Evers’ new mask mandate order, public health emergency declaration go into effect

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ new public health emergency declaration and mask mandate went into effect Friday.

He announced the orders earlier this week, pointing to Wisconsin hospitals that are struggling to keep up with demand to care for patients with COVID-19 and those with other healthcare needs.

“Wisconsin hospitals are overwhelmed and facing staffing shortages,” said Evers. “We continue to see record-setting days of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. We need everyone to stay home and wear a mask if you have to you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together.”

Under the order, Wisconsin residents ages 5 and older are required to wear a face covering when they are indoors or in an enclosed space with anyone outside their household. There are some exceptions listed in the order, which can be found in full here.

“The current surge in cases are overwhelming our hospitals,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We know hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, which means we will need even more capacity for our hospitals in the coming weeks with our current cases. We need every Wisconsinite to take this seriously to stay home. That is why it is imperative we take action to curb transmission now – to protect residents of Wisconsin in every corner of the state.”

Wisconsin is experiencing unprecedented, near-exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the average daily number of new cases currently at 6,254, almost double the average daily cases seen a month ago, and an increase of 260% since September 20, when the average case number was 1,720.