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MADISON – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Service (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued an emergency order to help address healthcare staffing needs. The emergency order, which immediately takes effect, eases state licensing requirements for some healthcare workers.

The state of Wisconsin confirmed 2,745 new coronavirus cases Friday on 13,595 tests. Those results bring the total case count to 127,906, of which just over 23,000 are considered active, about 900 more than yesterday.

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services has changed the way it reports data to more accurately reflect the situation. They now attribute both positive and negative tests to the dates when processed, not the dates that the data was reported to DHS. This new testing protocol will give a more accurate report of the percentage of tests returning positive results and render the daily percentages as we have been reporting them irrelevant. Therefore the department now reports the seven-day positive test rate and will no longer report daily percentages for the state or counties.

The state is also reporting this percentage by test, and by person, to account for the fact that some people receive multiple negative tests.

Given these new criteria, Wisconsin’s seven-day of positive tests by a person is 17.5 percent. The state also measures the positivity of tests, which is 9.4 percent. That means 9.4 percent of the tests given in the past seven days were positive, while 17.4 percent of the people tested were positive.

“We are seeing alarming trends here in Wisconsin, with today (Thursday, Oct. 1) seeing our highest number of new (COVID-19) cases in a single day, and yesterday seeing our highest death count,” Evers said in a news release. “Our hospitals are being stretched to the limit, and we need to take action to assist our frontline medical professionals with their life-saving work.”

Under the order:

  • Healthcare providers will receive temporary interstate reciprocity from working in Wisconsin healthcare facilities.
  • The expiration date of some healthcare provider licenses is extended.
  • Healthcare providers with recently lapsed licenses will have a more straightforward process to apply for reinstatement with the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).
  • Out-of-state physicians will be able to practice telemedicine in Wisconsin with proper notification of the DSPS.

Read the order

The order is effective immediately and will remain in effect for the duration of the current declared federal public health emergency and renewals or until Gov. Evers or Secretary-designee Palm issues a superseding order.

For up-to-date information , visit Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response website.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...