Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews discusses the role of the Wisconsin National Guard after Gov. Tony Evers declares a public health emergency due to the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. (Photo © Andy Manis)
Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews discusses the role of the Wisconsin National Guard after Gov. Tony Evers declares a public health emergency due to the coronavirus on March 12, 2020. (Photo © Andy Manis)

Number of cases 27. Schools to close by 5pm Wednesday. More restrictions on gatherings, visits.

The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Wisconsin, jumped Saturday to 27 from 19 reported on Friday, according to state health officials. Here is a summary of stories from UpNorthNews and other Wisconsin media and government sites.

For the updated breakdown of positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin see the UpNorthNews story: COVID-19 Cases Jump from 19 to 27. The story also includes a description of the groups of people who should seek out coronavirus testing.

RELATED: Coronavirus Conflict – Staying Away to Keep Loved Ones Safe, Sunday story from UpNorthNews reporter Julian Emerson

The continuing uptick in cases prompted Gov. Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services late Friday to announce the closure of all public and private K-12 schools starting at 5pm Wednesday, possibly sooner in counties with higher reported cases.

Evers last Thursday had declared a public health emergency.

The public health department for Madison and Dane County has ordered a ban on mass gatherings of 250 people or more, including religious services.

The city of Racine has closed its community centers and libraries.

Employers are being reminded by the state’s Department of Workforce Development that they may be eligible to use the Work-Share program which helps avoid mass layoffs by encouraging, instead, a reduction in hours, making employees eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits while also maintaining their employer-provided benefits.

Late Friday night, the House of Representatives passed an emergency aid bill hours after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency. The vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan, 363-40, but all of Wisconsin’s Congressional Republicans voted against the deal and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, was the first member of the Senate to publicly oppose the provisions of paid sick leave and said he hopes the Senate will pass a bill with changes in the coming days “or, if it won’t, (then) pass nothing at all.”

The package, described in this New York Times report, mandates free coronavirus testing for those who need it, including those who currently have no health insurance coverage. The bill includes an increase in federal Medicaid payments to states to help cover costs. Its language requiring two weeks of paid sick leave is facing criticism from left and right; conservatives say it will harm business health, others say there are major exemptions that leave out protection for millions of workers.

Meals on Wheels food delivery programs to the elderly are not seeing a decrease in demand and are following Centers for Disease Control guidelines to minimize possible exposure, reports the Green Bay Press Gazette.

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