Three more people tested positive Wednesday for coronavirus

[Editor’s Note: This article has been updated by a more recent story found HERE.]

Amid a flurry of cancellation announcements from University of Wisconsin schools, three more Wisconsinites tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to six cases of COVID-19, the state Department of Health Services announced Wednesday afternoon. At about the same time, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he has asked Gov. Tony Evers to declare a public health emergency.

Two of the new cases are in Fond du Lac County, and one is in Waukesha County, DHS said. The Waukesha County patient was exposed while traveling internationally, and one of the Fond du Lac County patients was exposed traveling internationally; the other Fond du Lac patient was traveling domestically, according to officials.

The Waukesha patient and one of the Fond du Lac patients are under home isolation, while the other Fond du Lac patient is hospitalized.

While not offering specifics, the new DHS announcement also contained guidance for those who may have traveled to Egypt for a cruise or came in contact with someone recently on an Egyptian cruise.

“Additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 weren’t unexpected as this illness spreads across the country. These latest confirmed cases should remind us how important it is to follow the recommended steps to prevent illness and contain the spread of COVID-19,” State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers said in a statement.

Of the three previous cases, two were confirmed in Dane County and another was in Pierce County. The state’s first case, in Dane County, was contained and the patient fully recovered. The Pierce County patient and one of the Dane County patients were infected after domestic travel.

As worldwide cases surpassed 118,000 and deaths reached nearly 4,300, the World Health Organization officially designated the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic on Wednesday. 

Telling the Journal Sentinel about his request for the governor to declare a public health emergency, Barrett said, “This is not alarmist, this is very, very much (a) preparedness measure,” designed to make it easier to obtain needed supplies such as gowns, goggles, masks and gloves.

In a public briefing Wednesday morning, state DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm said Gov. Tony Evers is in communication with the department to determine whether to declare a state of emergency. 

President Donald Trump is reportedly hesitant to declare a national health emergency because he fears it would undermine his claims that coronavirus’ danger is akin to that of the flu. Nearly 1,000 Americans were infected in 38 states and Washington D.C. as of Wednesday, and 29 patients had died, according to the Centers for Disease Control.