As the number of COVID-19 cases rises again in Wisconsin, making the state one of the nation's hotspots, Gov. Tony Evers directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm on Tuesday to issue Emergency Order #3, which limits public gatherings to no more than 25 percent of a room or building’s total occupancy.
This includes bars, stores, building lobbies, gyms, waiting rooms and restaurant dining. It applies to businesses that allow public entry and venues hosting ticketed events.
“We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” said Gov. Evers in a statement. “We are continuing to experience a surge in cases and many of our hospitals are overwhelmed, and I believe limiting indoor public gatherings will help slow the spread of this virus. Folks, we need your help and we need all Wisconsinites to work together during this difficult time. The sooner we get control of this virus, the sooner our economy, communities, and state can bounce back.”
On Tuesday, Wisconsin's DHS reported an increase of 2,020 confirmed cases of COVID-19, along with 18 new deaths. The seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases is 2,346, which is nearly three times the 836 of a month ago.
As of Sept. 30, 45 Wisconsin counties had more than 350 cases per 100,000 people, meaning they are deemed to have a very high disease activity level. The remainder of Wisconsin counties reported high case activity levels.
Also on Tuesday, Evers announced that another $100 million in small business aid would be made available to businesses in the tourism industry, including lodging, event and others venues.
“The unfortunate reality is this: the disease activity level of COVID-19 in Wisconsin is so high that going to a gathering puts you at very high risk of exposure,” said DHS Secretary-designee Palm in Tuesday's statement. “We know gatherings are a key way this virus spreads, so we must act to limit indoor gatherings to stop the spread, reduce illness, and save lives.”
In related news, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) have announced that Miller Park will become a centralized community COVID-19 testing site beginning on Monday, Oct. 19.
The current National Guard testing facilities at Custer Stadium, 4300 W. Fairmount Ave., and UMOS., 2710 S. Chase Ave., will end testing on Saturday, Oct. 17 as the National Guard winds down its deployment.
The site at Miller Park will be staffed by National Guard and civilian personnel at first, but will be completely civilian-staffed after the deployment ends.
The consolidated site will have the capacity to test as many as 2,000 individuals each day.
Milwaukee Health Department’s Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., and Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St. will also offer no-barrier testing, meaning individuals who wish to be tested do not have to display symptoms.
“Milwaukee is grateful to Governor Evers and the Wisconsin National Guard for their support and hard work to keep two community testing sites up and running for the past five months,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Thanks to their service, we were able to increase testing capacity in areas impacted the most by COVID-19 and provide tens of thousands of tests to our residents.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.