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State leaders say Wisconsin needs to ‘double down’ on social distancing, face coverings

NOW: State leaders say Wisconsin needs to ‘double down’ on social distancing, face coverings

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – State leaders say the recent surge in COVID-19 cases is pushing Wisconsin in the wrong direction.

The Department of Health Services reported 964 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, the fourth time in the last week that the state has broken a single-day record of newly reported cases. The death toll has climbed to 826.

“These numbers are not the result of more testing,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said in a media briefing. “These numbers are the result of significant community spread here in Wisconsin. What does that mean? It means we need to double down on protecting our families and our communities.”

Palm and Governor Evers emphasized the importance of social distancing and face coverings to slow the spread of the virus.

Still, the recent surge prompted the state of New York to add Wisconsin to a list of states that require travelers from those states to quarantine for 14 days if they visit New York.

Evers says he doesn’t see Wisconsin replicating New York’s action because it would be difficult to enforce.

“I don’t anticipate having one of those dealing with that issue,” Evers said. “My goal is to get off of New York’s [list].”

The surge in cases also highlights how the state is facing the difficult task of beginning the academic year for schools and colleges amid the pandemic.

“I would be prepared to send your children to school,” Evers said addressing the uncertainty faced by parents.

Evers added that a recent call with Vice President Mike Pence and other officials, the Trump administration signaled the next round of federal funding will include a portion for schools.

“[That round] would likely have money for schools to deal with the issues they need to deal with as they get ready for the next school year,” Evers told reporters.

Congress returns from recess next week.

The governor also called an Assembly GOP proposal to use some CARES Act funding as direct payments or a bridge loan to people who are still waiting for unemployment benefits a, “political stunt.”

That comment drew criticism from Republicans who have railed against the Evers administration and Department of Workforce Development’s handling of unemployment benefits distribution.

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