What’s safe now that Safer at Home is lifted? — 5/18/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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When the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week ended the state’s Safer at Home policy to slow COVID-19, it did not end the pandemic itself. And that has left many Wisconsinites with questions about how to safely navigate the reopening of businesses and other parts of society. 

Today we highlight a story by David Wahlberg of the Wisconsin State Journal. He spoke to experts to gauge the risk of a range of activities, from dining in a restaurant to getting a haircut.

Top Stories

Steve Apps / Wisconsin State Journal

Alicia Dudei assists dentist Patrick Tepe with a procedure at Associated Dentists in Verona. The state’s “safer at home” order, struck down last week, said dental care is essential, but most dentists limited care to emergencies. Many are now starting to resume other procedures, with some doing cleanings again with extra precautions.

With Wisconsin’s COVID-19 rules relaxing, what activities are safe? Here’s a FAQWisconsin State Journal 

Questions linger as new research suggests election was linked to rise in coronavirus casesMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Sweeping lawsuit seeks to have absentee ballot requests sent to all Wisconsin votersMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Madison postal workers march on along routes despite health, financial uncertaintyWisconsin State Journal 

Wisconsin again? Swing state a hotbed of virus politicsAssociated Press

COVID-19 outbreak at Holton Manor doesn’t stop Elkhorn students from workingThe Gazette (Janesville) 

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Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Live updates 

Live coverage from USA Today-Wisconsin reporters 

Live coverage from Wisconsin State Journal reporters


“I’m very, very worried about rural Wisconsin.”

Dr. Geoffrey Swain, former medical director for the city of Milwaukee Health Department, speaking to WPR about the influx of summer tourism during the pandemic 

Data to note

After spending weeks near the top of The New York Times’ list of fastest-growing COVID-19 hotspots, the Green Bay metro area has moved to the newspaper’s list of communities where “there may be good news ahead.” Green Bay ranks behind just six communities where new COVID-19 cases are declining the most. Green Bay had 124 fewer new cases this week compared to a week ago. 

“The places on this list are not necessarily those where the outbreak is no longer severe. But sustained decreases in new cases and deaths are signs that a place is going in the right direction,” the Times reported.

But Racine on Monday was the country’s eighth fastest growing COVID-19 hotspot, with 582 recent cases that were on pace to double every 11.2 days, according to the newspaper.

For a statewide look at testing trends, see these visualizations from our partners at WisContext. 

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

Steve Apps / Wisconsin State Journal

Som Maly with JAK’s Ohana prepares meals at the FEED Kitchen for the program, FEED To Go, that uses food cart owners/chefs and caterers to prepare packaged meals to distribute at community centers for families needing food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feeding residents and keeping businesses afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemicWisconsin State Journal 

MaskUpMKE: Milwaukee organizations, volunteers team up to produce face masksWPR

Future teachers adapting in strange timesKenosha News 

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