tv Wisconsin Gov. Evers Holds Coronavirus Briefing CSPAN May 15, 2020 9:20am-10:01am EDT
experiences. >> c-span has unfiltered coverage of the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. white house briefings, updates from governors and congress and our daily call-in program washington journal hearing your thoughts about the coronavirus crisis. if you missed any of our coverage watch anytime on demand at c-span.org/coronavir c-span.org/coronavirus. >> wisconsin governor tony evers briefed reporters on the coronavirus pandemic one day after the state supreme court struck down his stay-at-home order. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> good afternoon, everybody, and thanks so much for joining us today. because of the good work you've been doing throughout this crisis to stay home as much as
possible, practice good hygiene and social distancing and wear a face mask in public if you're able to. wisconsin was in a pretty good place in our battle against covid-19. we had reached all of our gating criteria. on monday we opened up 14,000 small businesses across the state. putting potentially 90,000 folks back to work in that industry. despite that good work by wisconsinites across our state who banded together, stayed home and stayed safe, republican legislators have convinced four of our supreme court justices to throw our state into chaos. we awe is already last night when the tavern league of wisconsin urged its members to open back up and people flooded to bars across the state. instead of a comprehensive statewide approach to keep people safe we're seeing municipalities around the state chart their own course. that means you might have to follow a different set of rules
than your neighbors across the street. and if you own businesses in multiple locations or have employees who live in a different community than the one they work in, things are going to get very confusing, very fast. even with all of these chaos, we cannot let the court's ruling undo all the work we have done and all the sacrifices wisconsinites have made during the past few months. we need everybody to continue doing their part to keep our families, our neighbors and our communities safe by continuing the safer at home, wear a mask in public if you can, practice social distancing and limit travel, because folks, the supreme court may have changed the rules for how we operate, but it sure the heck didn't change how viruses operate. this virus has killed more than 400 of our family members, friends, and neighbors and thousands more across our state are sick. because of the court's decision, many more people could get sick and overwhelm
our hospitals, but not if we stay the course and stay home. if you do not feel safe leaving the house, you should stay home. if you feel safe enough to go out to a store or a restaurant, but experience crowds or unsafe conditions that make you feel uncomfortable, you should go home. just because republicans have said it can be a free-for-all, that doesn't mean we have to though out good judgment, throw that good judgment out the window. i have already heard from a number of individuals and businesses, who said they plan on continuing staying at home. i'd like to read one message i received from a constituent lacrosse who says this, as for me and my household, we will continue to abide by the guidelines your office set, even if they are no longer required by executive order. while i miss going to church, i can still exercise my freedom of religion by practicing it faithfully at home. while i miss sitting down in a
restaurant, i still have the freedom to enjoy my favorite restaurant food from carry out options and while i love to shop at secondhand stores, i can do so with on-line options or five people in the stores. you didn't take away any of my freedoms and you helped protect them because of the good work and freedoms, if you're not alive and healthy to enjoy them, they mean nothing. i heard from dozens of folks, librarians, fed ex-drivers, grocery store workers, cancer survivors like myself, business owners people from all over the state who support our efforts to stay safer at home and are hoping that you will continue to stay at home, also. their lives depend on it. now, it is more important than ever to make sure we are focused on keeping everybody safe, especially that we consider those who are most
exposed and vulnerable when we take decisions. we remain concerned and are working hard to keep people safe in our care, such as our health care facilities and correctional facilities. even though we understand how difficult it is right now for those individuals, and their families, at this time we do not have any diagnosed cases of covid-19 at our wisconsin veterans homes, which we attribute to the good practices we had in place and protocols we added very early on. while safer at home order is no longer in effect, in the interest of the health and welfare of our members and staffs our wisconsin veterans homes will continue to follow the guidance for the centers for disease control for our long-term care facilities and nursing homes by limiting visitation. i know that other long-term care providers are making the same kind of considerations. this pandemic hasn't gone away
and the threat to frail older adults remains real and potentially dangerous. the department of health services and the provider community are working hard to develop options and strategies to allow visitations to safely occur under certain circumstances and conditions. we all want visitations to occur and open up, but we don't want to thoughtlessly threaten the lives of older adults. i know that folks are eager to visit their loved ones and i understand that. i appreciate your patience and understanding as we all try and make sense of the situation and find solutions that will keep your loved ones safe. we also need to be diligent in our effort to keep our workers safe. wedc has a comprehensive set of guidelines that we developed in consultation with dhs and i strongly urge every business to implement these best practices to ensure the safety of every
workplace in other community. both customers and workers need to be confident in their safety so we need everyone to be diligent in following best safety practices so that we can continue to move our state forward while keeping our neighbors, families, and communities safe and healthy. regardless of the political overtones of the supreme court decision, we still know what we need to do. as i said before, the virus hasn't changed and neither has the science. we will continue with our testing and contact tracing efforts around the state and we'll continue to ensure our critical workers have the equivalent they need to do their jobs safely. i urge anyone who needs a test to go get tested at one of our community testing sites and help protect your community and family from this virus. let's stay the course, wisconsin. i know we're up to this challenge. and now, before secretary d
designee andrea palm gives her updates i'd like you to hear from one of the workers on the front line, laura anderson. laura? >> my name is laura anderson and i'm a family and women's health practitioners in beloit. we're one of 18 healthcare services in wisconsin providing health care to services who need them the most. our doors are open for whatever. families, children, farm workers, the homeless and those who are uninsured, on medicaid, or who have private insurance. we are usually located in the heart of a medically underserved and vulnerable community. prior to and during the covid crisis, we have offered comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health services. we provide innovative care that
reaches beyond the walls of traditional medicine and we address the social determination of health, things that i cannot possibly prescribe for like food, shelter, and these are very real issues. due to efforts of experience of passionate staff, they have resources, including social workers, interpreters, free diabetic health education, assistance programs and hiv clinic and case management through a partnership with uw health. historically, community health services has adapted quickly during the health crisis, the hiv pandemic, sars, h1n1 and today is no different. our patient needs have been always first and foremost, they are the reason we are here. we are one of the first to offer telephone and virtual
visits for all three of our service lines, medical, dental, and behavioral health. we provide access to quality care to people who do not require emergency or intensive care. we function as shock absorbers to overwhelmed hospitals. we've been on the forefront of testing services providing to those most in need. including the families affected by the covid-19 virus. according to the national association of community health centers, as of may 1st, community health service centers across the nation have provided over 356,000 tests. among those tested, 59,000 were of racial and/or ethnic minorities, and in that group, 65% have tested positive. we have been effective because of our connection with patients and the relationship with providers. they feel trust coming to a place they know is safe.
we developed and provide culturally appropriate health information. we offer consultation and put fears to rest. as things start to open up, people are worried and asking what they should do. we're here to listen to them and offer sound advice about staying safe. this is what i want you to know most of all, we are all in this together. our health centers are uniquely positioned to address the health disparities that have become glaringly evident during this pandemic. these disparities are overwhelmingly affecting people living in poverty and lack adequate housing or food and including many in our african-american, latino, and asian communities. we provide services that wouldn't be able-- people wouldn't be able to access without us. our staff and our patients are a part of your community and you are a part of ours. thank you.
and i'm turning this back to the department of health services secretary andrea palm. >> thank you. good afternoon, everyone. i am andrea palm, i'm the secretary designee at the wisconsin department of health services, thanks for joining us again today. i share governor evers' disappointment in the supreme court ruling as this decision will hamper our ability to protect the health and safety of wisconsinites and it risks increasing our cases and our deaths. in the face of this reality, i urge you to stick with us, wisconsin and continue to stay safer at home. your commitment to flattening the curve is protecting our health care workers and vulnerable neighbors and the capacity of our health care system more broadly. there's more work to do. yesterday's ruling changes nothing about the science of this virus or the work we need to continue to do together to safely reopen wisconsin. and that work, and that is work that we have been doing
together since we began our state wide response in early march. you can see our progress in the green gating criteria on our dashboard. and as we've talked about, while you've been staying at home we've been working up our contact tracing infrastructure to be able to detect positive cases quickly and help stop the disease from spreading further. bye covid-19 remains highly infectious and this is why our badger bounce back plan offers a gradual reopening through three phases, including interaction between and among wisconsinites in a way that will help us prevent the spreads of the disease, minimize the risk of a surge that would overwhelm our health care system. physical distancing in in phased approach, along the aggressive testing and contact tracing will help protect the health and safety of
wisconsinites, until there is an effective vaccine. what we have done so far together is working. dhs and our partners in the statewide response will continue to do the work helping to protect the safety against the virus and safely reopen wisconsin. i am asking all wisconsinites to continue to do it with us. here is where things stand today. we've got 52 active labs running covid-19 tests in wisconsin with a daily lab capacity 13,372 tests, 1,22, 598 negative tests, an increase of tests over yesterday. there are now 11,275 confirmed cases of covid-19 here in wisconsin which is an increase of 373 over yesterday. our total deaths have now reached 434. we currently have a total of
299 facility-wide public health investigations and now i'll take your questions. >> thank you. >> reminder to maintain audio quality to keep your phones on mute until it's time to ask a question. and the need to wrap up by 3shg 3:00, please only one question per reporter. scott bower from associated press. scott. >> hi, thank you again for taking this call. governor, i wanted to get your reaction to speaker saying it might be okay not to have a statewide plan and leave it up to local governments to decide what the policy should be and i'm wondering what the doctor thinks about that with the ramifications. >> that was part of our conversation today. i felt both leaders felt very comfortable with the idea that--
and they were unconcerned about what i believe will be massive confusion that will exist without a statewide approach. apparently they believe that different rules are okay. so i -- i can't imagine another state that's in this predicament, where essentially mile by mile there may be different rules across all of the state of wisconsin. so disappointed in that, surprised in that, that was part of an m-o right from the beginning, but i do see some contradiction here and that is, i remember receiving a letter shortly after the may-- it was dated may 1st, i don't know when i received it, but it's from the speaker vos and some of his colleagues and they made it clear to me that they were interested in a gradual and safe reowning of the state.
apparently between that at that time and when the supreme court made their decision, they decided that that wasn't what they wanted to do. i think it's a mistake, but the court decided and they're the court of the land. at least four court members decided. >> thank you, scott. now to mark leland from wluk-tv in green bay. mark. >> yeah, thank you very much. republicans-- let me ask this. how many counties have enacted their own continuance of your stay-at-home order? are you reaching out to those that haven't yet and are those legal? a lot of people are questioning if they're legal if the state order was not. >> i can answer that for the governor. i think last i checked, there were at least five or six counties that had enacted their own order, that suspect based on the amount of interest that
we've heard from local public health officers that there's going to be more counties and more municipalities that will be doing so. in terms of the legality, the public health officers have very broad authority under state laws. while legislative republicans and their allies on the supreme court overturned the state's effort to do so on highly technical rule making grounds. those same requirements to rule making doesn't apply to health officers so there isn't is connect between the state's supreme court decision and what the health officers are doing. we'll see a patch work across the state and that's authorized unt state law. >> thanks, go ahead. >> this is brian.
and following up on local public health. to that first question i'd say it's not necessarily a weakness or a bad thing for control of public health to be-- for those decisions to be set at the local level. in fact, we rely on local public health as the leading edge of our statewide response and all things to communicable diseases. in principle that's a good solution, the limitation is that the resources required to contain this at the local level so quickly outstripped our abilities to do things locally that needed to be done. where was as the -- they're -- this unfolded so quickly we needed a statewide response and as we're trying to build our next generation public health system for the neck ye next yea, we need to coordinate the at
the state level and builds up low public health that wasn't there before. the resources that the public health needs to respond to this epidemic is going to be here for the next year or two. for us to have a statewide response trying to mitigate on a statewide level was critical in our opinion, number one make sure there's uniformity in our response and number two, time to build the resources locally that we need to contain local epidemics and prevent them from becoming large generallylized epidemi epidemi epidemics. they need to do that in a scale that hasn't been done in our lifetimes. and that's why the state is such an important resource and support. >> thank you, mark. now to mays dowling from aowtv in wausau. mason?
>> hi, thank you for taking this call. our question was this, we've had several business owners in the wausau area make a facebook post or e-mail, something along those lines, saying they're trying to figure out how best to implement their businesses, but concerned because their employees are currently making more money off of unemployment than they would have been while working. is the state doing anything to address the unemployment disparate? >> well, the level of workers are-- unemployment insurance is determined by in great part by the state -- by the federal government. so frankly, there's not much we can do as a state, especially now that we have no authority over this issue to do anything about lowering someone's workers -- workers, or unemployment insurance. frankly, i think that that would be a very unpopular thing and so, even if we did have
that authority, i would know the support it. >> thank you, mason. now to rich cramer from wisconsin public radio. rich. >> and a reminder, on the phones, rich cramer from wisconsin public radio. >> sorry about that. thanks for taking the question. i'm just wondering since -- it seems that the court order allows dhs some authority over the public school system. i'm wondering if there's any timeline or dates for when public schools may open? i mean, summer classes, i don't know about that, but at least for this fall? >> we are working along with the state superintendent of schools, carol stanford taylor, lots of groups interested in helping plan that. in fact, two legislatures i was
with today they wanted to have a chance to have that conversation. so it's ongoing, no decision has been made. it's my preference would be that in the k through 12 world that we-- it should be our goal to have school open next fall, but we certainly must have a plan a, b, c, d and e because given the circumstances, we're not sure what things are going to look like this fall. but ongoing discussions are happening. >> thank you, rich. now to jessica van egan from up north news. jessica. >> yes, my question has to do with last night's ruling. i'm wondering what the state and maybe dhs specifically is still able to do to coordinate state wide efforts like dr.
westergard is doing? what are you doing to help build up local health departments? >> thanks. i think it's an important thing that we all need to stay focused on. the virus and the outbreak are the same today as they were yesterday and the work we need to do to defeat this virus and to protect the health and safety of the people of the state remains the same and that is to continue to do the work of building up our testing, our capacity is at a good level, but we still are not using all of those tests on a daily basis. people who need tests need to get tested and we need to continue to do the work for contact tracers. we're ramping that up and starting up next week, it's critical work to help local public health departments across this state, interview every positive case and all of their close contacts to stop the spread as quickly as possible. we continue to do the work of
procuring necessary ppe, that continues to be a struggle for us and states across it country to make sure we have the protective equipment necessary for our frontline health care workers and we'll continue to do the other work that is necessary as part of our statewide response to stop the spread of this disease and it's why we are asking wisconsinites to stick with us, to continue to stay safer at home and do the important work they have been doing to give us the space and time to stand up this infrastructure, which are the tools that we need to stop the spread. because it remains as infectious today as it was yesterday and that means that physical distancing is critical to not resulting in spikes of this disease and services that could overwhelm the health care system, so we've got to do the work that was the same today as it was yesterday. but people need to remember that the virus is still just as infectious and kerik la--
circulating widely in prubl, and without staying at home, encouraging the spread of this disease. so we're encouraging wiis wi wisconsinite the to stay at home ap stop the spread. >> and now came from green bay. i'm looking for discussions with republicans today. who did you speak with, when did you speak with them. for how long, are is there any way that the badger bounce back survives these talks? >> several questions and i couldn't tell you the exact time. i wasn't keeping track. i talked to-- on the phone with me today was speaker vos and majority leader fitzgerald. some staff members, and some
staff members with me. we didn't, unlike the promise that was made in the supreme court case that there was a plan, didn't hear anything about that. and it was obvious to me, through the conversations, that the majority leadership was pretty much unconcerned about the confusion that having multiple counties and municipalities having different rules and regulations, they're pretty okay with that, they can speak to that. it was a respectful conversation and as i said before, there didn't seem to be any interest in having gradual and safe reopening, that was suggested to me in a letter not too long ago. with that said we talk about the possibility of an administrative rule which will take a long time, unlike what
was stated in the court case. it's going to be 14, 14 days minimum and we talked about some possible things to have in that-- in that process. so, nothing -- no fireworks, just making clear that they were very pleased with the results and they were okay with having confusion, and it was a respectful conversation and we'll probably meet again next week. >> thank you. camie. >> and now emily from madison. >> governor, do you still plan to introduce a new statewide plan with republican leaders, even though they seem to be leaning towards a county by county approach? also speaker vos says he wants to move quickly on new rules for businesses to follow. did you discuss what those might be? >> they seemed to be indicating, i can v i believe in this country or their public
statements, that they're pleased with the wedc's work in this area, but, no, the supreme court made it clear. this is not our gig. what we are going to continue to be focused on is making sure that we have contact tracing and massive testing to make sure that we have equipment for those front line workers, and that we attack and dof any surge that will happen because of this discussion by-- or decision by the state supreme court. >> thank you, emily. riley from the wisconsin state journal. riley. >> thanks for taking my call. governor could you describe describe what the starting point is for negotiations for republicans. in other words, what are the bare minimum you're willing to accept and republicans are
willing to anticipate and in the commercial world, that will be promulgated. >> we made no decision on that. >> thank you, riley. >> now to gwen gunther from the wheeler report. gwen. >> governor, can you say what you plan to advise state employees to do? and do you stand to make any changes to what you're doing right now with the state parks or the opening or closing of the state capital? >> state parks, we are-- we've opened them up so i don't see any changes there. i haven't had a chance to talk to the secretary in a couple of days about that, but things seem to be working out just fine. as far as state employees, we're continuing with as many opportunities for people to work at home as possible and of course, a lot of them are busy figuring how to make cuts in
their operation costs and so that's tough work and they're busy doing that. and also, frankly, the-- all of our agencies are doing yeoman's work in making sure that the people of business business are kept safe no matter what venue they-- they're in. so it's -- the state capital building remains closed for the time being. >> thank you. glenn. now to wisn-tv in milwaukee. wisn. >> hi, governor. >> hi. >> governor, this is ted. listen, just a quick question for you, kind of your opinion on this. the republican lawmakers say that we need to trust our business owners to reopen responsibly and safer and to assure that their customers are physically distancing. but you had that a matter of
dints of the court ruling. do you think that wisconsin remains a state without a state wide plan? >> i think it's going to be very difficult. i mean, clearly there wasn't any physical distancing going on at -- from what i saw in those pictures, but you know, i wasn't there, so i guess i can't make a final decision, but if you're not -- if you're not doing the basics, of course there's going to be increased numbers. there's very few certainties in this world of covid-19, but this one is certain. the moore-- the more people you put in a small space, the greater the chances you'll get the disease. if they don't do that and create physically stanced from each other, it's going to be a
problem. >> okay, ken, now from nbc in green bay. jonathan. >> yes, the governor mentioned that as part of his first statement in terms of the context of the veterans homes in the state. it was my understanding that the center or medicare and medicaid services and c.d.c. issued the nursing home visitation restriction for the long-term care facilities. outside of any county or municipal order that was just recently created in response to the supreme court's decision. is there anything else the state can identify that people can't do now despite the safer at home movement overturn? >> as it relates to long-term ca care? >> i mean, just across the board. is there anything that is off limits now above and beyond
that the long care, novistation? >>-- no visitation? >> i think i can answer that, the governor mentioned, with the supreme court decision and legislative republicans suing over this and not having a plan b. it does take away the statewide approach. there are going to be limited situations in which, like whether it's long-term facilities like you mentioned where there are other regulations in place, whether on the federal level or state devil, but one of the challenges here with there being no plan b in place being offered by the republican leadership, it's creating this patch work approach so you're going to see different regulations and rules that place in dane county versus marathon county versus brown county. so people are going to have to be cognizant which local public
overseas and what is their area. with that i think the administration is going to move forward regardless from the decision of the court yesterday to make sure that people have best practices and west guidance and we'll look at what tools we have available. unfortunately, with the court's decision and lack of a backup plan on the other side, it creates what we're in now. >> thank you. and now from wfrb in green bay, addie. >> thank you for my question. i notice that our testing capacity within the state within the last has gone down recently. i was just wondering if you could explain why is that and how quickly that capacity could be increased if it was needed. >> owe, addie, i assume you're
talking about the fact that we dropped from 13,800ish down to about 13,200, 200 and change. when i talked to the folks this morning, it sounds like we have a couple of labs that are experiencing some reagency shortage and that is reflected in the decrease of 7, 800 tests on a daily basis because as you know, we track those things coast ll lly -- closely with our lab partners and those can fluctuate depending on the status of supplies and in each of the labs participating with us. >> thank you, addie. >> now, to steve pressguard, steve. >> thanks for taking my question and this is a question for the governor.
i'm wondering if in the law that the state supreme court has basically negated safer home, if you now believe that you should have taken a different approach to this, such as going through the rules making process from the start, even if it would take a couple of weeks at the start or having a different plan possibly in mind to work with the legislature to enact, if the order was, in fact, negated as happened yesterday. >> well, no, i don't have any regrets for what we did. we -- in a short four, five week span we have created a system where we have-- we have major -- in a major way changed the face of public health in the state of
wisconsin. we have massive testing going on. we're getting to a place now where contact tracing is going to give us a chance to really corral this, we have the issue of equipment. we might still be going through the rule making process if we'd done that. and frankly, that's assuming that the decision that they made was an accurate one. and it was not. t they made things up on a whole cloth and cut sentences out of the legislation to meet their needs. it was a wrong decision so we did the right thing, i suggest those four justices did the wrong thing and that's why we're in this position today. >> thank you, steve. now to emily davies from wsawtv
in wausau. emily. >> thank you for taking my call. i just wanted to kind of clarify and don't want to make essentials based off the previous questions similar to this. but quarter firms dhs and the governor's office can act on this. what items from the governor's office or dhs are still in place that both authorities have to tackle this pandemic. >> sure, i can answer that question. in terms of the orders issued by the governor solely, one of the things that those were tied to the public health emergency which the legislature refused to extend. in addition to impacting some of the orders in act 185 was the covid pandemic, they looked at 185 to the public health
emergency which occurred on may 12thment a number of provisions expired. in terms of orders issued under the secretary's authority, the court only addressed safer at home and that was the only order at issue. ... provide clarity on the law and they completely avoided that in the situation where they recklessly struck down state at home, didn't provide any stay pretty
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