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SWNews4U coronavirus updates
Local updates on COVID-19
covid-19 graphic coronavirus

Southwest Wisconsin Newspapers will be providing regular online updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus situation.

Bookmark this page for updates that will be provided at least once a day, and more often for breaking news. The most recent update will be listed at the top of this page.

Also check out Southwest Wisconsin Newspapers’ Facebook pages for more local updates.

Complete coverage will also be found in Southwest Wisconsin Newspapers’ printed editions each week.

Tips from health professionals:

• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow/upper arm.
• Stay home if you are ill.
• Practice social distancing by maintaining six feet of space from others.

MARCH 31 UPDATE:

• Wisconsin is now up to 1,351 COVID-19 cases, up from 1,221 Sunday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Green County has six reported cases, Iowa County three, and Richland and Grant counties two each. The number of deaths statewide is now 16.

• The state Elections Commission met this morning and decided that Tuesday's spring general election will go on as scheduled barring action by the governor, the state Legislature or the courts in which lawsuits are pending. Supplies for municipalities will go out Wednesday to distribution centers for county clerks to then distribute. Some areas in the state are consolidating polling locations due to a lack of poll workers. The final day to request absentee ballots is Thursday. Three motions to the federal courts failed — one to ask to move the election to May 12, one against changing the date of the election, and one for the courts to require that absentee ballots be postmarked by April 7.

MARCH 30 UPDATE:

• Wisconsin is now up to 1,221 COVID-19 cases, up from 1,112 Sunday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Green County has five reported cases, Iowa County three, Richland County two, and Grant County one, though the Grant County Health Department reports a second case. The number of deaths statewide is now 14.

MARCH 29 UPDATE:

• Wisconsin is now up to 1,112 COVID-19 cases, up from 989 Saturday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Green County has four reported cases, Iowa County three, Richland County two, and Grant County one. The number of deaths statewide is 13.

MARCH 28 UPDATE:

• Wisconsin is now up to 989 COVID-19 cases, up from 842 Friday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Green County now has four reported cases, Iowa County three, Richland County two, and Grant County one. The number of deaths statewide is 13.

MARCH 27 UPDATES:

• Grant County news release:

Grant County Board Chairman Robert Keeney is asking residents of Grant County to immediately limit their travel and as much in-person contact as possible to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Even though, as of now, we still have only one confirmed case of COVID-19 here in Grant County, it is safe to assume that there are more cases in our communities that have not been tested or confirmed," said Keeney. "I ask that residents stay at home, only leaving for essentials such as groceries, medications or for medical appointments. We cannot let our guard down and must continue to follow the Safer At Home order issued by Governor Evers. Protecting our residents is our number one priority and we need you to help us by staying at home.”

“This disease is being spread effectively by people with mild illness and even by those without any symptoms,” said Jeff Kindrai, Grant County Health Department Director/Health Officer. “Therefore, you should assume that you may be exposed if around others and you may be spreading it yourself without knowing."

“Unfortunately we have not seen the worst of this yet," said Keeney. "Based on the increase in confirmed cases in other counties across the state of Wisconsin, and the deaths thus far, it will get worse before it gets better. I’m asking that every one of you take this seriously, and consider our vulnerable populations and our limited number of emergency responders and medical personnel before you leave your home. We are all in this together, and together we will be stronger."

For more information about the Grant County response to COVID-19, visit www.co.grant.wi.gov and click on the COVID-19 link.

• The state Department of Health Services is issuing an order suspending evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The order "prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for any reason" unless not evicting "will result in imminent threat of serious physical harm." The order also bans the starting of a civil foreclosure action for 60 days.

• Wisconsin is now up to 842 COVID-19 cases, up from 77 Thursday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Iowa County and Green County have three reported cases each, Richland County has its first two reported cases, and Grant County has one. The number of deaths statewide is up to 13.

MARCH 26 UPDATES:

ª Wisconsin is now up to 707 COVID-19 cases, up from 585 Wednesday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Iowa County has three reported cases, and Grant County and Green County have one each. Seven people have died statewide.

• Grant County announced that the Administration Building in Lancaster is closed to the public, though offices are operating. County offices request that visitors call before traveling to the office; a list of phone numbers is at www.co.grant.wi.gov.

• The Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program needs healthy volunteers to help box food in food pantries in Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette and Richland counties. Contact information is available at www.swcap.org/covid19.html.

MARCH 25 UPDATES:

• Wisconsin is now up to 585 COVID-19 cases, up from 457 Tuesday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Iowa County now has three reported cases, and Grant County and Green County have one each. Six people have died.

Platteville police and the Lafayette County Sheriff's Office wrote Facebook posts that say they will not be randomly pulling over drivers in the wake of the Safer at Home order that took effect today at 8 a.m.

MARCH 24 UPDATES:

• The Grant County Health Department reports the county's first COVID-19 case, a person in their 20s probably exposed to a traveler who tested positive. The person is home under isolation and not being hospitalized, according to GCHD. People should monitor their own health for measured temperature more than 100, new or worsening cough, new or worsening shortness of breath, sore throat and body aches.

• Wisconsin is now up to 457 COVID-19 cases, up from 413 Monday, according to the state Department of Health Services. One case in Green County and one case reported by Iowa County.

• Iowa County reported its first coronavirus case, a 26-year-old woman who recently had been in Dane County. She is at home and not hospitalized. She had no known contact with a COVID-19 carrier, according to health officials.

• Tonight's 7 p.m. Platteville Common Council meeting will be streamed via Zoom. To get on the webcast, go to Join Zoom Meeting, https://zoom.us/j/4031107818 — the meeting ID is 403 110 7818. To conference in via phone, call 1-312-626-6799 or 1-253-215-8782.

MARCH 23 UPDATES:

• Gov. Tony Evers issued what he called a statewide "Safer-at-Home" order to start sometime after the order is issued, which is expected Tuesday.

• Wisconsin is now up to 416 COVID-19 cases, up from 381 Sunday, according to the state Department of Health Services. Still no cases in Grant, Lafayette, Iowa, Richland or Crawford counties so far.

• From the CDC:

Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include people aged 65 years and older, and people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.

Other high-risk conditions could include people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; people who have heart disease with complications; people who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment; and people of any age with severe obesity (body mass index of more than 40 or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk. People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk. Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.

• Absentee voting begins today for the April 7 general election. Details on getting absentee ballots are available from county or municipal clerks and from myvote.wi.gov. 

• The state Department of Workforce Development announced that those filing for unemployment compensation need not "conduct at least four weekly work search actions" during the state health emergency, retroactive to March 12. 

• The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the state Supreme Court ordered that all in-person court hearings, including trials, be suspended through May 22. The Supreme Court order also requires hearings by email, teleconference and video conferencing through at least April 30. The Supreme Court's order supersedes county circuit order.

MARCH 22 UPDATES:

• From the state Department of Health Services: Wisconsin now up to 381 COVID-19 cases, including one in Green County, up from 281 Saturday. The closest of Illinois’ 1,049 cases is in Winnebago County. One of Iowa’s 44 cases is in Dubuque County, and Allamakee County has two cases.

• Gov. Tony Evers directed the Department of Public Instruction to suspend administrative rules on student hours of instruction, and assessments for student–teachers. The order also suspends the deadline to apply for open enrollment under the state public school choice law.

• A new executive order from the state Public Service Commission prohibits utilities from disconnections for nonpayment for all customers, including residential, commercial, industrial and farm customers. The order also prohibits assessing late fees, requiring deposits to reconnect services, and authorizes water utilities to institute budget billing, as electric and natural gas companies now are able to do.

MARCH 21 UPDATES:

• The state Department of Revenue announced that the state income tax filing and payment deadline has moved from April 15 to July 15, same as the new federal deadline.

• From the state Department of Health Services: Wisconsin now up to 281coronavirus cases, including one in Green County, up from 206 Friday. The closest of Illinois’ 585 cases is in Winnebago County. One of Iowa’s 44 cases is in Dubuque County.

MARCH 20 UPDATES:

• Update from Grant County: The Health Department, Register of Deeds and Social Services offices are open, but county residents are asked to do as much online as possible and call before visiting the office. The ADRC office has "restricted" entry. The Veterans Service Office will not take in-person office visits. Home-delivered meals will continue "until further notice," as the meal sites are closed. COVID-19 testing is "currently not recommended for people with mild, upper respiratory symptoms, or those with mild illnesses for which they would not normally seek medical care.  It is recommended that residents self-isolate at home until symptoms improve." Voters are recommended to get an absentee ballot by mail; go to https://myvotewi.gov.

• Gov. Tony Evers ordered the Department of Health Services to "issue updates" on the mass-gatherings order of earlier this week. The updated order treats restaurants and bars the same; bars may now sell food and alcohol by carryout "if allowed by local ordinances and state law." Laundromats, financial institutions, "all parts of the food delivery system," "allied health professions," "all parts of our transportation system," and facilities used for polling locations except for long-term-care and assisted-living facilities may remain open. Hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, "body art establishments" and tanning facilities are ordered closed as of today at 5 p.m. The order also says that "Media and news organizations can remain open to provide the public with vital information."

• From the state Department of Health Services: Wisconsin now up to 206 coronavirus cases, including the first in Green County, up from 155 Thursday. The closest of Illinois’ 585 cases is in Winnebago County. One of Iowa’s 44 cases is in Dubuque County.

• Sinsinawa Mound announced it is closed to the public, and all events are canceled through at least April 15.

• Information from county health departments on COVID-19 can be found by clicking on the links for Grant County, Lafayette County, Iowa County, Green CountyVernon County, Crawford County and Richland County.

• The Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing deadline has been extended from April 15 to July 15. There will be no interest or penalties assessed against taxpayers before July 15.

• Dubuque police posted this on its Facebook page today about the report of a positive test in Dubuque yesterday. It begins with: "No, the National Guard is not coming here to quarantine the city; No, the bridges aren’t being closed to Wisconsin and Illinois; and YES the ridiculous rumors do more harm than good."

MARCH 19 UPDATES:

• According to the City of Dubuque Government Facebook page "A case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Dubuque County. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health the individual is self-isolating at home."

• According to the state Department of Natural Resources state parks and trails are open to the public, with a voluntary entrance fee. More at https://dnr.wi.gov/news/Releases/Article/?id=5067&fbclid=IwAR2NkpgnILagN5_dFr1W_0MAYIFy6EG8Urq8vzxd_Vk1lh3agKBhmHcol3g.

• Food pantry distributions in the Platteville School District:

Platteville Food Pantry, Lutheran Church of Peace, 1345 N. Water St.: Today 5:30–7 p.m. (only for Platteville School District residents)
VFW, 110 E. Mineral St.: Friday 9:30 a.m.
The April Ruby's Pantry distribution (usually at Platteville United Methodist Church) has been canceled.

• As of Thursday afternoon Wisconsin had 155 cases, none in this area.

• The Second Harvest Food Pantry at the VFW in Platteville will take place Friday at 9:30 a.m. Patrons are asked to stay in their vehicles and drive northbound on North Second Street to receive food. Patrons are asked to clear their vehicles for loading on the passenger side. Those who walk to the food pantry will not have assistance with putting food into their personal carts. Distribution is expected to go quickly.

• The City of Platteville has declared a state of emergency for the next 30 days. The declaration by Common Council President Barb Daus will be ratified at Tuesday's council meeting.

• UW–Platteville announced that face-to-face instruction will be suspended for the rest of the spring semester. Classes in "alternative delivery" will take place March 30–April 9 and, after the April break, April 14–May 22. Students now in the residence halls will receive an email on further instructions.

MARCH 18 UPDATES:

• The City of Platteville announced the Municipal Building is closing as of 5 p.m., though the city will continue to provide services. 

• Grant County announced the courthouse in Lancaster is open, but "non-essential court functions will be postponed" and "personal court appearances will be limited." Requests for alternate forms of appearance, including by phone, "are being considered for many hearings at this time."

• The state Department of Transportation announced that all Division of Motor Vehicles Services Centers will be closed Friday. When they reopen Monday, in-person services will be limited to new drivers' licenses and ID cards by appointment only; other services are available at wisconsindmv.gov/DLGuide. The DOT also said that any driver's licenses, including CDL licenses, that expire during the state health emergency will automatically be renewed for 60 days. All driver's license tests are canceled until further notice.

• A news release from the state Department of Revenue says that all AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites and most IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites have shut down. Phone numbers for AARP are 1-866-227-7669 and for VITA 1-800-906-9887.

• UW–Platteville announced that "employees are directed to communicate personal travel plans to their supervisor. It is strongly recommended that employees postpone or cancel personal travel outside of Wisconsin. This includes both International travel and domestic travel to states where CDC deems there is sustained community transmission. In order to reduce and mitigate any potential exposure to the campus communities, if a student, faculty or staff member travels to an area that is outside the local area and/or attends a large public event (updated per Governor Evers's Emergency Order #5 on March 17, 2020 prohibited mass gatherings of 10 people of more), the university is asking that person to remain off campus for a period of 14 days for the safety of students, faculty and staff."

• The Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program said its food pantries in Arena, Boscobel, Darlington, Dodgeville, Hazel Green and Monroe are remaining open. More information is available at www.swcap.org/covid19.html.

• The Wisconsin Bankers Association has created two interactive maps showing the bank lobbies and drive-throughs in the state that are currently open and available to customers. The online interactive maps can be accessed by visiting the WBA website

• Iowa County announced that it is asking people with business with county offices to do as much as possible by phone and email. Iowa County Public Health advises to "stay informed with reliable sources of information, take everyday actions to protect yourself and those you love, and share accurate information with neighbors, friends and co-workers, especially people who may have difficulty receiving or understanding the information."

MARCH 17 UPDATES:

• Gov. Tony Evers directed the Department of Health Services to ban as of 5 p.m. "all public and private mass gatherings" of 10 or more people. Schools will be closed "for the duration of the emergency." Exceptions include transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military facilities, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, office spaces, manufacturing facilities, job centers and courts. Bars and restaurants can only offer take-out or delivery. The penalty for violation of the order is up to 30 days in jail and $500 fine. The proclamation can be read here.