TUE AM News: Evers casts doubt on tavern league ‘soft reopening’ request; Evers addresses backlash to stay-at-home extension

— Gov. Tony Evers says bars and restaurants will most likely not be allowed to start reopening at the beginning of May, dimming a request from the Tavern League of Wisconsin. 

“It will be discussed, but at the end of the day, May 1st, I feel relatively confident that would be a tough row to hoe,” Evers said yesterday during a Department of Health Services briefing. 

As frustration with the extended stay-at-home order builds in the state’s business community, the Tavern League of Wisconsin requested a “soft reopening” of bars, restaurants and supper clubs on May 1. 

“If we are facing no business until May 26, we’re going to see a lot of our members just leave their business like an abandoned car,” said Scott Stenger, a lobbyist for the Tavern League. “You can’t go 70 days without substantial income and expect to survive.” 

But the guv’s newly announced “Badger Bounce Back” plan doesn’t allow bars and restaurants to reopen until after certain criteria on testing, tracing, treatment and case numbers have been met. 

“There is a phase in which bars and restaurants are specifically identified, and we aren’t even to Phase One or Phase Two,” Evers said. “We look forward to the day of making that happen.” 

The Tavern League’s request comes amid protests in the state and around the country against various stay-at-home orders. Here in Wisconsin, the owner of Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub in Wauwatosa says he won’t follow the extension and plans to reopen April 24, when the order was originally set to end. 

Stenger says he’s unsure if other businesses will follow that example but stressed that “these are very difficult times” for small business operators. 

“When you’re in a desperate situation, you often do desperate things,” he told WisBusiness.com. 

But the Tavern League isn’t telling member companies to ignore the order. 

“This distracts from the bigger issue here, to find a workable long-term solution. That’s the most important aspect,” Stenger said. “The fact that we don’t like something doesn’t mean we won’t follow it. We can voice opposition, but we’re not going to advise people not to follow it.” 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1451464 

— Evers says that despite backlash on his “Safer at Home” extension, a majority of people understand that it saves lives. 

“Most people get it. They may not like it, but they’re taking this order seriously, they see that this saves lives,” said Evers in a DHS press call. 

Reporters during the call brought up instances of sheriffs announcing plans to not enforce the order or businesses declaring they will reopen despite the order. Failure to obey the order could result in jail time or fines of up to $250.  

“I think the bottom line that we’ve seen you know there is a few isolated stories of one or two people here or there planning to violate the orders, but overwhelmingly we are seeing the majority of people in Wisconsin support ‘Safer at Home,’ we’re seeing the overwhelming majority of business owners and local law enforcement really working together making sure we’re doing the right thing,” said Ryan Nilsestuen, chief legal counsel to the governor. 

Evers said his administration is working with sheriffs to provide them PPE and other equipment for law enforcement to do their jobs.

“The ability for local law enforcement to do their job is more related to making sure they have the tools they need to keep themselves safe,” he said.

— Gov. Tony Evers announced several criteria to be met before beginning to dial back his latest stay-at-home order, including a downward trajectory in the number of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19 symptoms reported within a 14-day period.

Evers also will be looking for a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.

According to Evers, Wisconsin does not yet meet the White House’s criteria to reopen the state, “but the Badger Bounce Back plan has steps to get us there.”

Several of the criteria Evers announced as part of the plan match what he said last week would be needed before the state began to reopen businesses. That includes more testing capacity of about 85,000 tests per week, contact tracing to track the spread of the disease and additional personal protective equipment.

See the release: http://www.wispolitics.com/2020/gov-evers-announces-badger-bounce-back-plan/ 

— Wisconsin COVID-19 deaths and cases are still rising, but the state’s epidemiologist says most of the confirmed cases have recovered.

The state reported yesterday that deaths have reached 230 with 4,499 confirmed cases. Yesterday’s total includes 10 new deaths and 153 new confirmed cases since Sunday, according to the state’s Department of Health Services. 

“A large number of those (cases) will have recovered because the illness is generally self-limited… most people get better in a couple weeks,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer of the Bureau of Communicable Disease in a Department of Health Services briefing. 

“The safe assumption is that if 30 days go by after a positive test and people are out of that window where they’re likely to be infectious,” he said.

Of the confirmed cases, 27 percent were hospitalized, 7 percent received intensive care and 5 percent have died, according to DHS.

DHS’s hospital dashboard reports 406 COVID patients in hospitals statewide with 168 of those ICU COVID-19 patients. 

Counties reporting the most deaths are Milwaukee (132), Dane (19), Waukesha (11), Racine (10) and Ozaukee (9). 

Walworth County reports six deaths. Kenosha County reports five deaths. Rock County reports four deaths. Fond du Lac, Grant, Sauk and Washington counties report three deaths each.

Outagamie and Sheboygan counties report two deaths each.

Adams, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Clark, Columbia, Dodge, Door, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Richland, Waupaca and Winnebago counties report one death each.

Sixty-five of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have experienced confirmed cases.

Nineteen percent of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are between the ages of 50-59. This is followed by people 60-69 (16 percent), 40-49 (16 percent) and 30-39 (15 percent).

Over 95 percent of patients who have died from COVID-19 are over the age of 50. 

In Wisconsin, women make up 53 percent of the confirmed cases and men make up 47 percent of confirmed cases.

The African American community makes up 23 percent of the state’s confirmed cases, but account for 35 percent of deaths due to COVID-19. 

Click here for coronavirus resources and information: http://www.wispolitics.com/wisconsin-coronavirus-resources/ 

— About two weeks after the recent spring election in Wisconsin, public health officials haven’t seen any spike in coronavirus cases associated with the in-person voting that took place around the state. 

“We haven’t seen an obvious spike, so that’s good,” said Dr. John Raymond, president of the Medical College of Wisconsin during a Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce briefing. Still, he noted that “it’s going to be almost impossible to ascribe cause and effect to that.” 

In a Department of Health Services webinar, DHS Secretary Andrea Palm noted that individuals might not seek a test for an extended period after initial infection, especially if they don’t show symptoms of COVID-19. 

“It’s not surprising that we have not seen information in the data that suggests that we’ve seen a large uptick from in-person voting on the 7th,” Palm said yesterday. “But we continue with all of our work around the state to be focused on places where there might be outbreaks to understand what the root of those might be.” 

— Foxconn is now assembling protective masks in Mount Pleasant under the Sharp brand, according to a release from the company.

The company is assembling tens of thousands of masks, the report shows, which will be used by medical professionals, law enforcement and others.

“Foxconn’s founder, Terry Gou, has heard the call from federal and state elected leaders for industries and businesses to pull together their resources and do their part in the fight against COVID-19,” said Jay Lee, board member and vice-chairman of Foxconn Technology Group.

Foxconn is also working with Medtronic on an effort to produce ventilators in Wisconsin to be used in treating coronavirus patients.

See the release:

— Four COVID-19 patients in the state are being treated with plasma from people who have recovered from the virus. 

The patients are receiving convalescent plasma therapy at the Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. 

Since they received the plasma treatment on April 8, specialists at MCW have been conducting research on the treatment’s effectiveness. Meanwhile, the Versiti Blood Research Institute is “actively recruiting” plasma donors for the study. 

The treatment relies on antibodies taken from the blood plasma of individuals who’ve had COVID-19 and since recovered. It’s expected to boost the immune systems of these patients and help them fight off the virus as well. 

Convalescent plasma therapy has been approved by the FDA as an Emergency Investigational New Drug. The release shows Freodtert and MCW have previously used this type of therapy against other viruses including H1N1 and Ebola. 

“We have great hope for this research because it offers a new treatment for the most severely affected patients, those for whom all other options are not working,” said Dr. Mary Beth Graham, one of the principal investigators for the study and associate chief of the division of infectious disease at MCW. 

Plus, she said providers will be infusing the plasma into patients who aren’t as seriously ill, “but for whom the treatment may be able to help change the course of the disease.” 

See the release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/plasma-treatment-offers-hope-to-critically-ill-covid-19-patients-301043597.html 


# Gov. Evers sets goal of 85,000 tests per week to help reopen Wisconsin’s economy


# Evers’ ‘Badger Bounce Back’ plan offers roadmap for reopening state economy http://www.wpr.org/evers-badger-bounce-back-plan-offers-roadmap-reopening-state-economy

# Evers says state is taking ‘big steps’ to increase COVID-19 testing capacity

# Farmers seek guidance in responding to dairy crisis http://www.wisfarmer.com/story/news/2020/04/20/farmers-seek-guidance-responding-dairy-crisis/5163455002/



– Dairy groups look to milk supply management amid coronavirus pandemic http://www.wpr.org/dairy-groups-look-milk-supply-management-amid-coronavirus-pandemic

– Perdue: Reopening DMC retroactively doesn’t make sense http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=431&yr=2020

– WFU praises USDA aid to farmers, calls for deeper look at supply chain http://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/04/20/wfu-praises-usda-aid-to-farmers-calls-for-deeper-look-at-supply-chain/


– What’s happening with everyone’s federal coronavirus-related stimulus checks? http://www.wpr.org/whats-happening-everyones-federal-coronavirus-related-stimulus-checks

– Business titan Liz Uihlein questions Tony Evers’ decision to extend order to stay home until May 26 http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2020/04/20/coronavirus-wisconsin-liz-uihlein-questions-extended-restrictions/5166020002/

– Evers outlines plan for phased reopening of Wisconsin

– Tony Evers unveils criteria for eventually reopening Wisconsin businesses



– UW-Oshkosh employees face furloughs as campus seeks to fill $7M hole http://www.wpr.org/uw-oshkosh-employees-face-furloughs-campus-seeks-fill-7m-hole


– Crews contain wildfire in central Wisconsin



– Foxconn assembles COVID-19 masks in Mount Pleasant


– Exact sciences in Madison ready to process 20,000 coronavirus tests per week, expanding Wisconsin’s testing capacity http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/money/business/health-care/2020/04/20/coronavirus-testing-exact-sciences-madison-processing-20000-week-wisconsin/5163509002/

– Brown County coronavirus cases explode to 292, with clusters tied to meatpacking plants in Green Bay area http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2020/04/20/green-bay-coronavirus-jbs-packing-american-foods-employees-infected/5165369002/

– 2 teams investigate Wisconsin virus cases, others protest



– The case for extending hazard pay to coronavirus pandemic’s essential workers http://www.wpr.org/case-extending-hazard-pay-coronavirus-pandemics-essential-workers

– Discovery World maintains 120-person workforce during pandemic with aid of PPP 



– Some law enforcement agencies question enforcing stay-at-home order http://www.wpr.org/some-law-enforcement-agencies-question-enforcing-stay-home-order

– Wisconsin Supreme Court hears arguments in cases to limit governor’s veto power http://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-supreme-court-hears-arguments-cases-limit-governors-veto-power

– Milwaukee company to pay fine in Iowa asbestos case


– Facebook post leads to $10,000 donation to help dairy farmers http://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/04/20/facebook-post-leads-to-10000-donation-to-help-dairy-farmers/


– Pabst Theater Group CEO: Postpone DNC in city until 2024 


– Protesters rally at Wis. Capitol against stay-home order



– Fiduciary plans 280 apartments in Mount Pleasant near Foxconn 



– Tavern League pushes for bars, restaurants to reopen by May 1


– Madison Capitols name Tom Upton as head coach and general manager http://madison.com/wsj/sports/hockey/amateur/madison-capitols-name-tom-upton-as-head-coach-and-general-manager/article_bf361dbf-5e1c-5d83-9143-e84e4e8a75d1.html 


– After nearly 100 years in business, Alpine Resort in Door County faces first summer without opening http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/door-co/2020/04/20/coronavirus-door-county-alpine-resort-not-opening-summer/5166002002/

– Canceled festivals mean big losses for nonprofits http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/canceled-festivals-mean-big-losses-for-nonprofits/article_44124cbc-73e2-5a3a-a13e-3970e313dab6.html


– How coronavirus is affecting internet usage and capacity http://www.wpr.org/how-coronavirus-affecting-internet-usage-and-capacity


<i>See these and other press releases: 

http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82 </i>

Foxconn: To assemble procedural masks in Wisconsin for pandemic relief

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WBA: Statement on garnishment of CARES Act stimulus checks