Judge temporarily blocks Gov. Evers’ limits on indoor gatherings, while COVID-19 deaths mount — 10/14/20

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

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A Wisconsin judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked Gov. Tony Evers’ limits on gatherings at bars, restaurants and other public places —  easing the restrictions while hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 mount from the state’s failure to control the coronavirus. 

Mitchell Schmidt reports for the Wisconsin State Journal that Sawyer County Circuit Judge John Yackel issued a temporary halt on enforcement of Evers’ statewide order limiting some indoor gatherings to no more than 25% of occupancy. 

The decision comes in a lawsuit filed by the Tavern League of Wisconsin — the “latest in a long list of legal challenges against efforts by Evers and his administration to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Schmidt writes.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported 28 additional deaths linked to COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 1,536 during the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, the state continues to set daily records for COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 1,017 patients receiving treatment as of Wednesday — up from 959 a day earlier, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

In the latest installment of our Outbreak Wisconsin collaboration with WPR, UW-Health nurse Mariah Clark offers a plea to residents to wear masks and keep their distance from each other as hospitals become overwhelmed: 

“There’s got to be a change, y’all … This is slowly grinding us into dirt.”

Top Stories

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

The alternate care facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park has 530 beds for COVID-19 patients.

Judge blocks Gov. Tony Evers’ order limiting indoor gatherings at some businessesWisconsin State Journal 

‘This is slowly grinding us into dirt’: An ER nurse reflects on the relentless pandemicWPR/Wisconsin Watch

The U.S. was the world’s best prepared nation to confront a pandemic. How did it spiral to ‘almost inconceivable’ failure? Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

With record COVID-19 hospitalizations, Wisconsin opens overflow facilityWisconsin State Journal 

Parents: Appleton’s drop in enrollment caused by district’s refusal to go back in-personFOX11 News 

With employees in quarantine, Marathon County business says large gatherings hurt business WSAW-TV

Sheboygan Area School District will stop in-person learning for two weeks because of ‘increased number’ of COVID-19 cases, sub shortageSheboygan Press 

Ten La Crosse County residents have died from COVID-19 in the last 19 daysNews8000

Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce butts heads with public health again as Winnebago County committee reconsiders a COVID-19 ordinanceOshkosh Northwestern 

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

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“This is really the five alarm fire in our communities to say it’s time for us to come together and band together and do the things we need to do to be able to safeguard ourselves and the people we love.”

—  Dr. Imran Andrabi, president and CEO of ThedaCare, as quoted by CBS 58 in Milwaukee 

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.

Data to note

Here is a visualization of trends in cases and deaths from our partners at WisContext:

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