Gov. Tony Evers has declared a new public health emergency in Wisconsin on Tuesday due to a recent surge in cases among young people, particularly on college campuses, and has extended Wisconsin’s mask mandate until Nov. 21
“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,” said Gov. Evers in a statement. “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.”
With the start of the school year, Wisconsin is seeing a surge in cases, especially among young people, with 18 to 24-year-olds have a case rate five times higher than any other age group, according to a press release from the Governor’s office. This significant increase has only occurred within the past month and appears to be driven by in-person social gatherings. Last week, eight Wisconsin cities were listed among the top twenty cities in the United States where COVID-19 cases were rising fastest, and six of those eight cities have University of Wisconsin System campuses.
“The current surge among young people is concerning, but it is important to remember that this increase in cases is not confined to college campuses,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Students come to these campuses from across the state, and we worry about the effect their return from an area with a high infection rate could have on their home communities. 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’s number of new cases has risen from 678 on August 31st to 1,791 on September 21st, a 2.6-fold increase in three weeks, driven in part by the unprecedented number of infections among 18-24 year-olds.