Wisconsin Just Hit New Records For Testing, Positives — and Deaths

Evers allocates $200 million to local aid.

Wisconsin’s coronavirus cases shot past 16,000 as the state set three separate one-day records: 599 new cases, 22 deaths, and 10,330 tests.

That brings the state total to 16,462 cases and 539 deaths, according to the Department of Health Services. The startling increase in cases and deaths followed a five-day decline in newly confirmed cases and three-day decline in percentage of positive tests. While the record number of tests comes as good news, the percentage of positive tests jumped from 3.6 percent on Tuesday to 5.8 percent.

Andrea Palm, DHS secretary-designee, cautioned that the numbers may represent an isolated spike.

“One day does not a trend make,” she said.

Wednesday was the two-week anniversary of the state Supreme Court killing the statewide stay-home order, but Palm said she does “not feel confident … attributing increases to the lifting of Safer at Home.” She added that DHS will continue closely monitoring daily numbers.

Although social media and news sources were flooded with photos and video of people crowding bars after the order ended, and more recently of thousands of people inundating tourist towns over Memorial Day weekend, cell phone data suggests people are still, by and large, adhering to the guidelines. 

Shortly before the numbers were released Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers announced he is allocating $200 million of the state’s remaining federal coronavirus relief funding to a local help fund.

The money, to be disbursed as direct payments from the Department of Administration, is intended to reach every single Wisconsin county and municipality, including tribal nations, Evers said Wednesday in a call with reporters.

“We want to ensure that every community and local partner has the resources they need to combat COVID-19 and keep the people of Wisconsin safe,” Evers said.

Minimum payments will be $5,000, according to a press release, and the payments will be scaled further based upon population. Evers specifically allocated $10 million to help the state’s tribal nations; the other $190 million will go to the rest of the state.

The DOA will allow the funds to be used for paid sick leave for frontline public health and safety workers, isolation sites, PPE purchases, contact tracing, and more, according to the release.