Today, the Wisconsin Governor declared a state of emergency in connection with the growing number of COVID-19 cases – and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor announced that face-to-face classes would resume on September 26 after a two-week lockdown.
Governor Tony Evers also issued an executive order extending the requirement to wear face masks in enclosed outdoor areas such as taxis and outdoor restaurants. The order is effective through November 21st and carries a maximum fine of $ 200 for offenders.
If necessary, the National Guard could be called in to help the state's 7 emergency regions coordinate response and care at all test sites in the community. All have many colleges and universities: few have 5, most 40.
As of this writing, Wisconsin ranks second in terms of its rate of spread, which is the number of people infected by one infected person. Wyoming has the first place.
However, the rate of spread is not the number of cases. In his executive order, Governor Evers said Wisconsin had suffered 102,498 cases of COVID-19 with 6,692 hospitalizations. There were 1,244 COVID-19 deaths as of September 21. More than 4,500 people tested positive on September 17th and 18th alone. According to Governor Evers, the 18- to 24-year-old age group has five times the fall rate of all other age groups.
The governor has received a backlash on his mandates but stressed that these measures are necessary to contain the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Governor Evers appealed to college students to take COVID-19 seriously and limit their social encounters. He asked young people to stay home and wear masks when going out. Of the 8 hardest hit cities in Wisconsin, 6 have University of Wisconsin campuses.
Earlier this week, Medical Daily discussed why students are so hard to reach for these health and safety measures.
Amanda Gilmore, PhD, at Georgia State University's School of Public Health, suggests this is a difficult time for young adults. The part of the brain that is used to make complex decisions is not fully developed and children just want to connect and adapt with their peers.
"College students are just in a difficult position" as they try to be social during a pandemic. The frontal cortex does not mature until around 25 years of age. Telling young adults "not engaging in behavior because it is bad for them just doesn't work".
Chancellor Rebecca Blank attributed the reduction in the number of positive cases to the two-week interruption in personal lessons. The school said strict adherence to public health measures is required as personal activities are carried out gradually. Some removed classes continue. Any increase in positive cases would lead to mitigating measures. The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal reported that on September 23, the average 7-day student rate on campus was 5.7%. A week earlier, the rate was 9.6%.
Yvonne Stolworthy MSN, RN graduated from nursing school in 1984 and has had a varied career. Many years have been spent in intensive care. She has been an educator in a variety of settings including clinical trials. She is currently applying her nursing knowledge to health journalism.