's coronavirus bill sets up political skirmish

(AP) Wisconsin Republicans have proposed sweeping legislation designed to help the state deal with the coronavirus but the measure looks destined to stall in a political fight with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The governor's office released a summary of the GOP proposal that shows the plan would give the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee the ability to make state budget cuts as it deems necessary and eliminate a raise for state workers next year if state revenues dip dramatically.

Evers says that provision must come out of the bill before he'll move forward on it.

9:54 a.m. -- Unclear how 3 more prisoners got COVID-19

(AP) Wisconsin corrections officials say they don't know how three more inmates in the state's prison system contracted the coronavirus.

The Department of Corrections believes the first prisoner with a confirmed case of COVID-19 April 2 was exposed while on a trip outside the Columbia Correctional Institution.

On Sunday, the DOC confirmed three additional cases in the system. The three inmates had not left the prisons recently, according to DOC spokeswoman Anna Neal.

One of the three cases is at Columbia where three employees have also tested positive.

The State Journal reports the other two inmates with COVID-19 are at Oshkosh Correctional Institution. No employees there have tested positive, so it’s unclear how the virus could have gotten into the prison.

8:46 a.m. -- Gov. Tony Evers directs Wisconsin DNR to close all state parks, recreational areas

Gov. Tony Evers is directing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to close all state parks, forests and recreational areas amid concerns over crowds and vandalism.

Due to "unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and out of an abundance of caution," the governor is directing DNR to close parks and recreational areas by the end of the day April 9.

“I wanted to keep state parks open for the public to enjoy during this challenging time which is why outdoor activity is listed as an essential activity under the Safer at Home order,” said Evers in a press release. “Unfortunately, growing difficulty with ensuring social distancing compliance, dwindling cleaning supplies and mounting trash are some of the challenges faced by our state parks staff. We have to address the growing public health and safety concern and protect Wisconsinites.”

The areas affected include:

Northeast Region

High Cliff State Park

Southeast Region

Big Foot Beach State Park, Harrington Beach State Park, Havenwoods State Forest, Kohler-Andrae State Park, Kettle Moraine State Forest Lapham Peak, Loew Lake, Mukwonago River, Northern Unit, Pike Lake, Southern Unit, Lakeshore State Park, and Richard Bong State Recreational Area

South Central Region

Aztalan State Park, Belmont Mound State Park, Blue Mound State Park, Cadiz Springs State Recreational Area, Capital Springs State Recreational Area, Cross Plains State Park, Devil’s Lake State Park, Fenley State Recreational Area, Governor Dodge State Park, Governor Nelson State Park, Lake Kegonsa State Park, Lower Wisconsin Riverway, Mackenzie Center, Mirror Lake State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, Nelson Dewey State Park, New Glarus Woods State Park, Rocky Arbor State Park, Sauk Prairie State Recreational Area, Tower Hill State Park, Wyalusing State Park, Yellowstone Lake State Park, Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area, Pewits Nest State Natural Area, Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area and Dells of The Wisconsin River State Natural Area

The parks are to remain closed until further notice.

6:37 a.m. -- Beloved soul food restaurant is struggling due to COVID-19 impact

Mr. Perkins is a family-owned business that’s been in operation for five decades.

The owner, Cherry Perkins, said it’s a blessing to have been open over the years. She credits their success to faith in God, good food and good people.

“We are trying to stay in the community. We have had great success in the business and I’m not ready to go away,” said Cherry.

Beloved soul food restaurant is struggling due to COVID-19 impacts

Recently, the restaurant known for their soul food is struggling. Business is down 70% and they have had to scaled back on hours. The restaurant is now only open on Fridays and Saturdays, except for Soul Food Sunday, which is the first of the month.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this from a business perspective,”said Cherry.

Cherry said the coronavirus pandemic has made things especially hard for her family. Her brother and sister, who live out of state, both recently underwent surgery but due to COVID-19, she has not been able to visit them.

Although times are hard, Cherry is thankful for her health and she is confident her faith will get her through this.

“I fall back on my faith I’m a god fearing woman I love the lord and I now know he will see us through this,” said Cherry.

Wednesday, April 8

9:49 p.m. -- Absentee votes mailed in by the Election Day deadline still might not be counted

The Milwaukee Election Commission calls for the U.S. Postal Service to investigate why absentee ballots went missing.

The executive director also warns some people who mailed in absentee ballots on time that might not have their vote counted.

Milwaukee resident Thomas Ryan got his absentee ballot the day after the election.

"I got it at like 4 o'clock today," said Ryan, who ended up going to vote at the polls in-person.

According to the Milwaukee Election Commission, dozens, if not hundreds of other voters, never saw their ballots.

"I submitted my request for my absentee ballot, which never showed up in the mail," said Michelle Johns, who ended up going to the polls to vote.

The Milwaukee Election Commission is now demanding the USPS investigate why some ballots never showed up even though officials say they were put in the mail. But voters say they want more answers.

"Not just the post office, but everybody involved from the processors to the post office needs to be investigated," said Ryan.

Voters in Fox Point, Appleton, Oshkosh, and Dane County have also complained of problems with absentee ballots.

The City of Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said the problems with absentee ballots do not end there. There are also questions about whether or not your vote will be counted even if you mailed it back, and it did not arrive on April 7th, Election Day.

According to Albrecht, some ballots are coming in Wednesday, the day after the election without a postmark. Some post offices do not put postmarks on mail. The ballots would clearly have been mailed on Election Day or earlier. However, he is now asking the state if they can count those ballots as votes.

"Not every ballot returned to us has a postmark on it," said Albrecht. "Do we have the ability to count those ballots, or will there be a literal interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that the ballot must have an April 7th postmark."

The election results will be tabulated on April 13th.

9:41 p.m. -- Even with better projections on COVID-19, officials say 'Safer at Home' is more important than ever

With Passover starting Wednesday and Easter on Sunday, Milwaukee County is making an effort to remind people to stay at home.

The weekend comes as new data projections show that social distancing may be working to flatten the curve.

Dr. Ben Weston, the Milwaukee County Medical Director, says, "social distancing, minimizing trips outside of the home. Keeping the right distance when you are outside of the home. I think a lot of the right things are being done, and that's why we've seen that projection improve."

Weston is talking about the University of Washington projection that is continuously revised with new data. The latest version shows the expected peak coming much earlier, Monday, April 13th.

"Today it looks quite a bit more promising the peak is lower, the peak is closer, which isn't necessarily a good thing but in this case, it's a lower peak as well," says Weston.

The University of Washington study shows less critical care beds needed and a significantly lowered death toll than initially anticipated. Short only 12 ICU beds and a total of 424 deaths by August. But the data does not take into account Tuesday's election, which Weston says could change results.

"What we did in Milwaukee County yesterday was anything but social distancing… I would be shocked if it doesn't have an effect on the numbers," says Weston.

One way the county is continuing to press its "Stay Home Save Lives" in the community is by turning to local faith leaders. Pastor Walter Lanier of the Progressive Baptist Church in Milwaukee has been addressing his congregation online since before the Governor's "Safer at Home" order. He says parishioners are glad to have a place to meet online.

"What that says to me is two things. They are honoring that stay at home message; they really appreciate even more the steps that we are taking to create community online."

Pastor Lanier will hold service on Easter Sunday online. He says part of his message will be to accept our new normal for now.

"If we just settle into it slow down, we're used to doing things so quickly in our nation and our globe. If we slow down our pace, take a breath, its not shifting in days… it's weeks and months. We'll be alright; we'll be okay."

Dr. Weston's key message to those who are currently observing the "Safer at Home" order is "the better we do at staying home right now, the sooner we can get out, the sooner we can go back to our normal lives."

8:35 p.m. -- Town of Waukesha man accused of stabbing family members feared coronavirus was going to kill them

A man accused of stabbing four family members last month, killing two, said he did it because "the coronavirus was going to get them, so I had to kill them," court documents reveal.

36-year-old Adam Roth is accused of stabbing his wife, her mother, and her two sisters last month. Roth also allegedly killed a dog in their house.

His wife, 34-year-old Dominique Roth, and one of her two sisters, 26-year-old Deidre Popanda, died at the scene. 36-year-old Desirae Popanda and 62-year-old Gilane Popanda had to go to the hospital for their injuries.

6:36 p.m. -- Officials: Antibody testing could be game-changer in fight against COVID-19

If you want to find out if you are possibly immune to the coronavirus, an antibody test may give you an answer.

Health officials say it could be a game-changer in the fight against the virus, and it's now being done in Southeastern Wisconsin.

ARCpoint Labs in Brookfield is slowly ramping up testing for coronavirus antibodies.

It's a simple finger-prick blood test that can tell you if you've had the coronavirus or were exposed and are now healthy with the antibodies for the disease. The test is not the same as the one to determine if you currently have COVID-19.

President Alan Wedal said they already have hundreds of tests scheduled for this week.

"Having the antibodies, especially the IgG tells you that your body has developed the fighting mechanism to fight off the coronavirus," Wedal said.

It just takes 10 minutes to get the results.

"Think of it like a pregnancy test. There will be lines that will be displayed on there," Wedal said.

While many health officials say if you have the antibodies, it's unlikely you'll get symptoms of the virus again, more research needs to be done.

Dr. Steve Kroft of the Medical College of Wisconsin addressed the antibody testing during a webinar Tuesday hosted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

"Because the FDA has not been providing oversight of these particular tests as they hit the market, we really do not have any idea how they will perform," Dr. Kroft said. "It will be useful to understand the spread of this virus through the population as well as potentially as we learn more, determine who has some degree of immunity to the virus, and therefore is eligible to return to the workforce."

Snap Logistics in St. Francis is a trucking company that delivers supplies to manufacturers and hospitals. Owner Nate Rupp said the virus has changed their workflow.

6:18 p.m. -- Local physician shares thoughts on why African Americans are hardest hit by COVID-19

While everyone is susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, the statistics show African Americans are the hardest hit demographic in Milwaukee County.

As of the most recent United States Census estimations, 27.2 percent of Milwaukee County residents are African American. However, as of Wednesday afternoon, 658 (45 percent) of the county's 1,461 confirmed cases of coronavirus are African American.

Of the 59 COVID-19 deaths in the county, 42 are African American, which makes up 71 percent of the total.

"If we are shocked and surprised, that means we're not aware of what's going on in our backyards, in our neighborhood, in our cities, forever actually," Dr. Tito Izard said.

Dr. Izard is a local family physician. He points to five key points of why the pandemic is hitting this community hardest.

Economic determinants

"The lack of wealth accumulation that exists within the African American population," Izard said. "Wealth position, which frequently isn't talked about as much, is more important than your actual income. Someone could have a job and still have zero wealth. If you lose your job, you're immediately in a crisis. So the lack of wealth accumulation that exists within the African American population, this is due to historical lineage between slavery, Jim Crow, it puts them in an economically disadvantaged position."

Health Disparities

"We are all pretty familiar with the higher risks of hypertension, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancer, and such," Izard said. "African Americans are high on that list for health disparities. When you add conditions together, such as having asthma and diabetes or having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, that is going to make a person more at risk if they're exposed to the virus."

Healthcare provider implicit bias and institutional racism

"This is really an issue we need to seriously address in healthcare," Izard said. "The healthcare provider implicit bias and institutional racism that exists. Studies show, African Americans when they present to a healthcare provider, they get diagnosed and treated differently based on the same symptoms as a white person. How we get treated when we present affects the relationship, and African Americans may present with more severe symptoms."

Lack of Primary Care Physicians in the African American Community

"Not only is it an issue with having health insurance or being under-insured, but where can I get primary care?" Izard said. "If you don't have that primary care provider and you are used to getting care through Urgent Care or the Emergency Room, you're likely to present in a late course. Someone with a long time relationship with a primary care physician, that person is more likely to contact them and be able to talk through what's going on."

Marital Status

"Marital status plays a significant status in our health," Izard said. "African American men who are married are far healthier than single African American men. While African American women have the highest rate of being single, an African American female is more likely to have a substantially good relationship with their healthcare provider than a single African American man."

Izard says the curve in the African American community won't flatten overnight. He says this is years in the making and will require help from outside sources too before things get better.

"An African American person in the Central City of Milwaukee will most likely need additional resources to help support them staying isolated," Izard said. "We need to mobilize at the grassroots community level. Working with those community members who really know those neighborhoods and use them to provide food assistance, make phone calls and make sure kids in the house are able to do their homework, make sure they have over the counter medications to get them through the 14 days. Is there assistance? Are there quarters for them to wash their laundry? Can they even stay isolated in the house? These are things we can do. Create the support with grassroots organizations so they can provide at the doorsteps of those households to get the things they need to stay isolated."

5:00 p.m. -- State officials warn smoking could increase chance of getting COVID-19

Wisconsin state health officials are issuing a new warning for smokers.

State health officials warn it increases your risk of catching coronavirus.

They say the habit puts your hands in contact with your mouth.

It also weakens the lungs, putting you in danger of a worse outcome, officials say.

You can get free coaching, and medications to help quit smoking, vaping or other tobacco use from the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line.

Click here for more.

4:42 p.m. -- Wisconsin couple married for six decades dies from COVID-19 just 2 days apart

As husband and wife, Glenn and Beverly Wefel spent more than six decades together. They passed away just 48 hours apart.

Glenn died April 2. Beverly died just two days later.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner identified the Wefels as two of 49 people to have died from complications of COVID-19.

"They outlived most of their friends and relatives, said Corinne Feider, one of the Wefels’ daughters. “My mom would always say ‘I want that song at my funeral' and these sort of things and now we can't even have that."

Feider says her dad worked as a longtime carpenter, most recently with Miller Brewery. Prior to that, Glenn worked on various construction projects in the Milwaukee area including the Pfister and the Milwaukee County Zoo.

“He was always very proud of his work,” said Feider. “While the zoo was being built, he would point out things he did when he was there and we were kids."

Beverly volunteered at her church and at a local nursing home, making decorations to brighten the surroundings for residents especially around the holidays.

4:12 p.m. -- Election officials want USPS to investigate why some absentee ballots were never delivered

Local and state election officials are reporting major issues with absentee ballots.

The Milwaukee Election Commission said it's requesting an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service as to why some absentee ballots were never delivered.

Milwaukee's election director says he's very concerned about two issues regarding the post service's handling of absentee ballots. He says some were never sent out — and others didn't receive a postmark date — meaning election officials can't prove they were mailed in on time.

Milwaukee resident Stephanie Decubellis says she didn't vote in the spring election — but it wasn't due to a lack of effort.

"We actually had an absentee ballot come for somebody who used to live in our apartment who we contacted, and they were able to get theirs, but yeah, we requested ours three weeks prior and never got them," said Decubellis.

Without an absentee ballot, Decubellis and her partner went to Riverside High School Tuesday to vote in person — but they didn't want to wait for hours in long lines.

"We just felt that the risk factor was a little too high, so we actually did end up leaving," she said.

Read the full story here.


3:41 p.m. -- Wisconsin GOP's coronavirus bill sets up political skirmish

(AP) Wisconsin Republicans have proposed sweeping legislation designed to help the state deal with the coronavirus but the measure looks destined to stall in a political fight with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The governor's office released a summary of the GOP proposal that shows the plan would give the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee the ability to make state budget cuts as it deems necessary and eliminate a raise for state workers next year if state revenues dip dramatically.

Evers says that provision must come out of the bill before he'll move forward on it.


2 p.m. -- Wisconsin voters wait for hours, others stay home amid virus

(AP) Thousands of Wisconsin voters waited hours in long lines outside overcrowded polling stations to participate in Tuesday's presidential primary election. Thousands more stayed home, unwilling to risk their health even as Republican officials pushed forward with the election amid a stay-at-home order.

But many of the potential voters who remained in their homes complained that the absentee ballots they had requested never showed up.

The chaos in Wisconsin underscores the lengths to which the coronavirus outbreak has upended politics as Democrats seek a nominee to take on President Donald Trump this fall. Wisconsin is the first state in three weeks to hold a presidential primary contest.


1:51 p.m. -- Wisconsin election could affect length of state's Safer at Home order, DHS says

Tuesday's election could have an impact on the state's Safer at Home order.

Wisconsin's Safer at Home order is set to end on April 24. The Department of Health Services said Wednesday they may recommend extending the order if they see an increase in COVID-19 patients due to in-person voting.

"One factor will be the impact of yesterday's election and if standing in line will create a bump," Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said on a conference call.

Palm said DHS will also look at data from neighboring states to determine whether or not that order should be extended.

On the same conference call, DHS officials also said models show Wisconsin's peak of COVID-19 patients is anywhere from three to six weeks away. They tanked the public for stepping up and listening to health officials, saying we are flattening the curve and pushing our surge further down the road.

"When you flatten the curve, you are pushing the peak and making it as low as possible, so health care infrastructure is such that we can meet the demand," Palm said.

1:11 p.m. -- Attempted homicide defendant wants release due to COVID-19

A La Crosse County judge has denied a request to lower bond for a man charged with shooting and wounding a police officer.

An attorney for 35-year-old Allen Kruk had asked that the defendant be released on a signature bond with house arrest so he wouldn’t be at risk of contracting the new coronavirus in jail.

Judge Ramona Gonzalez denied that request Tuesday.

The La Crosse Tribune reports Kruk has been in the La Crosse County Jail on a $50,000 bond since he was charged Sept. 6 with attempted first-degree intentional homicide using a dangerous weapon and several other counts.


12:46 p.m. -- The Pfister Hotel temporarily closed due to coronavirus pandemic

The Pfister Hotel has announced that it will be temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Milwaukee landmark was the last major hotel downtown to remain open before the decision on Tuesday, according to our partners at the Milwaukee Business Journal.

The Pfister Hotel general manager Tim Smith said the welfare of hotel employees was the top reason for the closure.

Other area hotels such as Saint Kate - The Arts Hotel, Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Milwaukee Marriott Downtown, the Westin Milwaukee and The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in the 3rd Ward all made decisions to close in late March and early April for similar reasons.

12:21 p.m. -- 911 dispatchers help protect first responders during coronavirus pandemic

911 dispatchers might be easily overlooked as the world fights the coronavirus, but Waukesha County's Preparedness Director says they're an important buffer between the public and our first responders who are at risk of being exposed to the potentially deadly virus.

"We have two clients, if you will, in the 911 center," said Gary Bell, Waukesha County's Emergency Preparedness Director. "The citizens and the first responders and we're really the conduit between the two to make sure all are safe."

In the past few weeks, as COVID-19 cases spread throughout the state, training has kicked in at the Waukesha County Communications Center. The Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance tool and the Emergency Medical Dispatch Pandemic Protocol are now in full effect.That means every person who calls 911 will be asked two questions.

"'Do you have COVID-19 released symptoms?' And, 'have you been in contact with someone who has tested positive COVID-19?' So, we're collecting on that on every call, not just EMS but, police and fire calls as well." said Bell.

The answers to those questions help determine who responds to the calls and what steps are taken to keep the risk of exposure to first responders low upon their arrival.

Read the full story here.

11:53 a.m. -- Foxconn plans to help produce ventilators at Wisconsin plant, Medtronic CEO says

Foxconn's Wisconsin plant is planning on making ventilators with through a partnership with a medical device firm, the company confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday.

In an interview with CNBC, medical device company Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC that the companies were partnering up to make ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ishrak told CNBC that the company expects to make the PB-560 ventilators within the next four to six weeks.

"We're doing everything we can working 24/7 with Foxconn to bring this up to the factory in Wisconsin," Ishrak said.

You can see the full interview with Ishrak here.

11:25 a.m. -- Roundy's donates over $1K in pet supplies to Wisconsin Humane Society

During the coronavirus pandemic, Roundy's is not only thinking about the impact it has on humans, but our furry friends too.

Roundy's Supermarkets, who operate Pick n' Save and Metro Market across the state, donated over $1,500 in pet supplies to the Wisconsin Humane Society. The donation, which was in support of the humane society's Pets for Life program, included over 150 packages of dog food, cat food and cat litter.

"The Wisconsin Humane Society is deeply grateful for the generosity of Roundy’s during this time of need,” said Billy Zakrzewski, Corporate Philanthropic Advisor for the Wisconsin Humane Society in a press release. “WHS has been deemed an essential organization and the support of the community is needed now more than ever. Our community outreach team is doing its best to provide supplies to families with pets in the most economically disadvantaged areas of our community.”

10:50 a.m. -- UW Hospital joins COVID-19 plasma trial

(AP) University Hospital in Madison will join a national effort to transfuse antibodies from the plasma of people who recovered from the coronavirus to treat patient still struggling with it.

The technique is a century-old treatment used to fight off flu and measles outbreaks in the days before vaccines, and tried more recently against SARS and Ebola.

With no approved treatment for COVID-19 and more than 11,000 deaths in the U.S., the unproven approach offers some hope against COVID-19.

As of Tuesday night, Wisconsin reported more than 2,500 coronavirus infections and 92 related deaths — 49 of them in Milwaukee County.

“We know that antibody has neutralized the virus in one person,” said Dr. William Hartman, a UW Health anesthesiologist heading up the effort at UW Hospital, which is part of a national study. “We assume that the antibody will neutralize the virus in another person. It’s an extra boost to help fight off the infection.”

UW Hospital has joined the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, started about a month ago by Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic and other institutions.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins, through which UW Hospital’s treatment program will operate, Hartman tells the State Journal.


10:11 a.m. -- Nearly 19,000 in Milwaukee brave polls for Election Day

Nearly 19,000 people braved the polls and risked exposure to COVID-19 to cast their ballots in the City of Milwaukee on Tuesday.

The City of Milwaukee is reporting a total of 18,803 in-person voters. In Milwaukee County, 203,899 ballots were requested, 203,288 were sent out and 151,781 have been returned.

Statewide, 1,287,827 people requested ballots, 1,275,117 were sent out and 1,003,422 have been returned.

Nearly 19,000 people cast in-person ballots in Milwaukee on historic Election Day

Wisconsin was the only state to continue with Tuesday's election as scheduled. People abided by coronavirus guidelines by wearing face coverings, bringing their own pens and standing at least 6-feet apart from other voters.

The first election results will not be released until after 4 p.m. on April 13.


9:32 a.m. -- Black voters weighed history, health in Wisconsin election

(AP) Black voters in Milwaukee said the decision to go ahead with Tuesday's Wisconsin primary amid the coronavirus pandemic was especially problematic in their city, the state's largest.

The city of 590,000 has a black population of nearly 40 percent and has suffered roughly half of the state's coronavirus deaths, many of them minorities. Officials closed all but five of the city’s 180 polling places, forcing hundreds of voters to congregate at only a handful of voting sites even as the Democratic governor warned people to avoid crowds as a way to slow the spread of the virus.

The conservative-learning Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the governor's attempt to delay the election.

9:02 a.m. -- Voters return 77% of absentee ballots in time

(AP) New numbers from the Wisconsin Elections Commission show voters have returned at least three-quarters of the absentee ballots they requested in time for them to count in the state’s spring election and more could be in the mail.

According to the elections commission, as of 8 p.m. Tuesday voters had requested nearly 1.29 million absentee ballots. Clerks had issued nearly 1.28 million absentee ballots and had recorded 990,129 returned. That's about a 77% return rate.

Voters had until 8 p.m. Tuesday to drop absentee ballots off at the polls. Clerks also will accept any ballots postmarked Tuesday that they receive through the mail until April 13, which means clerks could be getting more ballots in the mail in the coming days.

8:47 a.m. -- Seton Catholic Schools provide free lunches to kids, teens during 'Safer at Home' order

If you and your kids are looking for food during this difficult time, Seton Catholic Schools is offering it for free every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, during this 'Safer at Home' order.

Ten schools make up the Seton Catholic Schools organization, which has given away 36,000 meals since schools closed in March. They're available to anyone with children under the age of 18. All you have to do is tell the staff where your child goes to school.

One note, there will be limited supplies on Good Friday.

To help with safety, one of the K-5 teachers, Amy Johnson, and her mom made masks for staff to wear while distributing meals. They've made 45 so far, and are still sewing!

See a full list of meal distribution sites and times here.

7:33 a.m. -- In-person services restricted at Wisconsin DMVs starting Wednesday

Sorry, your dreams of waiting in the long lines at the DMV are going to have to wait. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is restricting in-person visits to all DMV Service Centers beginning Wednesday.

The new regulation is in place to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. All service centers will be closed for in-person transactions until further notice.

However, if one of the following services applies to you, the DMV will still serve you by appointment only:

  • Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL)
  • Voters needing identification who need to use the Identification card Petition Process
  • New Wisconsin residents who need a driver license or ID for voting

To make an appointment for one of these essential services while the Safer at Home order is in place, call the DMV Communication Center at (608) 264-7447.
The DMV has also made other adjustments in order to reduce the need for face-to-face visits. Those are:

  • All driver licenses and CDLs renewals are extended 60 days
  • Emissions testing requirements have been deferred
  • Registration renewals should still be completed by mail or online by the renewal date
  • Non-CDL driver skills tests have been cancelled until further notice
  • A robust online presence (wisconsindmv.gov) to assist with your other DMV needs

DMV staff will still be available to handle phone calls, process mailed-in applications, and assist with any other prioritized work on behalf of the state, according to the WIsDOT.

Tuesday, April 7

10:21 p.m. -- 'I didn't know it was going to be all this chaos': Nurse arrives late, turned away from the polls

At what election officials say was the busiest polling place in the City of Milwaukee, an estimated 5,000 voters cast their ballots.

The site at Riverside University High School had lines wrapped around several city blocks from when the polls opened at 8 a.m. until the last voter got inside around 10 p.m.

Anyone who was in line at 8:00 was allowed to vote, but some just missed the cut-off.

Renee Bacon says she just got off her shift as a nurse and rushed here to vote. After looking for a parking space, she got to the end of the line around 8:03 but was turned away.

"I'm sad, I really am upset. Cause they've been saying so many different things about how we're supposed to vote, when to vote, and we can't do it now. They should keep the polls open later. I wish I had done absentee ballot or something, but I didn't know it was going to be all this chaos," said Bacon.

Earlier Tuesday, most voters said it took them around an hour and a half to get through the line, some waited closer to 2 1/2. Lachelle Jones said it was her duty to be here. "We got to do it. We have to do it. They tried to postpone it. It didn't happen, so, unfortunately, we have to be out here," said Jones. Inside, poll workers wore personal protective equipment and sanitized voting stations. Members of the Milwaukee Health Department were on hand to make sure voters were observing social distancing rules.

Voters that were in line by 8 p.m. were allowed to vote. Milwaukee Police officers were on scene to patrol the end of the line. Most voters were in the doors of the school shortly before 10.

10:06 p.m. -- Voters still casting ballots almost 2 hours after polls technically closed in Milwaukee

Voters waited for hours, some in the rain, to cast a ballot on Milwaukee's north side.

At one point the line stretched to a nearly three-hour wait at Washington High School.

Inside the school's gym, poll workers sanitized booths and kept the crowds the recommended 6 feet apart with lines on the floors. But a lot of voters were frustrated a Primary Election held today.

"I feel like this is definitely unfair and unjust. You are taking the people in a pandemic right now you've asked us to come out when there is a 'Safer at Home' Order," said Michelle Johns.

She came prepared with her own chair and also an umbrella. She needed both, especially as the skies opened up and down-poured.

Wallace Bright also got rained on. The 71-year-old former Marine is also a Vietnam Veteran. Despite the risk to his health, he was not missing his chance to cast a ballot.

"My parents were landowners, and so were my grandparents, but they weren't allowed to vote until '64. Nevertheless, this is what America has progressed to," said Bright.

Despite a long day, people kept coming to the polls right up until 8 p.m. when they technically closed. Everyone in that line still got to vote.

9:52 p.m. -- Local, state, national politicians react to Wisconsin spring primary

Local, state, and federal politicians are reacting to Wisconsin's spring primary.

This comes one day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned Gov. Evers' order to postpone the election. Later Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting by six days because of the coronavirus.

DNC Chair Tom Perez wrote the following statement after the polls closed:

"This was a dark day for our democracy. In the middle of one of the worst public health emergencies in modern history, the Republican Party forced the people of Wisconsin to choose between their safety and their vote. The craven self-interest of the GOP knows no bounds. They suppressed people's voices and put lives in danger – all in service of their own partisan ambition. Democrats are showing true leadership during this crisis by advocating for the health and safety of the American people and the integrity of our democracy. And come Election Day in November, voters will remember which party had their back."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett highlighted the poll workers and voters on social media Tuesday evening.

President Trump also reacted to Wisconsin's primary voting during a coronavirus task force briefing Tuesday.

8:30 p.m. -- 'This is an extraordinary time': Racine County voters turn out amidst pandemic

In the throes of a pandemic, Wisconsin's primary moved forward Tuesday.

Election officials at Knapp Elementary School in Racine say nearly all of their voters cast their ballot from inside their car.

"Maybe like 15 minutes, it seemed like it was quicker than regular voting," said Madeline Pettigrew.

"This is quite very well done, actually. I expected it to be really really packed," said Mykel Alekzanderh.

Poll workers wearing masks and gloves used sanitizer and washed their hands in between interactions.

The indoor polling place was nearly empty. Only election workers were inside. The one voting booth was set up outside of the door.

"Nothing like it. I mean, this is an extraordinary time," said Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

While some communities consolidated polling sites, the City of Racine kept all 14 locations open.

"You'll have smaller lines and fewer people in close proximity. It was really important to us, too," said Mayor Mason.

In Mount Pleasant, a similar scene played out. Cars stretched around the village hall. Only after being screened by a poll worker could people go indoors to vote, one family at a time.

"It was about an hour wait, but I understand the reason for it, you know," said Jeffrey Risley.

Despite coronavirus concerns, voters tell us they felt safe, making sure their voice is heard.

7:41 p.m. -- South side polling sites running smoothly despite COVID-19 fears on Election Day

As Election Day rolls on, polling sites on the Milwaukee's South Side are slightly slower, but still running smoothly.

"We saw a huge rush in the morning," Asst. Chief Aaron Lipski with the Milwaukee Fire Department said. "But since we got our rhythm going, it's going smoothly."

Local entities banded together to work the polls during the shortage. Along with the Milwaukee Fire Department, the National Guard and Milwaukee Health Department were at Hamilton High School all day.

Early in the day, voters said wait times were between 15 and 30 minutes.

"We are calling that a collective win," Lipski said. "Not only is it fast but a safe and healthy process in light of the pandemic."

"Public health, in general, has been doing what it can to postpone the election," Julie Katrichis, Director of Clinic Operations with the City of Milwaukee Health Dept. said. "This is not an ideal situation during a pandemic. But like [Asst.] Chief Lipski said, we've got to work with what we got and do the best we can to keep people safe."

Folks coming out to vote were determined to do so, even when wait times extended to an hour.

"That's my constitutional right to vote," Dale Sutton said. "If I had to stand in line all day long, so what?"

7:04 p.m. -- Snap-on to reopen after disinfecting over the weekend, three employees test positive for COVID-19

Snap-on's Milwaukee facility will reopen Tuesday night after closing the previous Friday to disinfect due to a third employee testing positive for COVID-19.

The company says they are reopening to fulfill critical orders for the United States military and to support the national supply chain demand.

According to Snap-on, an outside cleaning service was used to disinfect following CDC guidelines and will now provide cloth face coverings to all plant associates.

Additionally, the company has said they will provide extra cleaning materials for equipment and requiring them to be disinfected more frequently.

6:50 p.m. -- Around 50 polling places open in Waukesha County, but only one in the city of Waukesha

On this Election Day, there were about 50 polling places in Waukesha County, but in the city of Waukesha, there was only one at the recreation center.

Turnout was up and down all day, and voters had mixed feelings on the decision to hold in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic still.

As Stephanie Kinlow went to the polls in Waukesha, she couldn't help but think of her two family members who remain hospitalized with COVID-19.

"When it hits home, it really hurts a lot worse," Kinlow said. "More than likely, there's two less votes counted today with them being in the hospital.

She and thousands of others came out to the city's recreation center to make their voice heard.

Voters showed up wearing masks and gloves, making sure to social distance as they got in line.

Inside, there was plenty of hand sanitizer, and plexiglass separated the voters from the poll workers, then they checked in.

Poll worker, Brenda Ericson, said they were taking all precautions.

"We're all doing our jobs, and we're all trying to keep everybody safe and sound, so the coronavirus doesn't grow within just voting," Ericson said.

6:43 p.m. -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says election process in Burlington is going smoothly

In Burlington, a steady stream of cars made their way into the building for a drive-through style voting process.

Each person held their ID up against their car window, and a volunteer staff member brought them their ballot.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos volunteered as an election inspector. He said the process in Burlington was going smoothly.

"I am very confident people are going to look back at this election and say while it wasn't as easy as a normal election was, it went off as well as it possibly could knowing the challenges we had with the virus," said Vos.

However, in some cities, that was not the case. In Milwaukee, people waited in long lines, some for up to two hours to cast their ballot. Typically in Milwaukee, there are 180 polling locations, but due to a lack of volunteers, that number was cut down to five.

"Sounds like all across Racine County, they are having no real issues. The City of Milwaukee chose to take a different path. They chose to only have a few polling locations sites open, and in many ways, it looks like they didn't prepare as adequately as the people that are here did to make sure they did whatever is possible to avoid those long lines. I'm sorry for the people who have to deal with that. They should talk to the Mayor and Common Council and ask why they made those decisions because other people made different decisions and getting a much different result," said Vos.

When Vos was asked about if people were being forced to compromise their health for a due process, he said there is no evidence postponing the election to June would have been safer.

"When Governor Evers said that early in his press conferences, I was 100% in agreement," said Vos.

5:31 p.m. -- Voters bear long lines on Milwaukee's north side

Thousands of voters waited in long lines to cast their ballots Tuesday at polling centers on Milwaukee's north side.

Lines of voters outside Washington High School were hundreds deep throughout the day. By 4 p.m., voters wrapped around a football field and extended up to the school's entrance. Poll workers said around 350 people were in line at all times of the day.

The lines were a daunting sight for voters like Alonzo Evans, who decided risking exposure to coronavirus was worth the opportunity to cast his ballot.

"First I thought, maybe I'm not going to do this, and then I said, 'Nah, I'm going to do it anyway,'" said Evans.

Greg Gruna said the decision even to show up to vote came down to the last minute.

"Come hell or high water, if this is my last day on Earth I'm going to vote," Gruna said.

5:05 p.m. -- 750 Milwaukee ballots invalidated over witnesses

(AP) The city of Milwaukee's top election official says hundreds of absentee ballots filed without a witness signature during the roughly 24 hours a federal judge said the requirement didn't apply won't count.

U.S District Judge William Conley on Thursday lifted the witness signature requirement for absentee voters in light of social distancing mandates to slow the coronavirus. A federal appellate court reinstated the requirement the next day. State election officials have said ballots filed without a witness signature are therefore invalid and voters who cast them can't vote again in any way.

Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht says that as of Tuesday afternoon the city had received 750 absentee ballots without a witness signature. He says those ballots will not count.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett apologized Tuesday for the election, saying it's embarrassing that the Republican-controlled Legislature didn't postpone the election and now tens of thousands of people to choose between voting and risking infection at the polls.

4:47 p.m. -- Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office identifies 49 COVID-19 deaths

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office has identified 49 people who have died from complications of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus (as of Tuesday morning).

35 of the 49 victims are black, 12 are white, and two are Hispanic when separated by race. 20 of the 49 victims are women and 29 are men. 42 of the 49 victims are 60 or older, and 7 of the 49 victims are below the age of 60.

94 people have died across the state of Wisconsin with more than 2,600 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

4:19 p.m. -- MCTS to begin limiting passengers on buses to 10 beginning April 9

Milwaukee County Transit System buses will start limiting their passengers to 10.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said that starting on Thursday, April 9, MCTS buses would limit their passengers to 10.

Buses that already have 10 passengers on board will not pick up additional passengers.

People waiting at stops will have to wait for the next bus if the bus is already carrying 10 passengers.


3:37 p.m. -- Coronavirus deaths increase to 94 in Wisconsin

(AP) The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Wisconsin increased by 17 as reported Tuesday as voters were casting ballots in person at the polls statewide, despite an order to stay at home to avoid spreading the highly contagious disease.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that deaths increased from 77 on Monday to 94 on Tuesday. The overall number of confirmed cases rose from 2,440 to 2,672.

The numbers come as Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is urging people to be as safe as they can when voting. Evers said he was “overwhelmed by the bravery, resilience, and heroism of those who are defending our democracy” by voting and working at the polls.

People in Milwaukee were waiting hours to vote, while turnout was lower in other parts of the state. Many voters wore face masks and gloves, while poll workers were taking even more steps to keep voting as safe as it could be.

There were shortages of workers due to many being afraid to work because of the virus. National Guard troops weer dispatched to help fill in gaps.

3:03 p.m. -- Molson Coors donates 150K cans of water to truck drivers

Molson Coors announced on Monday that it was donating over 150,000 cans of drink water to truck drivers across the U.S.

The company said it had donated 154,000 cans of fresh drinking water to truck drivers across the U.S. and Canada in order to minimize the number of stops they need to make during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company sent 104,000 cans to its breweries in Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Montreal, Toronto, and Milwaukee to be distributed to drivers.

“Truck drivers are the unsung heroes keeping America nourished and our supply chains moving during a time of great need,” says Michael Nordman, Molson Coors’ community affairs director. “While many around the country are sheltering in place, truck drivers are working long hours away from their families to keep our stores and pantries stocked.”

According to Molson Coors, drivers in the United States and Canada make shipments that carry nearly 16.5 million cases of beer and other drinks.

2:40 p.m. -- Wisconsin voters wait hours at the few open polling stations

(AP) Thousands of Wisconsin voters are waiting hours in line to cast ballots and the National Guard is staffing overcrowded polling stations.

This is straining the state’s ability to hold Tuesday's presidential primary election in the grip of an escalating pandemic. At the same time, many voters said they did not receive their requested absentee ballots and, unwilling to violate a stay-at-home order to vote in person, accepted their votes would not be counted.

The chaos in Wisconsin underscores the lengths to which the coronavirus outbreak has upended politics as Democrats seek a nominee to take on President Donald Trump this fall.


2:12 p.m. -- Poll workers called heroes of Wisconsin primary

(AP) The executive director of the city of Milwaukee's election commission says poll workers are the true heroes of the state's decision to move forward with an election.

The city of Milwaukee could only operate five polling sites for Tuesday's primary, down from its usual number of roughly 180, due to the coronavirus. Neil Albrecht, executive director of the city’s election commission, says Tuesday the five sites opened on time or within minutes of on time, and they were sufficiently staffed.

He says there were 80 to 100 poll workers at each site, and about 30 National Guard members at each location. Workers were taking safety precautions.

As of midday Tuesday, turnout had been robust, with most of the sites reporting wait times ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Lines stretched for several blocks as workers maintained social distancing between voters.

Albrecht called the wait times unfortunate. He also said the election has been filled with injustices.

Among them, his office has gotten numerous calls from people who requested an absentee ballot but didn't get one. He said for those people, their only option was to vote in person. He says because of the decision by the Legislature and the courts to move forward with an election, some members of the public who have voted consistently for 40 years or more are now faced with making a decision to skip the election and not cast a ballot.

“We have moved forward with an election, but we have not moved forward with democracy in the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

1:59 p.m. -- Wisconsin National Guard set up, staff Milwaukee self-isolation facility

Clare Hall on the Saint Francis de Sales Seminary grounds in St. Francis opened its doors March 30 to provide shelter and isolation facilities for individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Twenty-five Wisconsin National Guard troops are staffing the facility, including ten medics and fifteen other citizen soldiers to provide administrative and operational support.

Spc. Braydon Budz, a Soldier with the Medford, Wisconsin-based 273rd Engineer Company, said it’s good to be able to help out close to home.

“Being able to help in the community is why a lot of people joined,” Budz said. “Personally, that’s why I joined as well.”

Their continued efforts aim to help impact the community’s ability to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

In addition to caring for citizens in the Clare Hall facility, the National Guard is helping fill gaps in care across the state.

The National Guard is assisting the Wisconsin Elections Commission to fill-in as poll workers to disinfect and protect the public from contracting the virus at polling places.

They have helped staff a senior living facility in Grafton while it deals with an active outbreak, and are supporting the Wisconsin DHS to disperse person protective equipment (PPE) to those that need it most.

1:23 p.m. -- Spring turkey hunting season going on as planned

The 'Safer at Home' order lists outdoor activities as essential, which means that the 2020 Spring Turkey Season will proceed without changes to the season dates or management zones.

That being said. the hunting season will begin on its original date of April 15

Due to COVID-19, hunters should still practice social distancing and remain 6-feet apart from others.

All current regulations for the season apply. Licensed hunters should hunt the zone and period stated on their harvest authorization.

"Hunting and fishing provides us an opportunity in interact with nature. Hunting and fishing traditions run deep in Wisconsin," said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. "It's these traditions that allow us to have a moment of normalcy during this extraordinary time. Remember to be more than safe."

For more information, click here.

12:57 p.m. -- Milwaukee voters risk being exposed to coronavirus to cast their ballots

Thousands of people lined up outside of Milwaukee's five polling locations on Tuesday to cast a ballot in the spring election despite concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Voters picked candidates to support in Wisconsin's Presidential Primary Election and in several local and state general elections.

Most voters wore protective gear, such as masks and gloves, and tried their best to stay 6 feet apart.

Milwaukee voters risk being exposed to coronavirus to cast their ballots

Some voters were upset the election was being held during the statewide "Safer at Home" order.

"We are very upset that we are here right now," said Samuel Hogan. "We're going to vote to make sure that situations like these won’t happen again,"

Hogan supported Gov. Tony Evers decision to sign an executive order to postpone the election until June due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

However, the state's supreme court overturned that decision with a 4-2 vote on Monday.

"I would rather wait in this line hand-and-hand, come together as an American, to come exercise this great God given right to vote," said Richard Pakiwski, who supported the court's decision to overturn the governor's decision.

Read the full story here.

12:18 p.m. -- Refrigerated truck now at Froedtert hospitals due to COVID-19 pandemic

A spokesperson with Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin confirmed that refrigerated trucks were now at several of its locations.

The trucks are a part of the hospital's "effort to be as prepared as possible for the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic."

"Like many other health care providers locally and nationally, we have placed refrigerated trucks adjacent to our hospitals, including Froedtert Hospital, Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital and Froedtert West Bend Hospital," said the hospital spokesperson. "We continue to keep all individuals, families, health care workers and our entire community in our thoughts as we care for those in need across the Froedtert & MCW health network."

Froedtert joins other local hospitals that have refrigerated trucks on their properties. Aurora Sinai Medical Center said last week that they now had a refrigerated truck at its location as a part of its expected surge in patients and COVID-19-related deaths.

If someone believes they have been exposted to COVID-19, they are asked to contact their doctor or to call the Froedtert COVID-19 hotline at 414-805-2000.


11:51 a.m. -- If you didn't receive your Milwaukee absentee ballot in the mail, here's what you need to do

If you did not receive your absentee ballot to vote in the city of Milwaukee, Election Commissioner Neil Albrecht says you will have to go to one of the five polling places in the city to cast your vote, and he says some people are choosing not to vote for fear of their safety.

"We have moved forward with an election, but not with democracy in Wisconsin," Albrecht said.

Albrecht says his office has fielded hundreds of calls from voters who applied for an absentee ballot but did not receive one.

He says his staff has heard from voters who have not missed an election for 40 years, but will not be able to cast a vote this year, fearing for their health if they were to vote in person.

If you did receive your absentee ballot, you need to submit it to a drop off center by 8 p.m. tonight in order to be counted.

If you received your absentee ballot and mailed or dropped it off, you cannot vote at the in person polling locations.

To find your polling location or drop off center, click here.


11:26 a.m. -- No election results will be released Tuesday, state commission says

Though Wisconsin's spring election continued as planned on April 7, the first election results will not be released until after 4 p.m. on April 13.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said that though the election would continue as scheduled on April 7, there wouldn't be a public release of the results until votes were totaled on April 13 after a previously extended absentee voting deadline.

U.S. District Judge William Conley on Thursday rejected lawsuits seeking to postpone the election, but gave voters until April 13 to return absentee ballots.

On Monday, the Supreme Court blocked the plan to extend absentee voting, meaning that those with absentee ballots had to turn them in or be postmarked April 7 in order to be counted.

Though absentee voting was not extended, the Wisconsin Election Commission said that elections results were still restricted until April 13. Election night processes are described by the commission as "count the ballots, not the votes."

Votes will be tallied at the municipal board of canvassers meeting on April 13.

To learn more about expected election night procedures, click here.

10:45 a.m. -- Milwaukee cafe collecting donations to deliver free lunches to doctors and nurses

TMJ4 News created the "We're Open" campaign to remind you of places still offering carryout, which is allowed under Gov. Tony Evers' "Safer at Home" order.

This #TakeoutTuesday, we show you a Milwaukee Cafe owner delivering hundreds of meals to doctors and nurses, without making a dime in profit through this effort.

Milwaukee Cafe collecting donations to deliver free lunches to doctors and nurses

Molly Sullivan, the owner of Miss Molly's Cafe & Pastry Shop at 92nd and Center, is doing everything in her power to give her staff a fighting chance to make it through this unimaginable time.

"A lot of people in the restaurant industry survive on tips," said Sullivan.

Not only did she create an employee relief fund to take care of her staff, but she is also boxing up hundreds of lunches and delivering them to area hospitals.

Read the full story here.


10:06 a.m. -- Reminder: Five voting sites available in City of Milwaukee

There are only enough poll workers for five voting sites in the City of Milwaukee today. In a typical election, there are 180 such sites.

All five locations are at high schools:

1) Hamilton High School (6215 W. Warnimont Avenue)
2) Marshall High School (4141 N. 64th Street)
3) Riverside High School (1615 E. Locust Street)
4) South Division High School (1515 W. Lapham Boulevard)
5) Washington High School (2525 N. Sherman Boulevard)

To figure out your polling place, go to myvote.wi.gov. From there, click on "Find My Polling Place" and type in your address. The polling location will show up.

9:23 a.m. -- Wisconsin's spring election continues on despite coronavirus pandemic

Lines are long across Milwaukee voting sites Tuesday morning as Election Day continued on, despite last-minute efforts from Gov. Evers to postpone in-person voting.

The City of Milwaukee has five total voting sites. It normally has nearly 200. Gov. Evers has activated the Wisconsin National Guard to serve as emergency poll workers.

Gov. Evers signed an executive order suspending in-person voting Monday afternoon, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned that order just hours later.

If you are voting in person Tuesday, experts say you should wear a mask if possible and bring your own pen.

Monday, April 6

10:41 p.m. -- Voters forced to decide to go to the polls or stay home

Voters will have to decide whether to go to the polls or stay home Tuesday, as the Wisconsin primary carries on despite coronavirus concerns.

"I wanted to do the absentee voting, I wouldn't go to the voting place now," Jordan Byrd said. "Because we're shut down, workers are shut down. I don't understand why they'd have it a polling place."

Now Byrd will have to show up to the polls for his vote to count.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting because of the coronavirus. That means absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7 or turned in at a designated drop off site on Tuesday. Otherwise, you must vote in person.

Milwaukee officials say they've received requests for about 92,000 absentee ballots, and they expect another 20 to 30,000 to show up to the five polling sites Tuesday.

"There are many, many people who have taken pride in being regular voters and they've done so for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, and now for the first time they are making the decision they are not going to vote because of their health concerns," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "I'm not going to argue with them. I'm saddened about that. We've tried to do everything, everything, everything we can."

Meanwhile, other cities and towns have been working day and night to make sure every election worker and voter is protected. In Bayside, they've installed plastic shields.

"You get to a tent where you can put on gloves before you come into the building, and then once you get into the building, there's blue x's on the ground with painters tape to show people where they should stand, be social distanced."

10:01 p.m. -- Wisconsin expanding to new phase of COVID-19 testing

The state of Wisconsin now has the ability to test 35,000 people a day, according to health care officials in a Department of Health Services briefing Monday.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer of the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said improved technology as we start to understand the virus has allowed for more tests nationwide, and in the state of Wisconsin.

"We're not, I would say, out of the woods because they're still subject to some limitations but were in a much better position we were in even a week ago," Westergaard said.

The tests were previously reserved for people in intensive care units and healthcare workers who were showing symptoms of the virus.

In this new phase, doctors will be given discretion to determine who needs a test. They can also be used to target areas of immediate need, like nursing homes with positive cases.

8:46 p.m. -- Five voting centers, five absentee ballot drop-off locations open in Milwaukee for Tuesday's primary

If you're looking to vote in Wisconsin's spring primary, Milwaukee has five voting centers for Tuesday's election. Typically, there are 180 polling sites. There will also be five drop-off locations if you have already requested your absentee ballot.

Here's where you can vote in person tomorrow:

1) Hamilton High School (6215 W. Warnimont Avenue)
2) Marshall High School (4141 N. 64th Street)
3) Riverside High School (1615 E. Locust Street)
4) South Division High School (1515 W. Lapham Boulevard)
5) Washington High School (2525 N. Sherman Boulevard)

To figure out your polling place, go to myvote.wi.gov. From there, click on "Find My Polling Place" and type in your address. The polling location will show up.

The deadline to receive an absentee ballot was on Friday. If you already have an absentee ballot, you can drop it off in your mailbox on Tuesday before the mail gets picked up. Make sure the ballot is postmarked.

Voters who have completed their absentee ballot with a certificate envelope can drop it off at any of the locations below:

Drop-off Location NameDrop-off Location Address
Zablocki Library
3501 W. Oklahoma Ave. (enter through the courtyard)
Bay View Library
2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Washington Park Library
2121 N Sherman Blvd.
Mill Road Library
6431 N. 76th St.
Frank P. Zeidler Municipal Bldg
841 N. Broadway

They will all be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Election officials estimate 45,000 people who have requested absentee ballots have not sent them in.

8:07 p.m. -- Waukesha County Jail sees first positive case of COVID-19

The Waukesha County Jail has confirmed they have one positive case of COVID-19.

A 41-year-old male jail inmate has tested positive for the virus.

Waukesha County Jail received the news on Saturday and are taking all the necessary precautions as directed by the public health director.

The jail says, "given the sensitive nature of the individual’s medical records, this is all the information the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office will be releasing."

7:10 p.m. -- BBB warns of new scam targeting people who work from home during COVID-19

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people working from home during COVID-19 to be aware of scammers trying to take advantage of them.

The BBB says while companies try to quickly adapt to the changing environment, it's putting employees at higher risk of being targeted by scammers through phishing emails or unsecured network connections.

"So many people working from home and working remotely," Jim Temmer, President of the BBB of Wisconsin said. "A lot of scammers are trying to break into a company using technology."

The group is focusing on two specific scams. The first is called a business email compromise scam, where scammers try to impersonate emails that appear to come directly from your boss or someone the company does business with.

6:56 p.m. -- Coronavirus survivor donates plasma in hopes to save lives, one of the first in Wisconsin

On Monday, for the first time, a Versiti Blood Center collected plasma from a coronavirus survivor.

The donation took place at their facility in Milwaukee, and the hope is that it could help those fighting the infection.

Dr. Dave Lal, a pediatric surgeon at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, tested positive for COVID-19, a few weeks ago.

"I felt fine, but then I developed some just muscle aches and just was tired," Dr. Lal said. He recently traveled out-of-state and learned someone he was exposed to on that trip tested positive for the virus. He assumes he contracted it during this time.

"The worst of it was just worrying that maybe I unwillingly infected some of my patients or families and colleagues," Dr. Lal said.

Per protocol, he isolated for 14 days until last Monday, when he received a negative test.

Dr. Lal then looked into the possibility of donating his plasma as a part of the experimental treatment approved by the FDA.

Dr. Thomas Abshire of Versiti said it's a process of transferring the antibodies that fight COVID-19 from those who have recovered, to patients who are seriously ill with the virus.

"The FDA about a couple of weeks back allowed for emergency approval to be able to treat patients who were sick in the hospital with a plasma infusion," Dr. Abshire said.

6:28 p.m. -- Supreme Court blocks extended absentee voting in Wisconsin primary

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin's spring primary by six days because of the coronavirus.

The Wisconsin election is being viewed as a national test case in a broader fight over voter access.

6:07 p.m. -- Kohler, Walmart and more donate to Sheboygan nursing home struggling with COVID-19 outbreak

Colinda Nappa, an administrator at Sunny Ridge nursing home in Sheboygan, told us staff members are exhausted.

"We go to sleep, and we come back, and we go to work, and we don't stop in between," said Nappa.

Two residents have died here from COVID-19, and there are ten positive tests at the facility. More could be coming with the Wisconsin National Guard helping with testing.

At the same time, donations and support are pouring in. Some healthcare workers from St. Nicholas Hospital and Aurora came to work alongside Sunny Ridge caregivers.

The community is dropping off food, games, and puzzles for residents, and big corporations are joining in to help.

"Kohler donated 25 Amazon fire tablets so that our residents can communicate with their families," said Nappa.

Walmart is donating food and drinks for staff to keep them motivated, many of whom are working seven days a week up to 16 hours a day.

5:02 p.m. -- Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns Gov. Evers' order to postpone April 7 election

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has decided to overturn Governor Evers' executive order which postpones in-person voting until June.

The court ruled 4-2 that Evers lacked the authority to move the election on his own. The decision means the election will occur as originally scheduled on Tuesday.

Earlier Monday, Governor Evers signed executive order #74, suspending in-person voting for the spring primary until June.

The executive order also called for a special session to take place Tuesday to address the election date.

Prior to Governor Evers' signing the executive order, many cities were taking it upon themselves keep people safe while voting. Some cities were even setting up drive-thru voting so voters wouldn't even have to leave their vehicles.

According to the Governor, those adjustments were what helped him come to the decision of signing an executive order.

"As municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today,” said the governor.

4:01 p.m. -- Milwaukee County officials issue executive order to close all municipal polling places

Milwaukee County officials have issued an executive order Monday.The order declares all municipal in-person polling places shall not open and must remain closed on Election Day, April 7.

The executive order comes hours after Governor Tony Evers' executive order which suspends in-person voting for the Tuesday, April 7 presidential primary. In-person voting would be moved to June 9, 2020.

County Executive Chris Abele and Director of Emergency Management Christine Westrich jointly issued the order, which "directs that polling places in the County of Milwaukee shall not open on April 7, 2020, and shall remain closed for election purposes until June 9, 2020," unless the Governor or Legislature take further action or a court orders otherwise.

"The point here is clear: This is about saving lives," said Abele in a Monday afternoon briefing with other Milwaukee leaders. "Years from now, our kids are going to look back on this moment in history and ask how we handled what was the biggest pandemic in a century.

And everybody in elected office who isn't going to take absolutely every action at every point...to help preserve life, doesn't deserve to be an elected official; and clearly needs to re-examine that oath that we all take."

3:32 p.m. -- Wisconsin COVID-19 projections updated, shows earlier peak date and fewer deaths expected

Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) was recently updated. They are now predicting fewer deaths in Wisconsin and an earlier peak date.

Original data was predicting Wisconsin would see a COVID-19 peak on April 27, now they're saying that date will come ten days earlier on April 17. This projected peak day will be the worst day of this pandemic. We will see the highest death rate and most hospital resource usage.

With this update, IHME is predicting we will see 665 fewer deaths than initially thought. With the new numbers, IHME is predicting Wisconsin will see a total of 644 deaths by June 1. Initially, that number was 1,309.

While IHME does not break down why these numbers have changed, a good guess would be because of the social distancing and the Safer at Home order in effect all over the country.

The numbers have also changed for the United States as a whole. The peak day still sits on the same date, April 15.

Initially, IHME was predicting over 82,000 deaths nationwide. Now, that number sits at 81,766.

While this is still a lot of sick Americans and a lot of deaths, there's a bright side: the numbers are getting smaller. Let's hope the trend continues.

2:46 p.m. -- Pick 'N Save, Metro Market to limit number of shoppers in stores

Kroger, the parent company of Pick 'n Save and Metro Market, announced they would be limiting the number of shoppers in all of their stores.

As coronavirus continues to spread and social distancing becomes more and more critical, Kroger has taken it upon themselves to limit the number of shoppers in their stores.

Both Pick 'n Save, and Metro Market will be impacted by this change, as each store will cut its shopper capacity in half.

Kroger announced they made this change to "allow for proper physical distancing in every store."

Typically, grocery store building capacities are one person per 60 square feet. That will now change to one person per 120-square feet.

"Kroger's introduction of customer capacity limits is one more way we are doing our part to flatten the curve while operating as an essential business, providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food and products," said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger's senior vice president of operations.

Kroger will be using its QueVision technology to track its customer traffic.

Many Kroger stores have already made changes to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including using one-way aisles and designation certain hours for at-risk customers.

Some Kroger stores, located in areas where local or state ordinances require it, are also taking employees' temperatures spokeswoman Kristal Howard said.

2:02 p.m. -- American Family Insurance to return $200 million in premiums to auto customers

American Family Insurance announced Monday that they plan to return $200 million to their auto insurance customers.

As coronavirus continues to take its toll on the state, people are finding themselves struggling financially and altering their driving habits drastically.

With these current changes, American Family Insurance has decided to provide some relief and return millions of dollars to their auto insurance customers.

“American Family Insurance is doing this out of responsibility to our customers. They are driving less and experiencing fewer claims. Because of these results, they deserve premium relief,” said Telisa Yancy, American Family chief operating officer.

The premium will be a one time payment of $50 per vehicle insured under American Family Insurance. According to a press release from American Family, all 2.3 million checks should be distributed within the next 60 days.

American Family is also offering relief in several other ways. They have waived late fees, offered payment plans, and are offering payment deferral.


1:43 p.m. -- Sheboygan nursing home connected to nearly half of COVID-19 cases in Sheboygan County

A second resident of Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has died of COVID-19 in the past week.

Ten people, both residents and staff, have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility so far and at least 30 staff members have had to enter quarantine.

The Wisconsin National Guard was deployed there Sunday.

“The state made the request for us to assist immediately,” said Capt. Joe Trovato.

Second Sheboygan nursing home death

The National Guard's job is to make sure every resident and staff member gets tested for COVID-19.

More than 90 residents of the facility were tested in their rooms while staff members were tested outside the building.

Sunny Ridge is connected to nearly half of Sheboygan County’s 22 coronavirus cases, and the county’s only two deaths.


12:53 p.m. -- Gov. Tony Evers suspends in-person voting for Tuesday's election, moves Election Day to June

Gov. Tony Evers has signed an executive order which suspends in-person voting for the Tuesday, April 7 presidential primary.

Executive Order #74 will move in-person voting to June 9, 2020. The order also directs the state legislature to meet in a special session on April 7 to address the election date.

“Today, I signed an executive order suspending in-person voting for tomorrow’s election. Frankly, there’s no good answer to this problem—I wish it were easy. I have been asking everyone to do their part to help keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe, and I had hoped that the Legislature would do its part—just as the rest of us are—to help keep people healthy and safe,” said Gov. Evers. “But as municipalities are consolidating polling locations, and absent legislative or court action, I cannot in good conscience stand by and do nothing. The bottom line is that I have an obligation to keep people safe, and that’s why I signed this executive order today.”

All ballots already cast in the Spring Election will remain valid and will be counted, the Evers administration says in a news release.

Republicans in the legislature have already challenged the move in court.

“We are immediately challenging this executive order in the Wisconsin State Supreme Court," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement. “The clerks of this state should stand ready to proceed with the election. The governor’s executive order is clearly an unconstitutional overreach."


11:54 a.m. -- Milwaukee Municipal Court Judge Derek Mosley tests positive for COVID-19

Milwaukee Municipal Court Judge Derek Mosley announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 in March.

Judge Mosley says he tested positive for coronavirus on March 27 and was immediately placed on oxygen and admitted to Froedtert Hospital Intensive Care Unit.

"Being immunosuppressed since my kidney transplant, this has been the most frightening experience of my life," said Mosley in a Facebook post.

Judge Mosley says from the ICU unit he was transferred to the COVID-19 floor, and then later taken off oxygen to breathe on his own Saturday.

In 2016, Mosley was gifted a life-saving kidney from a friend and fellow judge after suffering from kidney disease.

Mosley says he will provide more updates on his health as they become available.

11:31 a.m. -- Milwaukeeans take break from homes to enjoy spring sunshine

Even with the “Safer at Home” order in Wisconsin, officials still encourage you to get outdoors for your physical and mental well-being, as long as you keep your distance.

This weekend, people across the Greater Milwaukee Area made sure to take advantage of the nice weather outside.

Milwaukeeans take break from homes to enjoy spring sunshine

On Friday, the North Shore Health Department closed down the beaches, including at Atwater Park in Shorewood. The playground also remained taped off, but people still found ways to take in some vitamin D.

Karena Ware, like others in community, decided to take a break from her home and enjoy the weather. For her, that meant sitting down to draw at Atwater Park.

“I figured I needed some sunlight,” Ware said. “Just working on some simple illustrations can keep my mind off a lot of stuff."

Read the full story here.

9:50 a.m. -- Wisconsin moves ahead with election, awaits Supreme Court

AP) Wisconsin is moving ahead with plans to hold in-person voting for its presidential primary and spring election on Tuesday, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

National Guard members will help staff the polls, even as the U.S. Supreme Court is weighed whether to intervene. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had originally pushed for Tuesday’s election to proceed as planned.

But on Friday changed course and asked the Republican-controlled Legislature to extend absentee voting until May 19 and have it all be done by mail. They have refused. Mayors are calling on Evers to take emergency action to stop the election, something he has declined to do.

9:24 a.m. -- Milwaukee's last day of drive-up voting draws hundreds

As hundreds of people turned out to Milwaukee's final day of drive-up voting, many waited in line for hours to avoid heading to the polls in person on Tuesday.

All day Sunday, cars wrapped around several downtown blocks. Some said the line stretched from Wisconsin Avenue at Water Street all the way to the Municipal Building on Broadway.

"I wanted to make sure my vote got in, and today is the day I can do that," said John Zutz.

Milwaukee's last day of drive-up voting draws hundreds

Many say the wait is worth it, as they want to do anything to cast their ballot before Tuesday. Election workers believe at least 3- 4,000 people could show up to vote in person in Milwaukee.

Read the full story here.

8:57 a.m. -- Scammers use fake coronavirus apps to target individuals

As state and federal officials continue to sound the alarm about the potential dangers of COVID-19, some scammers are already preying on peoples' fear to try and extort them.

A recent article in Forbes explained how hackers suspected to be in Libya are using a fraudulent app promising to track coronavirus cases in your area to spy on the victims who download it.

A different write up, by Domain Tools, spotlighted a similar app that, once downloaded, allows hackers to lock up your phone and demand money in exchange for unlocking it.

Coronavirus outbreak sparks new scams

"Many times, even if you pay, they don't give you the code to unlock the device anyway," said Jonathan Arnold, an IT instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

He said it's not surprising such scams have emerged in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"You're going to see a really large spike in malware and scams related to the coronavirus," Arnold said.

Read the full story here.

8:21 a.m. -- Mayors across the state ask WI DHS Secretary Andrea Palm to stop in-person voting

Mayors across Wisconsin have called upon Secretary Andrea Palm, of The Department of Human Services, to stop the in-person election scheduled for April 7th.

The mayors say they represent over 1.35 million constituents whom they want to protect against potential unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.

So far, the letter has been signed by Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, Mayor Eric Genrich of Green Bay, Mayor Lori Palmeri of Oshkosh, Mayor Tim Kabat of La Crosse, Mayor John Antaramian of Kenosha, Mayor Cory Mason of Racine, Mayor Tim Hanna of Appleton, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Mayor Karen Mischel of Viroqua, and Mayor Kathy Ehley of Wauwatosa.

Sunday, April 5

3:52 p.m. -- Proposed bill would allow online alcohol orders to be delivered in Wisconsin during coronavirus pandemic

A proposed Wisconsin bill could allow alcohol retailers to make deliveries from online or telephone orders.

Senate Bill 931, introduced late last month by Senator Chris Larson, would allow certain establishments to deliver alcohol to customers in Wisconsin.

Under current law, businesses with a retail license can only accept face-to-face orders from consumers. However, if the new bill passes, consumers will be able to purchase alcohol online or over the phone, and have it delivered to their home.

This proposed bill only allows these online and phone orders during a statewide public health emergency.

These online and phone orders can be placed as long as these five conditions are met:

  • The retailer holds a Class “A” or “Class A” license or holds a Class “B” or “Class B” license issued for a grocery store or restaurant
  • The products ordered are delivered to the customer by the retailer or an independent delivery service that gets less than half its revenue from delivering alcoholic beverages
  • Full payment of the order is made at the time the order is place
  • At the time the order is placed, the customer must assert that they are in fact 21 and are not intoxicated
  • When the alcohol is delivered, before the alcohol changes possessions, the retailer must confirm that the consumer is in fact 21 by checking their identification.

The bill was introduced by Senator Larson on March 26 and referred to the Committee on Economic Development, Commerce, and Trade on the same day. Its future is uncertain as the legislature is not scheduled to meet again until April 21.

3:14 p.m. -- 2nd person dies in virus outbreak at Sheboygan nursing home

(AP) Health officials say a second person has died in a coronavirus outbreak at a nursing home in Sheboygan.

The death at Sunny Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was announced Sunday as the Wisconsin National Guard arrived to begin testing all staff and more than 90 residents.

The Sheboygan Press reports 10 people had tested positive after a resident at the center became the first in the county to die from COVID-19. At least 30 staff members have had to enter quarantine. Wisconsin health officials reported Sunday the number of people in the state testing positive for COVID-19 has grown to 2,267, with 68 deaths. That's 12 more deaths that the previous day.

2:33 p.m. -- Liberal groups: Allow extended voting in Wisconsin election

(AP) Democrats and liberal groups in Wisconsin are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a ruling that extends absentee voting in Tuesday's spring election.

The groups argue in a legal brief filed Sunday that the extension is essential to preserve public health and ensure no voters are disenfranchised. Wisconsin's election is on track for in-person voting Tuesday despite widespread public health fears over the coronavirus.

Republicans argue that the election should be held as scheduled. And they say the extended absentee voting period ordered by a federal judge this week is confusing and unfair.

2:04 p.m. -- Officials prepare for lines at the polls Tuesday despite COVID-19 concerns

Wisconsin's primary election will go on as planned Tuesday after a special session to consider the governor's plea to delay it adjourned within seconds.

Gov. Tony Evers called for a special session Saturday afternoon to discuss a mail-only election in place of Tuesday's in-person vote. Lawmakers gaveled in and adjourned in a matter of seconds.

Gov. Evers released a statement that reads in part, "Republicans in the Legislature are playing politics with public safety and ignoring the urgency of this public health crisis. It’s wrong. No one should have to choose between their health and their right to vote."

Some lawmakers from both parties expressed frustrations.

Election day to go on as planned

"Moving to an all mail ballot at this stage would just be a logistical nightmare," said Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee.

"There's absolutely no reason why we couldn't do what all these other states have done," said Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, D-Milwaukee.

Read the full story here.


1:32 p.m. -- Wisconsin National Guard team sent to Sheboygan senior living facility

A Wisconsin National Guard Specimen Team was sent to a Sheboygan senior living facility Sunday to conduct COVID-19 tests.

The National Guard team set up a mobile testing site at Sunny Ridge and performed COVID-19 specimen collection.

Around 30 citizen soldiers and airman arrived at the facility early Sunday morning. They have been training for the past two weeks, learning how to set up the mobile testing cites.

According to a press release, local officials identified an outbreak at Sunny Ridge within the past week, prompting a response from the National Guard.

“Testing like this is prioritized from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and really what we’re trying to do is stop further spread of outbreaks of CVOID-19 within this facility,” Libby Jacobs, with the Sheboygan County Department of Health and Human Services, said. “Having testing of both staff and residents will help us quantify and reduce further spread of COVID-19 in both the staff, residents, and within the community.”

While at the facility, the Wisconsin National Guard established a drive-thru specimen collection for staff before they moved inside to test the residents.

“The National Guard is coming in and helping us with the manpower, with both medics as well as decontamination,” Jacobs added. “They’re staffed to help provide that testing and the coordination related to getting all of these residents and staff tested, as well as collecting specimens in a timely manner.”

12:14 p.m. -- Teenager allegedly threatened with jail over COVID-19 posts

(AP) A 16-year-old Wisconsin high school sophomore who had symptoms of the coronavirus and posted about it on social media was ordered by a sheriff’s deputy to delete the posts and threatened with being taken to jail, her attorney said.

The teenager is a student in the Westfield School District in Marquette County. Her attorney, Luke Berg, wrote to both the county sheriff and district administrator, who called the posts a “foolish means to get attention,” asking for apologies. The girl also should be permitted to post on social media again without fear of being charged or taken to jail, said Berg, an attorney with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

Sheriff Joseph Konrath and school administrator Bob Meicher did not immediately reply to messages seeking comment Friday.

According to the girl’s attorney, she suffered a severe respiratory illness with symptoms matching those of COVID-19. She tested negative for the disease, but her attorney said that doctors told the girl’s family that she likely had the virus but missed the window for testing positive.

The girl posted about her experience on March 26 on Instagram. Her first post showed her looking out a window with the message, “i wont be back for a while longer due to me ... having the COVID-19 virus....I dont want the attention it’s just the truth.”

Read the full story here.

11:32 a.m. -- Franklin High School graduate postpones dreams of making Women's Olympic Rowing Team

Sophia Vitas, a graduate of Franklin High School, had a goal of being selected to the U.S. Women's Olympic Rowing Team in 2020, but the coronavirus quickly put those plans on hold.

The Olympics were postponed due to the virus. The 2020 games will now happen in Tokyo in 2021.

Franklin high graduate hoped to qualify to compete in 2020 Olympics

"What steps they're going to take now will depend on the official date when the Olympics will start," said Vitas.

Vitas said she remains dedicated to training and focused on making the team.

Read the full story here.


10:44 a.m. -- Biden raises idea of Democrats holding an online convention

(AP) Joe Biden says the Democratic National Convention may need to take place online as the pandemic continues to reshape the race for the White House.

The convention in Milwaukee already has been pushed back from mid-July until August. The former vice president tells ABC's ``This Week'' that the party “may have to do a virtual convention."

He says Democrats may not be able to put tens of thousands of people in one place. Biden has a commanding lead in delegates needed to clinch his party’s presidential nomination. Biden also said he plans to wear a mask in public, heeding new federal guidelines.

10:09 a.m. -- Snap-On closes to sanitize Milwaukee plant as third employee tests positive for COVID-19

As a third Snap-On employee has tested positive for COVID-19, causing the company to close Friday night to clean and sanitize.

It will remain closed until they determine the optimal time for employees to return.

They previously closed for the weekend of March 20, to disinfect the facility, and say they are actively practicing CDC guidelines to protect employees.

Those that made direct contact with someone who has tested are sent home and asked to self-quarantine, according to the company.

Snap-On says they provide full pay and benefits for the CDC’s recognized two-week quarantine.

Snap-On says they are considered an essential business and strive to remain open.

9:31 a.m. -- Kenosha County reports first COVID-19 related death Saturday

Kenosha officials announced Saturday that the county has seen its first death of a resident from COVID-19 complications.

“We are saddened to have lost one of our residents,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “Please take the Safer at Home order seriously and avoid going out as much as possible.”

According to the Kenosha County Medical Examiner, the 85-year-old male had multiple underlying health issues.

Kreuser encouraged people to keep up with the latest on the virus via a new Kenosha County COVID-19 Information Hub on the county website.

8:50 a.m. -- Wisconsin GOP appeals to Supreme Court on extended voting

(AP) Wisconsin Republicans are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block extended absentee voting in Tuesday's primary.

They argued in a filing Saturday that the extension by a federal judge this week is inherently unfair by creating two different deadlines for in-person and absentee voters.

Election day to go on as planned

Wisconsin is moving ahead with in-person voting despite concerns about the public health risks of the coronavirus crisis. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called a special session for Saturday and asked Republicans to shift the election to all-mail with absentee voting into late May. Republicans said they wouldn't do it, and immediately adjourned upon meeting.

Saturday, April 4

4:40 p.m. -- Aurora Sinai Medical Center confirms refrigerated trucks are at location for COVID-19 surge planning purposes

Aurora Sinai Medical Center confirmed to TMJ4 that they now had a refrigerated truck at its location as a part of its expected surge in patients and COVID-19-related deaths.

"This unprecedented crisis requires extraordinary measures to plan for the expected surge in patients and COVID-related loss of lives," said a hospital representative. "This is why we urge everyone to do their part to stop the spread and help save lives. Our thoughts are with all patients and their families who are impacted by this heartbreaking crisis and our physicians, nurses and team members who continue their unwavering commitment to care for our patients and each other."

3:30 p.m. -- Governor Evers releases statement regarding disaster declaration

Following the approval of the disaster declaration, Governor Tony Evers released the following statement.

“I am grateful for the swift action of the federal government in reviewing our request for a major disaster declaration,” Gov. Evers said. “The assistance granted today will help ensure Wisconsin can gain access to critical assistance as we continue our work to respond to this pandemic.”

3 p.m. -- President Trump approves Wisconsin disaster declaration

Federal funding is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments for emergency protective measures, including federal assistance, for all areas impacted by COVID-19.

10:35 a.m. -- Wisconsin GOP vows Supreme Court appeal on extended voting

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans say they're asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block extended absentee voting in Tuesday's primary.

Wisconsin is moving ahead with in-person voting despite concerns about the public health risks of the coronavirus crisis.

A federal judge rejected lawsuits seeking to postpone the election but extended absentee voting by six days.

The GOP says that raises concerns about election security.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called a special session for Saturday and asked Republicans to shift the election to all-mail with absentee voting into late May.

Republicans said they wouldn't do it.

To see historical updates from March 29-April 3, click here.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.