Coronavirus Wisconsin Today: Trump WI rallies canceled after positive COVID-19 test; county health leader quitting over virus handling

Wisconsin reported 1,865 new coronavirus cases, with 5 additional deaths Sunday. The state set a new record for COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday with 27.

Wisconsin hospital officials report they’re close to being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, forcing doctors to transfer patients to other facilities and build waiting lists. State health officials also reported a total of 7,646 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized as of Sunday.

Over the course of the pandemic, 132,663 people have tested positive for the coronavirus. About 81% of those people have recovered, while over 24,000 have active infections and 1,377 have died.

A county health official in Wisconsin says he’s frustrated with the lack of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and is quitting.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Sauk County Health Officer Tim Lawther said in a resignation letter that the virus is being turned into “a political tool.”

The letter, dated Sept. 14, says Lawther plans to step down on Oct. 14. Sauk County Board Chair Tim McCumber says Lawther’s handling of the pandemic response was likely off putting to some due to his personality.

McCumber says another problem was the size of the Sauk County Board of Supervisors, a group of people with varying viewpoints, and it was difficult to reach a unanimous consensus.

President Donald Trump’s planned Wisconsin rallies have been canceled after he and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19, while the state has decided to allow outside healthcare workers in to help amid a surge in virus cases.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued a new executive order, allowing licensed healthcare professionals from out-of-state to help care for local COVID-19 patients.

Wisconsin senator at least 3rd to say positive for virus

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he tested positive for the coronavirus. Johnson’s office announced the diagnosis in a statement Saturday morning.

He’s the third Republican senator to report a positive test this week, joining Utah Sen. Mike Lee and North Carolina Sen.

Thom Tillis and adding to tension in Washington since President Donald Trump announced his positive test Friday. Johnson self-quarantined in Wisconsin for two weeks last month after he was exposed to someone with COVID-19 but says he tested negative during that period.

He returned to Washington on Tuesday and says he was exposed soon after that to someone else who tested positive. Johnson says he was tested Friday afternoon after learning of the exposure and tested positive.

Wisconsin among several states added back on Chicago’s emergency travel order

Evers is urging people throughout Wisconsin to “get on the same team” and take steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as cases continue to soar at the state’s highest levels since the pandemic began.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, said Tuesday that the state is in “crisis.”

Health officials said late teens and early 20s are the fastest growing demographic for COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin health officials said the state has few restrictions since a state Supreme Court ruling this spring struck down the state’s stay-at-home order and allowed businesses to open up at full capacity.

There are few restrictions in place in Wisconsin other than a mandate for wearing masks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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