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Coronavirus in Wisconsin: Updates from March 15-19

New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 9:38 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 12:46:27-04

Editor's note: This page has been archived and will not be updated with new information. For the latest updates, 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 morning, there were a total of 14,250 confirmed cases and 205 deaths in the U.S., according to tracking data from Johns Hopkins. 121 people have recovered.

In Wisconsin, 161 total cases have been confirmed, as of Friday morning. Three people have died. Here is the latest county-by-county breakdown:

Wisconsin CountyTotal Cases as of 3/20/2020
Bayfield1
Brown*2
Calumet1
Chippewa1
Columbia4
Dane*27
Eau Claire1
Fond du Lac14
Jefferson1
Kenosha*4
La Crosse2
Milwaukee*64
Outagamie1
Ozaukee3
Pierce1
Racine3
Rock1
Sauk1
Sheboygan6
St. Croix1
Walworth2
Washington2
Waukesha12
Winnebago5
Wood1
Total161

* An asterisk indicates community spread has been identified.

Latest updates:

Friday, March 20

8:34 a.m. -- Jefferson, Rock Counties confirm first COVID-19 cases

The Jefferson and Rock County Health Departments said they have confirmed their first respective cases of coronavirus.

The person in Jefferson County traveled domestically and developed symptoms shortly after. The person in Rock County is 57 years old and is in isolation at home. There is no known direct contact with a positive case, although there is known travel to an event in Chicago.

8 a.m. -- 66-year-old Milwaukee man dies from complications of COVID-19

A Milwaukee man has died from complications of the coronavirus, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. He had been hospitalized for several days before his death.

Three people in Wisconsin have now died from COVID-19. The first two deaths were announced Thursday evening.

Thursday, March 19

8:46 p.m. -- All Bartolotta restaurants to cease operations until further notice

All Bartolotta restaurants will shut down all of its locations starting after service Thursday night until further notice to help stop the spread of germs, including COVID-19.

The move puts 1,000 employees out of work. They will get medical benefits through the end of the month. The restaurants will extend benefits through April 30 if there is no government assistance offered to employees.

You can still support them by purchasing gift cards. There is also an online fundraiser setup to support the employees.

8:07 p.m. -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in self-quarantine, came in contact with person who tested positive for COVID-19

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is self-quaranting for 14 days after he said he came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus.

"I have been informed I came in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19," said Mayor Barrett in a statement. "I have consulted with public health officials and they have recommended 14 days of self-quarantine and therefore that’s what I will be doing. I am following best practices by self-isolating. In an effort to maintain social distancing the last several days, I have been continuing my duties and responsibilities by teleconference and videoconference and I expect to do the same during this time of self-quarantine."

7:06 p.m. -- Gov. Evers confirms two deaths linked to coronavirus in Wisconsin

Gov. Tony Evers has confirmed two deaths in Wisconsin Thursday due to COVID-19. The first death was a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County, and the second death was a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County.

"Our hearts go out to all the loved ones affected by these deaths, and to all those suffering from this virus," said Gov. Evers. "We are committed to fighting the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, and I want to recognize the hard work and bravery of our nurses, doctors, state health officials, and all those on the front lines in the effort to save lives. Together we will get through this historic health challenge."

6:19 p.m. -- Preliminary unemployment claims in Wisconsin up by nearly 30,000 since Sunday

Preliminary unemployment claims are rising very fast in Wisconsin due to coronavirus pandemic.

In the latest numbers per day from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, there are about 30,000 new claims since Sunday.

5:26 p.m. -- Milwaukee DPW to significantly relax parking enforcement during coronavirus pandemic

Milwaukee's Department of Public Works will significantly relax parking enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic, the department announced Thursday.

Effective immediately, all timed, metered, and night parking restrictions have been suspended, and DPW won't issue tickets for those offenses.

Instead, the department is focusing on safety-related offenses, like blocking a handicapped-accessible space, blocking The Hop, or parking too close to a fire hydrant or alley.

5:20 p.m. -- Ascension to open drive-thru coronavirus testing sites for people with milder symptoms

People having trouble getting a test for the coronavirus will soon have more places to do so. By next week new testing sites will be open to patients with a variety of symptoms.

Right now, coronavirus testing is available at various health care providers, each with their specifications but all requiring a phone or virtual screening ahead of time.

The first Ascension drive-thru testing sites in Southeastern Wisconsin will be located at the following places:

  • Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital's Medical Office Building in Franklin
  • Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Gateway Clinic in West Allis
  • Ascension St. Francis Medical Arts Pavilion in Milwaukee

The three locations are expected to open next week. The opening date and times are still in the works.
Later on, Ascension drive-thru testing sites will also be at the following places:

  • Ascension Wisconsin Health Center's Urgent Care in Mount Pleasant
  • Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital Mayfair Road Urgent Care in Wauwatosa
  • Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital Elmbrook Campus in Brookfield

5:08 p.m. -- Milwaukee County creates county tracking map to monitor new coronavirus cases

The Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management has created a county tracking map so they can monitor new coronavirus cases.

With the tracking map, people can see the total confirmed Milwaukee County cases of COVID-19. The cases are broken down by municipality, so if it's not listed on the map, it's because there are no cases there.

People can also see the age range of those with coronavirus and the total positive case count by day.

To view the latest numbers, click here.

4:36 p.m. -- Packers cancel annual Tailgate Tour

The Green Bay Packers have canceled their annual tailgate tour due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the team announced Thursday.

The tour, which rasies money for different charities each year, was scheduled to stop in La Crosse, Madison, and Milwaukee from May 15-17.

"While the team is disappointed to have to make this difficult decision, the Packers will still be supporting the nonprofit organizations that were set to benefit from the tour: Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics Wisconsin and Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The Packers will donate $25,000 to each organization in support of their worthy causes," a news release says.

“We are very disappointed to have to cancel this year’s Tailgate Tour,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “While we realize this is the most responsible path forward, we are saddened to miss the opportunity to greet fans throughout the state of Wisconsin. We are grateful for our fans’ understanding and patience as we navigate this difficult time and make tough choices to prioritize health and safety. As our communities weather the coronavirus outbreak, our thoughts are with our fans around the world who are grappling with illness, uncertainty and disruptions to their daily lives and routine.”

This decision was made based on guidance from government officials and the CDC, in light of their recommendations for limiting gathering sizes and practicing social distancing as much as possible.

4:11 p.m. -- Wisconsin National Guard ready to support state with coronavirus response if needed

The Wisconsin National Guard says they can help other state agencies or communities if its assistance is requested.

Officials say about 300 troops have been mobilized to state active duty to posture the Guard for further state support if needed.

"We are working hand-in-hand with our partners across state government to ensure our forces are postured and ready to respond to anticipated requests for assistance," Col. Eric Leckel, the director of domestic operations for the Wisconsin National Guard said. "Serving our state during times of emergency is one of our core missions in the National Guard, and we stand ready to assist the state with whatever it may ask of us."

Currently, the Wisconsin National Guard has brought on additional planners, logisticians, and command and control elements to manage and execute any future missions. Those include assisting state agencies with logistics and planning, specimen collection, providing a source of medical professionals, and more.

"Wisconsin's response to COVID-19 is a unified whole-of-state effort, and our National Guard is here and stands ready to support our fellow Wisconsin citizens," Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, Wisconsin's adjutant general, said.

The Wisconsin National Guard consists of 10,000 soldiers and airmen from around the state. Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency March 12, clearing the way for National Guard support.

Approximately 30 Wisconsin National Guard troops mobilized to state active duty last week to assist the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in transporting a group of Wisconsin citizens to their homes for self-quarantine after returning to Wisconsin following a cruise with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Those troops remain on state active duty awaiting the return of seven remaining cruise ship passengers whom the Guard plans to transport home as well.

More than 700 Wisconsin National Guard troops are deployed in combat theaters like Afghanistan and the Middle East in support of the Guard's federal mission.
More than 700 Wisconsin National Guard troops are deployed in combat theaters like Afghanistan and the Middle East in support of the Guard's federal mission.
3:19 p.m. -- Chippewa, St. Croix counties report first COVID-19 cases

Two more Wisconsin counties have added their first confirmed COVID-19 cases to the state's total.

Chippewa County and St. Croix County both reported their first cases Thursday afternoon.

The two new cases brings Wisconsin's total to 157.

2:51 p.m. -- Northwestern Mutual confirms positive case of coronavirus at downtown campus

A person who was present at Northwestern Mutual's downtown campus has been diagnosed with COVID-19, better known as coronavirus.

A company spokesperson says nearly all employees have been working from home this week.

The company let employees know Thursday that someone who was at their downtown campus last week tested positive for COVID-19.

"Our highest priority is to protect our workforce and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our workplace and in our community," the company spokesperson writes in a statement. "Among other actions, we have been continuously communicating recommendations to our workforce to help them maintain their health and well-being."

2:19 p.m. -- Total number of cases in Wisconsin jumps to 155

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 155 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County has the most cases, with 62 confirmed.

There have been more than 2,000 negative cases throughout the state.

1:46 p.m. -- Kohl's announces temporary closure of stores nationwide

Kohl's announced Thursday it would temporarily close all of its stores nationwide due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

All stores will close effective Thursday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m. local time.

“To demonstrate our support of the efforts underway to contain the spread of the coronavirus, we are closing all Kohl’s stores through at least April 1. We will support store associates with two calendar weeks of pay,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “We will continue to serve customers on Kohls.com and our Kohl’s App, and we look forward to reopening our stores soon to serve families across the country.”

Customers can continue to buy items at Kohls.com and through the Kohl's app.

Kohl's says to expect further updates on when store will re-open at Corporate.Kohls.com.

12:59 p.m. -- Columbia, Bayfield Counties report first COVID-19 cases.

Columbia and Bayfield Counties have both reported their first confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Columbia County has reported four cases. Bayfield County has reported one.

The five new cases bring the state's current total to 123. 1,577 people have tested negative.

12:24 p.m. -- Newest coronavirus rule puts limits on day cares

After the latest coronavirus order from Gov. Tony Evers, day cares around the state are forced to limit the number of children they can service.

The new order limits the number of employees at a day care to 10 and only 50 children are allowed, as well. If a daycare can't comply, they must close down.

"It's so uncharted," Danielle Rageth, Director of the Wauwatosa Daycare & Learning Centers said. "It's scary."

Rageth's daycare is in the shadows of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. They see many families with parents in healthcare. They are what can be considered "essential employees" during this pandemic.

"Both my wife and I are in healthcare and consider ourselves essential," Greg Stadter said. "We don't have a choice. One of us would have to not do essential duties otherwise."

11:58 a.m. -- City of Racine reports two confirmed cases of COVID-19

The City of Racine has reported two more additional cases of COVID-19.

The city said the residents were "likely exposed in Wisconsin through community interactions."

This brings the total number of positive coronavirus cases in Racine County to 3.

“Our team at the City of Racine is working tirelessly to get ahead of the COVID-19 crisis and protect the health and safety of our residents,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason. “We will continue to work with state and federal health officials and our local partners and take the necessary steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

11:37 a.m. -- Greenfield reports first case of COVID-19

Greenfield reported its first case of coronavirus late Thursday morning.

The City of Greenfield said a resident tested positive for the virus. The resident traveled internationally and has remained in quarantine since returning to the state.

“While this case was likely exposed to COVID-19 while traveling, there is significant evidence of community spread within the greater Greenfield area,” said Darren Rausch, Greenfield Health Officer/Director. “We continue to work closely with federal, state, and regional partners to monitor this evolving situation.”

11:16 a.m. -- North Shore playgrounds close amid coronavirus pandemic

Playgrounds throughout the North Shore are now closed until further notice amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The North Shore Health Department said playgrounds would be closed and that playground equipment should not be used.

The closing of the playgrounds is "to slow the spread of the virus and preserve the health of our community."

The North Shore includes Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.

10:48 a.m. -- Sen. Lena Taylor calls for Milwaukee to suspend towing, ticketing, debt collections during pandemic

Sen. Lena Taylor is calling for the City of Milwaukee to suspend towing, ticketing and debt collection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor said that the city should mirror other cities' measures of "financially minimizing harm to residents during this public health crisis."

“In neighboring Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced that debt collection and citations for things like parking violations have been temporarily suspended. Obviously, we don’t want traffic and street access impeded, but we can make common sense decisions about if and when a ticket should be issued," said Taylor in a release. "As businesses close and residents are increasingly staying home, we know that for some, lack of money will be factor. Additionally, we have the ability to suspend towing of vehicles with 3 or more citations until we get a grasp on the financial fallout from COVID-19."

Taylor said that residents would likely be parking their cars for longer periods of the day due to telework situations, job layoffs or closings of business. Neighborhoods with two-hour parking during the day should have the rules suspended, according to Taylor.

"Similar to Chicago, we could delay assessment of penalty (ticket doubling) and adopt other measures that could reduce the financial hardship of city residents during this period," said Taylor.

10:15 a.m. -- Eau Claire County confirms first COVID-19 case

One of western Wisconsin's most populous counties has recorded its first case of COVID-19, the local health department said Thursday.

"The Eau Claire City-County Health Department was recently notified of the first positive case of COVID-19. More information will be shared as it’s available," the department said in a Facebook post.

The new case brings the total number of cases in Wisconsin to 114.

9:46 a.m. -- Pick 'n Save, Metro Market stores to offer 'senior hours' seven days a week

All Pick 'n Save and Metro Market stores throughout the state of Wisconsin will offer special shopping hours for senior citizens and those who are most at risk of catching COVID-19, Roundy's announced Thursday.

Beginning Friday, March 20, 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. seven days a week will be set aside for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

“Pick ‘n Save and Metro Market are committed to help support the shopping needs of the elderly in our community by providing a less crowded shopping environment," Roundy's Division President Michael Marx said. "Therefore, we are reserving shopping time for the elderly and those with underlying health concerns who must leave home to obtain their groceries. This will help them avoid busier and more crowded shopping periods. We encourage our customers to respect these designated store hours for seniors and to plan their shopping trips around this timeframe.”

Pick 'n Save operates close to 100 stores throughout Wisconsin, and Metro Market operates 10 stores. The brands join other local retailers like Sendik's in adding special hours just for seniors.

8:25 a.m. -- Carroll University moves to online classes for the rest of the semester

Carroll University announced Thursday that students were going to complete the rest of their spring semester online. Online classes begins March 23.

The university's commencement ceremony will be delivered virtually.

7:15 a.m. -- Local produce suppliers feeling financial impacts of coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread, business is feeling the financial impacts. Machi Produce they deliver fruits and vegetables to grocery stores and restaurants and are feeling the effects from both ends.

About 20% of their business comes from grocery stores. Peter Machi, Co-owner of Machi Produce, said those orders have been bigger than average, but on the other hand, most of his business comes from the food-service industry. With most restaurants closed or suspended their dining experience, he said everyone is taking a hit.

Typically he ships 210 orders. On Tuesday, they shipped only 62.

"My heart goes out to the restaurant operators in the area, and the country who really their margins are razor-thin and they need people coming through the door to make it work, and that's not happening now," said Machi.

Wednesday, March 18

9:55 p.m. -- COVID-19 update from Cardinal Stritch University

  • No COVID-19 on Stritch campus
  • Face-to-face classes suspended through end of Spring semester
  • Approximately 50 students remain in campus residence halls
  • Stritch Health and Wellness staff providing support to students on and off campus
  • All faculty working remotely; number of essential staff working on campus reduced; all faculty and staff working to ensure University operations continue throughout the semester
  • Dedicated web page

9:52 p.m. -- Hunger Task Force develops interactive map of public areas to help people get access to food

Hunger Task Force says they have developed a list of confirmed, trusted service sites that are providing food safely and reliably to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Children, families, individuals and seniors can find a nearby location if they are looking for help getting access to food.

The locations map includes a listing of senior Stockbox sites, school meals sites, and outdoor emergency food distribution sites. The content is updated daily at 4 p.m. and includes service days and times and program type.

The Stockbox program is open to seniors age 60+ with an income of $1,383 or less. School meals are available for children under the age of 18.

The map is available here and is included with a listing of other 'Get Help' resources for the community.

9:25 p.m. -- Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin limiting visitors at its hospitals amid coronavirus

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network is taking steps to reduce the risk in our community.
mmunity.
The organization announced new guidelines on visitors to its hospitals, health centers and other locations. These changes, effective March 19, are designed for the safety of patients, visitors, staff and community.

8:46 p.m. -- UW-Milwaukee to have online classes for the rest of the semester

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced Wednesday that classes would be conducted online for the rest of the semester.

The news comes about a week after they announced the extension of spring break and online classes through April.

Some students have been living at UWM, in hopes that classes would resume sometime in April. The new announcement now puts those students in a tough position.

According to the school, the university will contact students still in campus housing.

8:09 p.m. -- Snap-on Inc. associate tests positive for coronavirus, Milwaukee plant will remain open

Snap-on Inc. says an associate in the Milwaukee manufacturing facility has tested positive for coronavirus.

Company officials say after being made aware of the positive case, they immediately did the following:

  • Cordoned off the associate's work area
  • Informed all plant personnel
  • Identified all associates that had direct contact with the individual, and those who had direct contact were sent home and asked to follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantining
  • Engaged special outside cleaning services to disinfect and sanitize the associate’s work area
  • The plant had already increased and will continue ongoing cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the facility

Officials say in this case, the plant associate was asymptomatic but was tested after close contact with an individual outside of work who had symptoms.

The Milwaukee plant will remain open and operational "because of the critical nature of its work in serving essential entities of the U.S. military, auto repair garages, and transportation services," said Samuel E. Bottum, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Snap-on Incorporated. "We are communicating with state and local health officials and following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards and guidelines."

7:34 p.m. -- Fond du Lac County reports 1st COVID-19 case from contact with Egyptian river cruise traveler

Fond du Lac County's latest case of COVID-19 was contracted through direct contact with an Egyptian river cruise traveler, according to the local health officer.

The county has 14 cases total, a majority of them are tied to the cruise.

7:26 p.m. -- Amtrak makes changes to train schedule amid coronavirus outbreak

Amtrak has made changes to its train schedule due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

As coronavirus continues to spread, many businesses and restaurants are making changes to their daily routine. Amtrak is one of those companies.

Some of these changes go into effect Thursday, while others won't change until Saturday. These changes are as follows:

Effective Thursday, March 19:

  • Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha corridor service reduced to four daily roundtrips. Friday evening Hiawatha Train 343 also temporarily suspended.
  • Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac Wolverine corridor service reduced to two daily roundtrips.
  • Some Amtrak Thruway Bus routes will have service modifications.

Effective Saturday, March 21:

  • Chicago-Milwaukee corridor service reduced to two daily roundtrips, including Hiawatha and Empire Builder trains.
  • Chicago-St. Louis corridor service reduced to three daily roundtrips, including Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle trains.
  • Chicago-Carbondale corridor service reduced to two daily roundtrips, including Illini and City of New Orleans trains.
  • Chicago-Macomb-Quincy corridor service reduced to one daily roundtrip
  • Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac Wolverine corridor service reduced to one daily roundtrip.

Amtrak also said there might be additional changes as the coronavirus continues to spread.

7:18 p.m. -- Harley-Davidson temporarily suspending U.S. production after employee tests positive for coronavirus

Harley-Davidson is temporarily suspending the majority of production at its U.S. manufacturing facilities after an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

The company said it closed its Pilgrim Road Powertrain Operations facility in Menomonee Falls Wednesday afternoon after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Harley-Davidson is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the building, per the company's coronavirus response protocol.

The suspension begins Wednesday evening, March 18, through March 29, "to help support employee health and further bolster coronavirus containment efforts."

"We recognize the unprecedented nature of this global crisis. In order to best support our employees and following the social distancing guidance issued by public health authorities, we are temporarily suspending the majority of
production at our U.S. manufacturing facilities," said Jochen Zeitz, acting CEO, and president, Harley-Davidson. "We will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary steps to prioritize employee health and safety."

Harley-Davidson says they will continue monitoring the situation closely and make additional adjustments as necessary. The majority of its U.S. production employees will be on temporary layoff with medical benefits.

The company will use this time to continue deep cleaning and disinfecting its production areas and common areas to protect workers upon their return further.

6:49 p.m. -- Wisconsin DMV to limit in-person services starting March 23

The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced Wednesday that they would be limiting in-person services beginning March 23.

On Friday, March 20, all DMV Customer Service Centers will be closed for deep cleaning and modification of office space to maximize social distancing.

When the offices reopen on the 23rd, they will not offer all the services. That includes the driver's license and CDL renewals.

According to the DMV, all licenses and CDL's that expire during the public health emergency will have an automatic 60-day extension. If officers pull you over, the police driving record will show that 60-day extension.

Additionally, the DMV has canceled all driver's tests until further notice. Administrative Suspension hearings will be offered by telephone or by paper, not in-person.

In-person services will be appointment only. The services still available are getting new driver's licenses and issuing identification cards.

To make an appointment, customers can use the Driver License Guide.

You can also use this guide to begin the paperwork and submit it electronically. Customers with questions may call Driver Services at (608) 264-7447.

6:30 p.m. -- Southeastern Wisconsin health care providers rush to open drive-thru testing sites for coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, more opportunities for testing are popping up in Southeastern Wisconsin. Drive-thru testing sites will be opening soon in Milwaukee.

5:49 p.m. -- Local blood centers asking the public to keep donating blood

Versiti Blood Center is asking the public to keep their blood donation appointments or make one, to keep blood supplies up.

According to the blood center, many people have canceled their blood donation appointments or blood drives have been canceled.

This has a significant effect on blood supply. According to a press release, "if the outbreak of coronavirus expands, travel-based restrictions could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors and measures suggested to reduce exposure to other people could disrupt community blood drives and donations at centers."

It is important to note that blood donation does not put you at risk of contracting COVID-19.

The press release states, "donors and our blood drive sponsors should be reassured that attending organized blood drives is safe. Coronavirus is currently not known to infect patients through blood transfusions."

Click here to sign-up to donate.

5:08 p.m. -- Number of total cases in Wisconsin jumps to 113

The number of total positive coronavirus cases in Wisconsin has jumped to 113 after an afternoon news conference with Milwaukee County officials.

An additional three cases in Milwaukee County have been confirmed, acording to Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik Two additional cases were also added in Fond du Lac County.

Milwaukee County has almost half of the total cases in Wisconsin, with 50.

Milwaukee County Update on COVID-19

4:35 p.m. -- City of Milwaukee offers free 'Carryout Zone' parking spots, signage for restaurants

All of Wisconsin's restaurants have been ordered to switch to carryout or delivery only - and the City of Milwaukee is stepping up to help local restaurants make that transition easier on customers.

Restaurants that don't already have a 'Loading Zone' adjacent to their business can implement a temporary 'Carryout Zone' for free.

"As restaurants face uncertain times, this program is a way we can support those small businesses trying to better accommodate their customers,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

The city's Department of Public Works will provide the signage, and the equivalent of two parking spots near their location.

“While we will evaluate this program in the coming weeks, we anticipate continuing this for as long as the ‘No Dine In’ policy is in effect,” said Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Polenske.

Restaurants can apply to the program online at milwaukee.gov/dpw. Their signage will be installed within 48-72 hours after their request.

4:12 p.m. -- Milwaukee raises thousands of dollars overnight for Pabst Theater Group employees

Generous Milwaukeeans have raised nearly $20,000 overnight for Pabst Theater Group employees who are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of this writing, a GoFundMe campaign entitled "Pabst Theater Group Employee Relief Fund Benefitting Our Amazing Theater Staff" has raised $16,154 in just 20 hours.

"If you’ve ever been helped by our box office, gotten a better seat from an usher, heard an artist sing the praises of our backstage and stage staff, been given that extra pour from our bartender…Then please help," the campaign's description reads.

100 percent of proceeds go to the group's more than 200 ushers, bartenders, event staff members, or stagehands.

You can also earn some pretty cool rewards for doing a good deed. A gift of $100 gets you two guest list spots for a show, based on availability. A $500 donation gets you an exclusive VIP dining experience backstage at The Riverside with five of your friends. For a generous $1,000 gift, you can own an entire Riverside box for a night - with 7 of your friends at a show of your choice.

Pabst Theater Group operates The Riverside Theater, The Pabst Theater, Turner Hall, and The Back Room @ Colectivo.

To learn more or make a donation to the campaign, head to GoFundMe.

3:54 p.m. -- Sen. Johnson one of a handful of senators to vote against coronavirus relief bill

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was one of eight senators that voted against the coronavirus relief bill.

The bill, called The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, includes free coronavirus testing, expanded family and medical leave for some, paid emergency sick leave for some, unemployment benefits, food assistance, and protections for health care workers. It passed the Senate in a 90-8 vote.

In a statement, Sen. Johnson explained the reason behind his "no" vote.

"Although I want to provide immediate financial support to Americans and American businesses affected by the coronavirus, I voted no on HR 6201 because the Senate failed to address the major problem with the bill that was eminently fixable.

My amendment, which received bipartisan support but not enough to be adopted, would have removed mandatory burdens on employers, temporarily expanded eligibility, and waived the waiting period for state unemployment benefits and increased state benefits to provide two-thirds of actual wages up to $1,000 per week. It also would have reimbursed employers with fewer than 500 employees who voluntarily provide paid sick and family leave to employees affected by the coronavirus.

Now that the House bill passed unamended, laid-off workers will get far less from state benefits, and many employers will be forced to shoulder a financial burden they cannot afford."The bill now goes to President Trump's desk for his signature.

3:23 p.m. -- The Milwaukee County Zoo is closed for now, but you can still see live webcams of the animals

If you have kids at home who are bored out of their minds, check out these live webcams of Milwaukee County Zoo animals.

The zoo is not open due to the coronavirus outbreak, but kids and families can still watch many of the animals live.

From lions, to tigers, to penguins, you can head online and watch the animals in action.

These online cameras will have to do for now. The zoo has closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. The zoo also canceled all Zoological Society events and programs.

So if you need a zoo dose, you can get it. To watch these animals live, click here. You can also learn more about the animals by heading to the Milwaukee County Zoo website.


2:58 p.m. -- Local school district helps kids stay ahead during coronavirus closures

Wednesday marked the official start of school closures across Wisconsin due to coronavirus. A Sheboygan County school district already feels ahead of the game.

Random Lake School District started its virtual learning option some six years ago. It was established to combat excessive snow days so students wouldn't have extra days added to the end of the school year. Now, it's proving to be a savior for the school year.

"This may be one of the most disruptive things in education ever," Michael E. Trimberger, District Administrator said. "It's different. It's very different. If I had my preference, I'd rather have the energy of the kids in classrooms and the hallways doing those things but we don't have that right now."

For students in kindergarten to 12th grade, they log on to computers from home every single day as their teachers lead them in the daily lesson. Teachers can communicate via video, text or audio. There are tasks students need to complete during class to show they are paying attention. So this isn't just an extended spring break for students.

"Just because it's virtual doesn't mean lesser learning," Trimberger said. "In our experience with virtual snow days, our students were glad to come back because the virtual days were harder than the days they were in here."

Local school district helps kids stay ahead during coronavirus closures

2:34 p.m. -- Whitefish Bay families raise thousands for out-of-work crossing guards during coronavirus pandemic

With so many closures and cancellations during the coronavirus outbreak, we are seeing more and more people take action to help their neighbors in need.

Take for instance, parents in Whitefish Bay. With schools being out, a lot of crossing guards don't have a paycheck coming in. Dozens of families in Whitefish Bay have raised around $5,000 and counting for crossing guards currently out of work.

"I was walking to pick up my youngest son from school and was stopped in conversation with one of our crossing guards. She had mentioned just how scared she was, wondering how she was going to manage over the next month with school being shut down and her not having a job," Beth Wagner said.

Wagner started asking her Facebook friends to pitch in and give what they can. They did. As of Wednesday around noon, Wagner had raised close to $3,000.

"It makes me feel great just because you know I think we are so focused on the fact that this is a health crisis, but as far as this is going to reach, it's so much more than that," she continued.

Her idea inspired other parents in Whitefish Bay, like Erica Yewlett, to do the same and start their own fundraising efforts. Yewlett had received donations close to $2,000 as of Wednesday. Both parents are dividing the donations and cutting checks for the guards.

2:05 p.m. -- Number of positive cases in Wisconsin crosses 100

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 108 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County has the most cases, with 47 confirmed.

There have been over 1,500 negative cases throughout the state.

Health officials reiterated that residents should take simple steps to help prevent the spread of coronavirus:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Staying home when sick.

1:48 p.m. -- Gov. Evers orders scaling down of child care facilities' staff, children

Governor Tony Evers has ordered a scaling down of all child care settings in the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Evers announced the scaling down on Wednesday, restricting the size of child care facilities across the state. Centers now may not operate with more than 10 staff members present at one time and more than 50 children present at one time.

The restriction goes into effect at 8 a.m. on March 19.

“Child care is an essential service for many of the folks working on the front lines to provide healthcare and vital services to our communities during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Gov. Evers. “This is another step forward to ensure that service continues, while protecting our child care providers who are going above and beyond their regular duties to support our families, communities, and state.”

Evers said those using child care who can keep their kids at home should do so.

1:36 p.m. -- Ozaukee County confirms first case of coronavirus

There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ozaukee County, the Washington-Ozaukee Public Health Department reported Wednesday.

The person, according to the health department, sought medical care after they began experiencing symptoms.

The person is currently isolated.

“In an effort to slow the spread of COVID- 19, we ask all of our residents to heed the Governor’s orders and to consider the health of the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Health Officer Kirsten Johnson.

1:20 p.m. -- Order from Evers expected to help workers amid coronavirus

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers was expected to issue an executive order Wednesday that would waive work search requirements and modify requirements for those affected by COVID-19 who want to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

Retail and restaurant workers are among those who have been hit hard by closures due to the coronavirus. Evers has ordered a statewide ban on all gatherings of more than 10 people and closed all bars and restaurants except for delivery and pickup orders.

The State Journal reports Food Fight Restaurant Group in Madison says it has furloughed 750 employees because of the government restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

12:55 p.m. -- Children's Wisconsin doctor tests positive for COVID-19

An email sent to staff at Children's Wisconsin said a doctor has tested positive for COVID-19.

The hospital said Wednesday afternoon said the doctor tested positive for the coronavirus. The doctor traveled outside of Wisconsin before relevant travel restrictions were in place, according to the hospital.

The doctor is quarantined at home and has mild symptoms.

"Our Infection Prevention team, working with the CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wauwatosa Health Department, are identifying and contacting all staff and all patient families with exposure to the diagnosed doctor. Patient families will be given individualized instructions and support for their needs. Staff will also be instructed on next steps based on CDC guidelines, ranging from monitoring symptoms, self-quarantine or testing," said the hospital in a press release.

Children's Wisconsin doctor tests positive for COVID-19

12:31 p.m. -- Walworth County confirms first case of COVID-19

There is now one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Walworth County, the Walworth County Division of Public Health announced today.

This individual recently traveled domestically and voluntarily self-isolated upon returning to the community.

Out of respect for the patient’s privacy, no additional information will be provided, a news release says.

“We are in daily contact with this individual to monitor their symptoms and ensure they are receiving support to be able to isolate at home,” said Public Health Officer Erica Bergstom.

If you have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are asked to quarantine for 14 days.

12:16 p.m. -- OWI legislation in question during coronavirus pandemic

Two pieces of OWI legislation are just one vote away from the governor's desk, but the coronavirus pandemic has put those in question.

One of those bills would force first time OWI offenders to appear before a judge. It also closes a loophole that allows offenders to get a second first-time offense if their arrests were 10 years apart.

The other would increase the statute of limitations the court has to charge you with a first, second or third OWI. Currently they have three years for second and third offenses. The bill would increase that to six years. For first offenses, it would raise the time limit from two years to three.

The Wisconsin Senate announced Tuesday it will postpone its final floor period of this legislative session. Both bills only need a floor vote before going to Gov. Tony Evers.

The author of the bills, state Rep. Jim Ott, said he's hopeful they will get that last vote.

"At some point later when this immediate situation resolved itself or depending upon how things go in the next several weeks, maybe even in two months we’re hoping that the Senate would still have that session day," Ott said.

Senate leadership says they will try to reschedule the floor session later this spring.

11:54 a.m. -- Gov. Evers submits request for economic injury disaster loan assistance for small businesses

Gov. Tony Evers has submitted a request to the US Small Business Administration for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance for small Wisconsin businesses and private, non-profit organizations.

“Social distancing and self-isolation are critical steps in reducing and preventing the spread of this virus in our communities, but it comes at an economic cost to our local businesses,” said Gov. Evers. “The loan assistance from SBA will help alleviate some of the financial burden and stress on our small businesses during this public health crisis. We will continue to work with our federal partners, state officials, and stakeholders to ensure we are improving public safety and health while protecting our state economy.”

You can read the governor's full request here.

11:31 a.m. -- Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra cancels all concerts, events for more than a month

Following a short-term announcement last week, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra said Wednesday it would cancel all concerts and events through April 26.

The orchestra is asking patrons to consider ticket exchanges instead of refunds whenever possible, in order to lessen the financial impact on the organization.

"These are unprecedented times, and we are deeply grateful for everyone’s support and patience as we work through these challenges. We already miss performing in front of our fantastic audience, and we look forward to being back in the concert hall soon," a news release says.

11:06 a.m. -- Treasury wants to send checks to Americans, starting April 6

The Treasury Department wants to start issuing direct payments to Americans by early next month as the centerpiece of a $1 trillion plan to stabilize the economy as the coronavirus epidemic takes a toll on taxpayers and businesses.

In a memorandum issued Wednesday, Treasury is calling for two $250 billion cash infusions to individuals: A first set of checks issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May.

The amounts would depend on income and family size.

The Treasury plan would require approval by Congress.

10:21 a.m. -- Wisconsin lawmakers ask for emergency medical supplies

Seven members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation on Wednesday said the state was running “critically low” on needed medical equipment to combat the spread of the virus and asked the federal government for immediate help.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to request respirators, surgical masks, face shields, surgical gowns, coveralls and gloves from the national stockpile.

Everyone in the state's delegation signed the letter except for Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Glenn Grothman, both Republicans.

Their offices did not immediately return messages seeking comment on why they didn't sign.

9:39 a.m. -- Milwaukee Public Market fully closing to the public amid coronavirus pandemic

The Milwaukee Public Market is fully closing to the public amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, it announced Wednesday.

"Based on the new guidelines set out by the State, the market has no choice but to enforce a full closure to the public, effective immediately, until further notice. This includes customers for carry-out and to-go orders," a news release says.

Some of the Public Market vendors are exploring curbside pickup and delivery options for customers, and more information will be released in the coming days. Vendors are also planning to donate existing food and other products to many of their employees, as well as first responder groups and food pantries.

Milwaukee Public Market fully closing to the public amid coronavirus pandemic

7:31 a.m. -- Milwaukee Pridefest postponed because of coronavirus concerns

Pridefest Milwaukee 2020 has been postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.

The festival was slated for June 4 to 7 at Henry W. Maier Festival Park.

“Pridefest is, and has been a safe space for people to celebrate community and the Pride movement since 1987. Due to the current status of COVID-19, the health, safety and protection of our festival patrons is our first priority,” said Wes Shaver, Milwaukee Pride, Inc. President in a press release. “We certainly don’t want to cancel, absolutely not. But, moving forward as planned brings too many risks to the forefront; for our attendees and for our organization.”

This is the first time the festival has been postponed in its history.

A future date has not be announced.

Milwaukee Pridefest postponed because of coronavirus concerns

7:26 a.m. -- Kenosha County student tests positive for COVID-19

A student at an area school district has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to parents.

Salem School District sent a letter to parents on Tuesday, saying that a student at the district tested positive for coronavirus. The district said the risk to students who do not have extended contact with the infected student is low.

The letter also stated that the district was canceling scheduled student pick-up of materials and supplies.

6:38 a.m. -- Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumps to 6,000 in US

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has more than doubled since Monday, as increased testing capacity has allowed health officials to more accurately track the spread of the disease.

As of Wednesday morning, at least 6,496 people were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19, according to a database kept by Johns Hopkins. At least 114 people have died in connection with the disease.

The total number of people infected with COVID-19 is likely much higher.

6:23 a.m. -- Midway Airport diverts flights to Mitchell International after COVID-19 detected in air traffic technicians

Chicago's Midway Airport has shutdown its air traffic control tower due to three FAA technicians testing positive for the coronavirus, NBC news affiliate WMAQ in Chicago said.

The Chicago Department of Aviation said that it will shift flight operations to a "one-in-one-out" policy.

A ground stop has been implemented at the airport. That means all flights that have not yet left for Midway will stay at their point of origin.

The FAA released a statement reassuring people that the airport itself is still open, but the traffic control tower is closed.

Tuesday, March 17

1:55 p.m. -- 72 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Wisconsin, DHS says

72 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Wisconsin, the state Department of Health Services said Tuesday.

That's an increase of 25 from Monday, when the total stood at 47.

1:47 p.m. -- Gov. Evers bans all gatherings of 10 or more people

It will begin at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.

The new order makes exceptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants and bars that can only offer take-out or delivery, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts.

Evers says the new order will be enforced by police. Failure to comply with a health order may carry a $250 fine and/or imprisonment for 30 days

11:52 a.m. -- Punch Bowl Social dismisses all employees

Punch Bowl Social, a national chain that has one Milwaukee location within the Deer District, announced Tuesday it was closing and dismissing all of its employees so they could collect unemployment.

"Beginning Monday, March 16, Punch Bowl Social will be temporarily closed until further notice. We are taking this action in accordance with local, state and federal recommendations to ensure the health of our guests, staff, community and country.
Punch Bowl Social is built on bringing people together to make meaningful connections over food, drink and social games, but this moment in time requires us all to make sacrifices for the common good. Social distancing is important.
Our purpose - to provide an environment where guests and staff feel safe and accepted - guides us in times like these, and we are thankful for your support."

See a full list of area closings here.

11:29 a.m. -- ICE detainees moved from Kenosha County Jail amid coronavirus pandemic

170 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees have been moved from the Kenosha County Jail amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Kenosha County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday.

"ICE detainees have come into the U.S. from around the world and the risks for bringing in new detainees to our jail facilities are far too great at this time," Sgt. David Wright said in a news release.

All 170 detainees have been transported "to other Sheriff departments that are currently engaging with ICE housing detainees," the news release says. A specific list of locations was not immediately made available.

"The exiting of ICE detainees has been talked about and anticipated for many years," Sgt. Wright explains in the release. "Sheriff Beth has stated that as new administrations came into Washington we have prepared our command staff, county government, and the county board that ICE leaving our custody could happen at any time."

10:33 a.m. -- Bellin Health CEO warns of hospital bed shortages

Health experts and county officials say they are low on resources as the coronavirus continues to spread.

"We do not have the staff, equipment or beds to meet the needs in the community," said Bellin CEO Chris Woleske.

"Stay home as much as possible," Woleske said. "Help stop the spread of the virus."

The CEO says they are running low on nasal swabs used for testing. They hope to get more soon.

10:19 a.m. -- Wisconsin Senate postpones session due to coronavirus

The Wisconsin Senate will not convene for its final regular session day of the year as originally planned next week due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday that the Senate will convene later this spring, but he did not set a date.

Top ArticlesGiannis dances with girlfriend, baby in new TikTok videoREAD MOREThe Senate originally planned to convene on March 24 for its last session day of the year.

There are numerous bills in flux awaiting Senate action that will be further delayed now. Gov. Tony Evers on Monday suggested the Legislature may need to meet to take action in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

9:39 a.m. -- All Boys and Girls Clubs locations closed

All Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee locations are closed until April 13, the organization announced Tuesday.

The group joins a long list of coronavirus-related closures across southeast Wisconsin. See more in our list here.

9:17 a.m. -- Froedtert South opens drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Kenosha County

Froedtert Hospital has opened the region's first drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Pleasant Prairie, the hospital said Tuesday.

The testing will take place in the parking lot of Froedtert South's Pleasant Prairie clinic, located at 10256 Old Green Bay Rd.

Testing will be by appointment only.

The drive-thru clinic will be open 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.

If you are experiencing symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are asked to call (262) 551-4200 for an initial phone evaluation. If the staff believes you need to be tested, you may make an appointment at that point.

8:48 a.m. -- Pleasant Prairie RecPlex to close indefinitely

Starting Wednesday, March 18, the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex will be closed until further notice. Memberships are being placed on hold effective that same date.

"The Village of Pleasant Prairie and RecPlex staff realizes the facility meets many needs for different populations and does not take the decision lightly. The facility is committed to the health and well-being of the public, the valued members, and staff. During the closure, staff will continue to update members on the decisions being made. There have been no known cases connected with RecPlex use," a statement on Pleasant Prairie's website says.

Get more information online here.

8:13 a.m. -- DOT: Use online services if possible

The state Department of Transportation is urging drivers to rely on their online services if possible and avoid coming in to physical branch locations.

"DMV online services are available for all vehicle transactions: renew plates, get duplicate driver license/ID/registration/sticker and more," the state agency said in a social media post.

The move comes after Gov. Tony Evers on Monday ordered a ban on all mass gatherings of 50 people or more.

You can see a full list of available online services here.

7:41 a.m. -- Ozaukee County encourages use of small business loans

The countless closings that are piling up across southeast Wisconsin will have ripple effects for months to come. That's why the Ozaukee County Emergency Management team is trying to promote the Small Business Administration's loan program.

"These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%," a Facebook post from the agency reads.

Any small businesses interested in such a loan should report it to Justin Phillips at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation at justin.phillips@wedc.org.

7:07 a.m. -- Children's Wisconsin tightens visitor restrictions

Effective immediately, patients at Children's Wisconsin locations in Milwaukee, Neenah, and their Surgicenter can only have one individual who is a guardian or over the age of 18 in the building at a time.

Exceptions will be made for end-of-life situations and infants whose only source of nutrition is breastfeeding.

"All other exceptions must be approved by unit leadership during weekdays and the patient care manager in house evenings and weekends," a Facebook post from the hospital reads.

6:50 a.m. -- United States death toll jumps to 85

Indiana and South Carolina joined the growing lists of states that have confirmed deaths linked to COVID-19 Monday as the U.S. death toll shot to 85.

On Monday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb confirmed that a "high-risk" patient in his 60s died at a hospital on Monday.

The same day, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported that an"elderly person" who was a patient at a nursing facility died of the disease.

Indiana and South Carolina joined Kentucky and Nevada in announcing the first deaths connected to the disease in their states on Monday.

According to a database kept by Johns Hopkins, 85 people in 16 states have died in connection with COVID-19. The vast majority of those who died were elderly, had underlying health issues or both.

6:37 a.m. -- Waukesha schools offering free meal pick-up

The School District of Waukesha will offer free meal pick-up services beginning Tuesday, March 17.

The services will be open to any family, regardless of school attendance area or grade level. People will be given a bagged lunch and/or a pre-packed breakfast for the next morning.

See a list of locations and more information below:

image (2).png

6:02 a.m. -- Rep. Glenn Grothman says House coronavirus vote was 'rushed'

Congressman Glenn Grothman released a statement Tuesday morning calling the House of Representatives' vote on a coronavirus relief bill late last week as "the most rushed vote I've ever seen in all my time in public office."

We were told that at some point on Friday, March 13, Congress would vote on a second bill to address the Coronavirus pandemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met several times Thursday and Friday to negotiate the contents of the bill. I, along with the rest of Congress, waited two full days to find out what would be in the bill. Hour after hour we waited, and as Friday afternoon turned into night, and Friday night crept closer to Saturday morning, it seemed unbelievable that we would still have time to vote. Through all of this, I still expected an opportunity to read the contents of the bill on which I was expected to vote.

Finally, Saturday at midnight, we received the 110-page bill. Less than 30 minutes later, we were called to the Floor to vote on it.

Monday, March 16

11:08 p.m. 11 of 19 Milwaukee County municipalities ban dine-in options at their respective bars and restaurants.

The participating towns and cities include Milwaukee, South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Bayside, Brown Deer, Cudahy, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay. Only carry-out and delivery options are allowed until further notice.

3:42 p.m. -- Milwaukee VA and Archdiocese of Milwaukee announce restrictions

The Milwaukee VA is prohibiting visitors from coming to the hospital unless it is an extenuating circumstance.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is suspending public masses until Friday, April 3. Baptisms, funerals, and weddings will still happen but the church urges people to limit attendace.

2:58 p.m. -- County Executive Chris Abele to provide a countywide update on coronavirus.
County Executive Chris Abele and local public health officials will provide an update on meaures taken to combat the spread of coronavirus, known as (COVID-19).

1:41 p.m. -- Number of positive cases jumps to more than 40

The number of positive coronavirus cases in Wisconsin has jumped to 46, the state Department of Health Services announced on a media briefing call. 1 person in Dane County has recovered from the disease.

That's an increase of more than 10 since Sunday.

12:15 p.m. -- Gov. Tony Evers orders ban on mass gatherings of 50 or more people

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has directed DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to order a ban of all mass gathering of 50 or more people in Wisconsin.

Exceptions will be made for "critical infrastructure and services" including grocery stores, food pantries, childcare centers, pharmacies, and hospitals.

"This isn’t a decision I made lightly and we understand this will have an impact on Wisconsin workers, families, businesses and communities, but keeping folks safe and healthy has to be our highest priority," the governor said on social media.

We're expecting to learn more about this order on a 1:30 p.m. briefing call with DHS and will update you at that time.

It was not immediately clear if the ban applies to all restaurants and bars, or if restaurants will be allowed to offer takeout or delivery services.

11:37 a.m. -- West Allis resident tests positive for coronavirus

A person has tested positive for coronavirus in West Allis, according to the city's mayor.

Mayor Dan Devine tweeted that the West Allis Health Department received a notification from the Department of Health Services that a person tested positive for COVID-19.

Devine said the person had recently traveled internationally and began experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 exposure. The person went to a Milwaukee hospital for evaluation.

The person is self-quarantining at this time.

11:32 a.m. -- Children's Wisconsin postpones all non-time sensitive surgeries, clinic appointments

Children's Wisconsin is postponing all non-time sensitive surgeries and clinic appointments until further notice due the coronavirus pandemic, the hospital announced Monday.

If your upcoming appointment or surgery has been canceled, the hospital says it will contact you directly.

All well-child appointments for children under 18 months will remain in place in order to keep those children on their immunization schedules. All urgent care locations will remain open as well, Children's said.

"If your child has a surgery scheduled or planned in the next two weeks, unless it is a medical emergency, it will be rescheduled for a later date. You will be called with the status of your child’s appointment," the hospital explained in a statement on its website.

11:03 a.m. -- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino closing indefinitely

One of Milwaukee's major remaining open entertainment venues is closing its doors. Potawatomi Hotel & Casino will close indefinitely beginning Tuesday evening.

The closure will start at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. Employees will be paid during the closure, the casino says.

“At this time, the health and safety of our guests and the 2,700 team members at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is the top priority,” said Rodney Ferguson, CEO and General Manager of the property.

10:22 a.m. -- 29 cruise ship passengers aboard the Grand Princess are now back in Wisconsin

Twenty-nine Wisconsinites aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship are now back in the state, according to Gov. Tony Evers.

Evers said that the 29 residents made it back to the state Sunday night. The Wisconsin National Guard transported the group back to their homes Monday morning. Two other Wisconsin passengers aboard the cruise ship chose to remain in quarantine in Texas.

None of the returning Wisconsinites have tested positive for COVID-19, but are following CDC and Wisconsin Department of Health Services protocols.

“We’re glad to finally have our folks back home in Wisconsin,” Gov. Evers said in a press release. “These individuals have gone through a harrowing experience full of uncertainty and fear over the past several weeks. But as I’ve said repeatedly, here in Wisconsin, we take care of one another. I am incredibly grateful to Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin National Guard, and our entire state government for the hard work they’ve put in to ensure we bring our people home safely and ensure the safety of our communities.”

9:25 a.m. -- All Milwaukee-area YMCA locations are closed

All YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee branches are closed as of Sunday, March 15 due the coronavirus pandemic.

A tentative reopening date has been set for April 1, but the organization warns "a decision beyond this date is pending" due to the fluidity of the situation.

The closure affects the following locations:

· Downtown YMCA

· Northside YMCA

· Rite-Hite Family YMCA

· YMCA Camp Minikani

· Northside YMCA Early Childhood Education Center

· Northwest Early Childhood Education Center

· YMCA Gymnastics Center

· All Before and After School locations

8:39 a.m. -- Number of confirmed active cases in Wisconsin stands at 33
There are now 33 confirmed active cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin, including 7 cases in Milwaukee County, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

As recently as Thursday, there were only 7 confirmed cases in the state.

The current cases are in the following locations:

  • 7 in Milwaukee County
  • 11 in Fond du Lac County
  • 5 in Dane County
  • 3 in Sheboygan County
  • 3 in Waukesha County
  • 1 each in Racine, Pierce, Wood, and Winnebago Counties

1 other case in Dane County has since recovered from the disease.
8:02 a.m. -- Marcus Theatres to reduce seating capacity by 50 percent

In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Marcus Theatres says it will reduce overall seating capacity in its theaters by 50 percent, as early as today.

Marcus' ticketing system will "make certain seating unavailable in order to accomplish the additional space between guests," a news release from the company says. To accomodate families, a section of four seats will be sold together in theaters that have a mininmum of 50 seats.

“At Marcus Theatres and Movie Tavern by Marcus, we are closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and working under the direction provided by local health agencies,” said Rolando Rodriguez, chairman, president and CEO of Marcus Theatres.

6:43 a.m. -- MPS to provide free meals for students during closure

MPS will provide free meals to students beginning Monday, March 16 between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday.

"I recognize the impact this closure will have on our school community, and know it may burden some of our students, families, and staff who rely on our schools," said MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley in a letter to parents.

Each distribution location will provide resources and materials to students in hard copy and online format. The full list of locations is below:

89561532_10218741673387695_4654312533753069568_n.jpg

6:05 a.m. -- Harley-Davidson Museum closed

The Harley-Davidson museum campus and its Tour Center in Menomonee Falls will close to the public beginning Monday, March 16. The goal right now is to reopen on Monday, April 6.

"To date, we are not aware of any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 among museum or tour center staff or visitors. We will continue to work with our local health departments and health officials and will continue to follow their guidance. We will reopen when it’s deemed safe and prudent to do so," a statement from the company reads.

The closure also includes MOTOR Bar & Restaurant and the museum's gift shop.

Sunday, March 15

9:07 p.m. - Aurora Healthcare adopts no-vistor policy

No visitors, with a few exceptions, will be allowed in any inpatient areas until further notice. All visitors who meet exclusion criteria must pass a health screening, which will be administered at a central hospital checkpoint. For details on the restrictions, click here.

7:28 p.m. -- Wood County announces first case of COVID-19

An individual tested positive for the coronavirus in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., according to Mayor Zach Vruwink in a Facebook post. The person recently returned from a cruise and are now isolating at home.

5:28 p.m. -- Wauwatosa Health Department announced first case of positive COVID-19

The individual recently returned from international travel and was experiencing symptoms. After being tested, the individual returned to their home and remained under self-quarantine.

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