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Evers requests federal disaster declaration for Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers asked President Donald Trump on Tuesday to issue a major disaster declaration for Wisconsin due to the coronavirus pandemic, as the state opened voluntary isolation centers, unemployment claims hit a daily high and the state’s health secretary warned that Medicaid enrollments were going to skyrocket.

Evers said he hoped the emergency declaration, which also would cover Wisconsin’s federally recognized tribes, would allow the states to access critical programs to support its response, including community disaster loans, public assistance, direct assistance and crisis counseling.

“The response to this outbreak has caused multiple deaths, exhausted many of our resources, resulted in record unemployment claims, and taken a toll on the community infrastructure that is in place to protect the public,” Evers said. “We need federal assistance to help rebuild those critical safety nets and ensure they remain strong.”

Evers on Tuesday also announced that voluntary isolation centers would be opening Wednesday in Milwaukee and Madison. The centers will house people confirmed to have the virus or who are showing symptoms and want to isolate themselves. They would need a referral from a doctor or public health official to be admitted.

The move was made to take pressure off of hospitals when a surge in patients comes, said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

As of Tuesday, Wisconsin had had more than 1,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 25 deaths, based on state and local health department reports.

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