Wisconsin governor confirms state’s first 2 COVID-19 deaths

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) have confirmed the state’s first two deaths due to COVID-19.

In the announcement Thursday, DHS said the first death was a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County. The second death was a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County. It’s unclear if they had any underlying health issues.

"Our hearts go out to all the loved ones affected by these deaths, and to all those suffering from this virus," Evers said. "We are committed to fighting the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and I want to recognize the hard work and bravery of our nurses, doctors, state health officials, and all those on the front lines in the effort to save lives. Together we will get through this historic health challenge."

Earlier Thursday, the state had announced its total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 155. Wisconsin has also been in a state of emergency since Gov. Evers’ declaration on March 12.

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"We are very saddened by the death of these individuals and my heart goes out to the family, community, health providers and public health officials," said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. "We are working nonstop with medical staff across the state to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help protect the health and safety of Wisconsinites."

DHS said the state, like many others, is forced to prioritize testing for the virus because of a shortage of testing supplies.

Health officials urge the public to follow the steps below to help avoid spreading the virus:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Staying home when able.
  • Avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Practicing social distancing.