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Wisconsin meets five of the six gating criteria set by the governor to begin phased reopening

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Note: The Safer-At-Home order was revoked by a state supreme court ruling after this printing.

Top infectious-disease expert warns that reopening states too quickly could backfire on local economies

During senate testimony on May 12, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, warned of avoidable “suffering and death” and of further economic damage if states reopen too quickly by jumping the “checkpoints” (or gating criteria) that have been put into place by the Trump administration’s coronavirus recovery plan. Fauci said the U.S. death toll from the novel coronavirus is probably higher than the 80,000 reported.

Governor Evers Badger Bounce Back plan for Wisconsin includes gating criteria that is nearly identical to the federal plan. The media reports that the vast majority of states have yet to meet the most basic reopening benchmarks set out by the White House by last month. As of this printing, however, Wisconsin has met five of the six criteria required to begin reopening in phases:

  • Downward trajectory of COVID-like syndromic cases
  • Downward trend of positive tests as a percent of total
  • 95 percent of hospitals affirm they can treat patients without crisis standards of care
  • Hospitals have arranged for testing for symptomatic staff treating patients
  • Downward trend of cases among health care workers.

The only criteria that has not been met, is the downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses reported within a 14-day period. But the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that Wisconsin was one of only three states where influenza is still moderately active for the week ending May 2. Colds and stomach viruses have also been making the rounds.

While testing and tracing has increased around the state, as of May 13, the percentage of new positive tests had dipped to 4%. The goal of the Badger Bounce Back plan is to provide every Wisconsin resident who has symptoms with the opportunity to receive a lab test. Results will be reported to the patient and state or local public health within 48 hours of collection. To achieve this, Evers said the goal is 85,000 tests per week or approximately 12,000 tests per day. Currently, there are no community testing sites in Sheboygan County. Anyone experiencing symptoms should call their doctor. The map below shows the locations of current community testing sites.

Most states surrounding Wisconsin have been seeing a decrease in the percentage of COVID-19 cases, or have remained steady. The exception is Minnesota which has seen a 33% increase. South Dakota has seen the largest increase as of May 11 at +123%

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