Gov. Evers declares new health emergency, issues new face coverings order

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency due to the recent surge in cases among young people and issued a new face coverings order effective immediately. They will expire after 60 days or with the declaration of a new order. Executive Order #90 is available here. Emergency Order #1 is available here.

“We continue to learn more about this virus, but what we do know is that we are facing a new and dangerous phase of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Wisconsin,” stated Gov. Evers. “We are seeing an alarming increase in cases across our state, especially on campus. We need folks to start taking this seriously, and young people especially—please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars, and wear a mask whenever you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together.”

According to a news release, Wisconsin is seeing a surge in cases, especially among young people. In fact, 18 to 24-year-olds have a case rate five times higher than any other age group.

“The current surge among young people is concerning, but it is important to remember that this increase in cases is not confined to college campuses,” stated Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Students come to these campuses from across the state, and we worry about the effect their return from an area with a high infection rate could have on their home communities. That is why it is imperative we take action to curb transmission now – to protect residents of Wisconsin in every corner of the state.”

“We need to remember that most respiratory viruses see their peak activity in Wisconsin between late fall and early spring,” stated Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s Chief Medical Officer and the State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases. “We need to do everything we can now to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prepare for the winter. That is why we need to continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. It is also why we encourage everyone to get a flu shot this year; the flu shot cannot protect you from COVID-19, but by helping protect you from the flu, it helps strengthen our COVID-10 response here in Wisconsin by preserving hospital and testing capacity.”

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