Gov. Tony Evers extended the state’s mandatory masking order Tuesday through Nov. 21.
Evers declared a new health emergency in Wisconsin because of a recent surge in cases among young people.
“We continue to learn more about this virus, but what we do know is that we are facing a new and dangerous phase of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Wisconsin,” Evers said. “We are seeing an alarming increase in cases across our state, especially on campus. We need folks to start taking this seriously, and young people especially. Please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars and wear a mask whenever you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together.”
Though Republican State Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald called the order “moot, illegal, invalid and almost assuredly headed for litigation,” Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) said he would oppose a legislative challenge to the order.
“I think there will be groups out there that will challenge it,” Kitchens said. “It’s probably very questionable legally that he can do this. But I don’t think that we should challenge it.”
Positive tests have spiked in Wisconsin as students have returned to college campuses and K-12 schools. The state’s seven-day average of positive cases reached 1,791 this week, which is almost double the previous high reached in late July.
Statewide, hospital capacity remains good, with 22 percent of hospital beds available and 474 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday – the most since the pandemic began. There are 69 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the northeastern Wisconsin region, which is also the most since the pandemic began.