WISCONSIN — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said Friday there are now 18 confirmed active cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee County's first cases.
As recently as Thursday, there were only 7 confirmed cases in the state.
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The current cases are in the following locations:
- 6 in Fond du Lac County
- 4 in Dane County
- 3 in Sheboygan County
- 2 in Milwaukee County
- 1 each in Racine, Waukesha, and Pierce Counties.
1 other case in Dane County has since recovered from the disease.
On Friday, Gov. Tony Evers directed DHS to mandate the closure of all K-12 schools across Wisconsin - public and private.
The mandated closure will begin on Wednesday, March 18th to give school districts enough time to make plans for kids, families, educators, and staff.
According to the governor's office, school districts, particularly those in counties with reported cases of COVID-19, can choose to close earlier than Wednesday. The anticipated reopening date is April 6, 2020, but that could change as we learn more information.
"Closing our schools is not a decision I made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families, and our communities safe is a top priority as we continue our work to respond to and prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin," said Gov. Evers.
On Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency for the state of Wisconsin. On Friday, Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties both declared emergencies of their own.
“We have been working aggressively to slow the spread of COVID-19, and this declaration allows us to get the resources we need to continue to be proactive when it comes to protecting Wisconsinites,” said Gov. Evers. “It is the latest step in the work our state agencies have been doing around the clock with our health care partners to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic.”
Health officials also reiterated Friday 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.
Check back often for updates on this developing story.