With Wisconsin experiencing some of the worst outbreaks in the country of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday issued a new order restricting indoor public gatherings.
It was also announced on Tuesday that Miller Park will be become a main COVID-19 testing site.
Evers directed Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue an emergency order limiting public gatherings to no more than 25% of a room or building’s total occupancy.
The directive is effective at 8 a.m. on Thursday and will remain in effect until Nov. 6 and applies to bars, restaurants and other businesses that allow public entry, as well as spaces with ticketed events.
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“We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” Evers said. “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. The sooner we get control of this virus, the sooner our economy, communities and state can bounce back.”
The Department of Health Services on Tuesday reported an increase of 2,020 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 new deaths. The seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases stood at 2,346, up from 836 one month ago.
“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,” Palm said. “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.”
Evers also announced an additional $100 million in support for Wisconsin’s small businesses, including lodging, event venues and others in the tourism industry that are struggling in the wake of the pandemic without additional federal support.
The city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, the Office of Emergency Management and the Milwaukee Health Department on Tuesday announced the transition toward a centralized community COVID-19 testing site as the deployment of Wisconsin National Guard troops to assist with testing winds down.
As the National Guard begins its planned drawdown of COVID-19 testing personnel in Milwaukee, a consolidated, centralized community testing location will begin offering COVID-19 viral testing at Miller Park beginning Oct. 19.
The current National Guard testing facilities located at Custer Stadium on Milwaukee’s North Side and United Migrant Opportunity Services in Bay View will conclude testing on Oct. 17.
The central community testing site at Miller Park will be staffed by a mix of National Guard and civilian personnel and will be completely civilian staffed after the Guard’s deployment ends.
The site will have the capacity to test up to 2,000 individuals per day, the same volume currently provided at the Custer Stadium and UMOS locations combined. In addition, testing will be available at Milwaukee Health Department’s Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Road, and Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St.
“With Miller Park as a central location with ample space, we are pleased to support the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County’s efforts to provide accessible COVID-19 testing to those in our community who need it,” Milwaukee Brewers President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger said.
The central community testing site will be a temporary structure in a parking lot off Miller Park Way. The structure will be weatherized and will accommodate up to six drive-through lanes for testing, including walk-in testing.