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COVID-19 | Coronavirus Updates

This page features news reports published by Milwaukee Independent about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the local community.

Editorial Note: In light of the coronavirus health situation affecting Milwaukee and its unknown implications for the future, we will continue publishing daily as a beacon of information and education for the community. We are fortunate to have an adaptive style of journalism and production management system that puts us in a safe and responsible position. As such, we have decided to publish beyond our usual format when timely news and conditions better serve the public interest.

  1. Coronavirus chaos on historic election day creates challenges for Milwaukee voters
  2. Passenger overcrowding forces MCTS to limit 10 riders per bus for health safety beginning April 9
  3. “Moment at the Museum” video series provides online tour of historic exhibit for Milwaukee public
  4. Sofa Cinema: Milwaukee Film launches virtual movie portal for home theaters
  5. Milwaukee Rep brings its creative performances and activities “From Our Home to Your Home”
  6. Democracy or Death: State GOP forces a smash-and-grab election with in-person voting during a pandemic
  7. Entitlement to Govern: How the fog of pandemic offers one more chance for a power grab
  8. Institutional Betrayal: The lasting trauma from playing down the threat of COVID-19 and failing to act
  9. Officials ask Milwaukee consumers to report fraudulent claims related to coronavirus crisis
  10. President Thanos: Trump’s genocidal intentions were foreshadowed in his re-election campaign video
  11. Citizen solders and airmen from Wisconsin National Guard assist with state’s COVID-19 response
  12. State National Guard units are taking the lead in the military’s response to the coronavirus
  13. Unfounded conspiracy theories force Wisconsin National Guard to debunk enforcement rumors
  14. U.S. Navy fires captain of aircraft carrier who sought help for his sailors stricken with COVID-19
  15. News outlets warned for months about the coronavirus but few listened
  16. Life goes on even when it doesn’t: Streaming a funeral “watch party” in the age of coronavirus
  17. Fear of The Walking Dumb: The health of our nation is being decimated by willful ignorance
  18. By The Numbers: Tracking the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic sweeping across Wisconsin
  19. Politics over Humanity: Wisconsin GOP seeks to rig latest election through attrition of urban voters
  20. Milwaukee leaders explore using Wisconsin State Fair grounds as overflow facility for COVID-19 patients
  21. Milwaukee COVID-19 survivor shares personal medical experience via social media to educate others
  22. Regional banks and city leadership plan cooperative efforts to address Milwaukee's economic challenges
  23. Governor Tony Evers calls for special session to delay primary but Lawmakers insist election proceed
  24. Milwaukee faces poll worker shortage for April 7 election amid pandemic complications
  25. Protecting the Democracy: How to ensure safe elections amid the coronavirus pandemic
  26. Reggie Jackson: The next challenge of the COVID-19 fight in Milwaukee
  27. Already a community infected by racial hate, Anti-Asian sentiment hits Milwaukee along with COVID-19
  28. Building Community Bridges to Improve Health Equity in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond
  29. GoFundMe campaign raises funds to buy meals for frontline hospital workers from local restaurants
  30. A crisis within a crisis: COVID-19 disproportionally impacts Milwaukee’s black neighborhoods
  31. Public health concerns push Milwaukee’s 2020 Democratic National Convention to August
  32. Reggie Jackson: Critical lessons we need to learn about COVID-19 from China and Italy
  33. Sorry, some of you have to die: A Conservative Christian plan to save the economy
  34. A wake-up call for humanity: The coronavirus pandemic exposes long ignored failures of our society
  35. Fear of demographic change has increased White Nationalist hate groups 55% in Trump era
  36. State Propaganda: Chinese media outlets hit with stricter rules while Fox churns out disinformation
  37. First week of staying at home: A window of images around Milwaukee for everyone stuck behind walls
  38. A Social Recession: The profound physical and psychological effects from long-term isolation
  39. An ego dripping in blood: Trump’s lies are killing Americans
  40. Obligations to each other: The pursuit of happiness is tied to the collective good
  41. Coronavirus and the Rule of Law: Courts struggle to preserve justice amid catastrophic conditions
  1. Milwaukee’s Holy Week observances canceled as public celebrations convert to at home video streaming
  2. Faith is not a Place: Church is a living body of people who gather in empathy, mercy, love, and justice
  3. St. Francis Seminary to provide shelter for residents with housing instability during COVID-19 crisis
  4. Millions of low-wage workers remain vulnerable to coronavirus due to lack of paid sick leave
  5. Milwaukee Hope: A hometown meme series designed to inspire optimism during the coronavirus crisis
  6. Dear America: I know how scared you are, I’m scared too
  7. Heroes of Hope: How to find healing and happiness when life is surrounded by havoc
  8. A Political Plan B: DNC organizers prepare contingency options for Milwaukee’s July Convention
  9. Coronavirus pours cold water on Olympic flame as Tokyo Games get postponed to 2021
  10. Milwaukee rolls out “drive-up” option for early voting to eliminate risk of COVID-19 exposure
  11. Hey, Milwaukee, you are not on vacation. Take the stay-at-home order seriously
  12. COVID-19 social media campaign launches in Milwaukee with best practices for staying healthy
  13. Coalition of Milwaukee philanthropies partner to coordinate local resources in response to COVID-19
  14. Fleeing the Coronavirus: The dangers for individuals and everyone they encounter along the journey
  15. Milwaukee County seeks donations of Personal Protective Equipment for COVID-19 frontline workers
  16. Medical gear from postponed charitable clinic to distributed first responders statewide
  17. The Great Apprehension: How to help kids relax as the pandemic upends everyday life
  18. The Myth of Youth: How children can be infected with coronavirus and transmit it to others
  19. Jonathan Brostoff: On COVID-19 and Wisconsin’s future “After the Storm”
  20. Reggie Jackson: The impact of racism is the “Other Coronavirus Crisis” for People of Color
  21. How to have a healthy conversation about the coronavirus with someone who is misinformed
  22. Mass transit in a time of need: MCTS to suspend fare collection for bus rides from March 28
  23. Fighting the Coronavirus: Why the U.S. military should deploy as a humanitarian aid force
  24. The Inconvenience of COVID-19: Understanding the shared national sacrifice for a greater good
  25. Kevin Abing: Milwaukee mobilized every resource possible in 1918 to combat the Spanish Flu epidemic
  26. Greatest Pandemic in History: Common misconceptions about the global influenza of 1918
  27. Month-long “Safer at Home” order urges Wisconsin residents to make sacrifices and work together
  28. Masks and the Microbe Menace: A misperception that safety measures shield risky activities from danger
  29. Not a Lockdown: Milwaukee implements “Stay At Home” directive in order to save lives
  30. Safer At Home: Wisconsin orders statewide closure of non-essential businesses to contain COVID-19
  31. Frontline nurses treating coronavirus victims condemn Trump’s racist rhetoric and cruelty
  32. PrideFest 2020 postponement due to COVID-19 foreshadows disruption of summer festival season
  33. Stop Touching Your Face: Changes to habitual behaviors can minimize the spread of COVID-19
  34. Reggie Jackson: The COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the absolute moral corruption of our society
  35. Health Official condemns Senator Ron Johnson’s false equivalency between traffic accidents and COVID-19
  36. The disappointment that comes when a pandemic cancels the freedom to party
  37. Vulnerable Populations: Infection rates and mortality from COVID-19 expected to hit the homeless hard
  38. Connecting without the human touch: How to cope with the side effects of social distancing
  39. Flattening the Curve: How to slow fear from spreading faster than COVID-19
  40. Sorry, We’re Closed: The signs and sights of solitude as Milwaukee digs in to fight COVID-19
  41. Being Positive during a Pandemic: 5 tips for getting through the coronavirus as a better person
  42. COVID-19 Mutual Aid: Confronting coronavirus conditions with community instead of consternation
  43. One of Wisconsin’s first two COVID-19 Deaths confirmed in Ozaukee County
  44. Price of our Pandemic: The bill for MAGA has come due and it is time to pay up
  45. The same people who believed COVID-19 was a hoax should now buy the homeopathic cure forsythia
  46. When plagues followed bad leadership: Greek tragedy of Oedipus Tyrannos is a lesson for Trump on COVID-19
  47. Wisconsin residents reminded to take precautions against COVID-19 scams and price gouging
  48. MCTS encourages riders to limit non-essential bus travel to help prevent spread of COVID-19
  49. The supply and demand of COVID-19: Predicted infection rates would overwhelm Milwaukee hospitals
  50. Wisconsin passengers under coronavirus quarantine aboard Grand Princess cruise ship return home safely
  51. Milwaukee Municipalities issue emergency orders closing bars and restaurants to protect public health
  52. Governor Tony Evers signs statewide order prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 50 People
  53. Teaching amid Coronavirus: What to expect from educational institutions as classes move online
  54. Wisconsin mandates closure of all K-12 Schools until early April to prevent spreading of COVID-19
  55. Closure of school cafeterias due to coronavirus puts poorest children at risk of missing nutritious meals
  56. Stop hoarding the Charmin: Why people are panic buying toilet paper when there is an abundant supply
  57. The social burden of Consumerism: Shopping carts are not overflowing with compassion
  58. Social Distancing: Think of it as “Elbow Room” for your health in the age of contagious pathogens
  59. City’s Health Department urges Milwaukee residents to avoid non-essential travel
  60. Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office outlines COVID-19 protocols for protecting individuals in custody
  61. Coronavirus Hits Home: Milwaukee confirms first case of COVID-19 within the city
  62. Impact of COVID-19 sinks in for Milwaukee Bucks fans after NBA suspends remainder of season
  63. Governor Tony Evers declares public health emergency for Wisconsin in response to COVID-19
  64. A cauldron for infectious disease: Spread of COVID-19 inevitable in overcrowded ICE detention centers
  65. From SARS to Avian Influenza: A witness to history reflects on the first epidemics of the 21st-century
  66. Public health officials face challenges in distinguishing COVID-19 from seasonal influenza
  67. Plain old soap and water: Why hand-washing is still the best way to prevent illness
  68. Coronavirus Update: Milwaukee outlines preparations and precautions for dealing with COVID-19
For medical information, guidance, and resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. All editorial content published by Milwaukee Independent related to the coronavirus can be found at
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For medical information, guidance, and resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Q: What is a coronavirus?
A: It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to lung lesions and pneumonia.

Q: How contagious is the virus?
A: It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can travel through the air, enveloped in tiny respiratory droplets that are produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.

Q: Where has the virus spread?
A: The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 170,400 in at least 140 countries and more than 6,600 have died. The spread has slowed in China but is gaining speed in Europe and the United States. World Health Organization officials said the outbreak qualifies as a pandemic.

Q: What symptoms should I look out for?
A: Symptoms, which can take between two to 14 days to appear, include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, but people may be able to pass on the virus even before they develop symptoms.

Q: How do I keep myself and others safe?
A: Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick and avoiding touching your face.

Q: How can I prepare for an outbreak?
A: Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines. Get a flu shot. Have essential household items on hand. Have a support system in place for elderly family members.

Q: What if I’m traveling?
A: The State Department has issued a global Level 3 health advisory telling United States citizens to “reconsider travel” to all countries because of the worldwide effects of the coronavirus. This is the department’s second-highest advisory.

Q: How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine?
A: Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. A vaccine to stop the spread is still at least a year away.

Social Media Posts Spread Bogus Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory
January 24, 2020
Multiple social media posts are spreading a bogus conspiracy theory about the deadly Wuhan virus. The posts falsely claim that the virus has been patented and a vaccine is already available. That’s not true; the patents the posts refer to pertain to different viruses.

Coronavirus Misinformation Spreads Like a Virus
January 31, 2020
China first reported a new strain of viral pneumonia in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, and, within a month, the internet was infected with misinformation about the illness, now called the 2019 novel coronavirus.

FactChecking Trump’s Coronavirus Press Conference
February 27, 2020
Facing a declining stock market and criticism from Democrats, President Donald Trump and other officials have minimized the risks of the coronavirus to the U.S. and given inaccurate and misleading information about the new virus.

Trump and the ‘New Hoax’
March 3, 2020
President Donald Trump accused the Democrats of “politicizing” the new coronavirus, calling it “their new hoax.” Even after Trump explained his remarks, some Democrats — including Mike Bloomberg — continued to wrongly accuse Trump of describing the coronavirus as a “hoax.”

Trump and the Coronavirus Death Rate
March 5, 2020
The World Health Organization says that 3.4% of reported COVID-19 patients worldwide have died – a global fatality figure that President Donald Trump dismissed as “a false number.” It’s not a false number, although experts say Trump has a point that the fatality rate may ultimately be quite a bit less than 3.4%.

Trump’s Misplaced Blame on Obama for Coronavirus Tests
March 6, 2020
Amid criticism over his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that he had to overcome an Obama-era Food and Drug Administration “rule” to more quickly provide diagnostic tests to the American people. Experts, however, told us no such formal regulation was ever implemented under the previous administration.

FactChecking Trump’s Coronavirus Address
March 12, 2020
In a short primetime address, President Donald Trump provided false, misleading and incomplete information about the new coronavirus and actions his administration has taken or will take to staunch its spread.

Trump’s H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Spin
March 13, 2020
In tweets and other appearances, President Donald Trump has repeatedly compared his response to the new coronavirus with President Barack Obama’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. But Trump’s information is frequently incorrect or misleading — and the two viruses are very different.

Trump’s H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Spin
March 13, 2020
In tweets and other appearances, President Donald Trump has repeatedly compared his response to the new coronavirus with President Barack Obama’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. But Trump’s information is frequently incorrect or misleading — and the two viruses are very different.

Trump Misrepresents Google Coronavirus Website
March 16, 2020
President Donald Trump and other officials misleadingly suggested that tech behemoth Google was working on a screening website that large numbers of Americans could use to see if they should be tested for the new coronavirus. The website, however, is actually a project of Google’s sister company Verily and is initially limited to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Trump’s Statements About the Coronavirus
March 18, 2020
President Donald Trump said on March 17, “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” While it’s not possible to know what Trump “felt,” there’s no doubt that Trump had minimized the threat of the new coronavirus for weeks in statement after statement.

Trump Gets Ahead of Himself on COVID-19 Therapies
March 19, 2020
President Donald Trump left the misleading impression that two drugs were “approved” for use in treating the new coronavirus and were available for “immediate delivery.”

Contrary to Trump’s Claim, A Pandemic Was Widely Expected at Some Point
March 20, 2020
At a White House briefing March 19, President Donald Trump said, “Nobody knew there’d be a pandemic or an epidemic of this proportion.” But that’s simply not the case.

Correcting Trump’s Press Conference Misinformation
March 24, 2020
President Donald Trump has been holding daily press conferences to provide the latest information about the coronavirus from the federal government, but his rhetoric has sometimes been imprecise, misleading or outright incorrect.

Trump’s Suspect Spanish Flu Claims
March 25, 2020
President Donald Trump recently said “close to 100 million people died” from the 1918 Spanish flu, and that “if you got it you had a 50/50 chance, or very close, of dying.” But 100 million is a high-end estimate of global deaths from that influenza pandemic, and we found no evidence the case fatality rate for those who had it was 50%.

Trump’s Premature Claim about Ventilator Production
March 27, 2020
In a March 21 press briefing, President Donald Trump prematurely declared that automakers, including Ford and General Motors, were manufacturing much needed ventilators “right now.”

Trump and the Coronavirus Death Projections
March 30, 2020
In his March 30 appearance on “Fox & Friends,” President Donald Trump suggested an estimate that the novel coronavirus might kill a huge number of Americans was a new revelation.

Trump’s Spin on ‘Broken’ Testing
April 1, 2020
While his administration has faced criticism for being slow to ramp up testing for coronavirus infections, President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that the problem was with his predecessors, saying the administration “inherited a broken system” that it “rebuilt.” That’s misleading.

Trump Falsely Claims He Inherited ‘Empty’ Stockpile
April 3, 2020
More than once, President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies he inherited from his predecessor was an “empty shelf.”

Trump, Pence and Reassessing Coronavirus
April 3, 2020
In a little more than a month, President Donald Trump’s language about the coronavirus has shifted, from talk of 15 cases that “within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero” to warning of as many as 2.2 million deaths in the country if no social distancing efforts were undertaken.

Follow all the updates at

January 21, 2020
The United States announces its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a county just north of Seattle, Washington. The first patient is a man in his 30s who roughly a week before had returned from Wuhan, China – the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus.

January 27, 2020
The state Department of Health Services holds its first media briefing call to provide updates on coronavirus.

January 28, 2020

January 30, 2020
The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a global public health emergency after more than 9,000 cases are identified in 19 countries.

January 31, 2020
The White House announces a travel ban for foreign nationals who visited China within the last 14 days.

February 5, 2020
The first case of coronavirus in Wisconsin is confirmed by Dane County. Officials say the individual recently returned from China and went immediately from the airport to UW Hospital, then to isolation at home where they will remain there until testing shows they no longer have coronavirus.

February 8, 2020
The first American citizen dies of coronavirus. The 60-year-old passes away in a hospital in Wuhan, China.

February 28, 2020
The first person from Wisconsin confirmed to have COVID-19 is released from isolation after twice testing negative for the virus.

February 29, 2020
Health officials in Washington state confirm a man in his 50s passed away after contracting COVID-19, the first confirmed death from coronavirus in the United States.

March 2, 2020
The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene at UW-Madison announces it is conducting tests for the COVID-19. Due to restrictions on testing capacity, those being tested must display symptoms of the virus as well as have traveled to its original hotspots of China, Iran, South Korea or Italy within 14 days of when symptoms began or had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

March 6, 2020
President Trump signs an $8.3 billion emergency spending package aimed at researching and fighting COVID-19. The package first passes the House on a 415-2 vote and the Senate a day later by a 96-1 margin. All members of the Wisconsin delegation vote in favor of the package.

March 8, 2020
The Centers of Disease Control confirms the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. passes 500.

March 9, 2020
DHS confirms a second coronavirus case in Wisconsin. The agency says the person lives in Pierce County and was exposed to COVID-19 while traveling within the U.S.

March 10, 2020
DHS confirms the state’s third case of COVID-19, the second in Dane County. The agency says the person also contracted the virus while traveling within the U.S.

March 11, 2020
The World Health Organization says COVID-19 “can be characterized as a pandemic.” Trump announces restrictions on a wide swath of travelers from Europe, excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom. DHS officials report the number of cases in Wisconsin doubles from three to six.

March 12, 2020
Gov. Tony Evers declares a public health emergency directing DHS to purchase, store and distribute medications as needed, help local health departments with costs related to quarantine and isolation and authorizing the Wisconsin adjutant general to activate the National Guard. DHS Secretary Andrea Palm calls for events with over 250 people to be canceled, but says schools “will remain open.” DHS confirms the state’s seventh and eighth cases of COVID-19.

March 13, 2020
President Trump declares a national state of emergency. Evers calls for schools to close by March 18. In the order directing the closure, Evers says he anticipates reopening schools by April 6, but adds that date is subject to change “pending further information.” The state Elections Commission begins publicly urging voters to sign up for absentee ballots. The number of coronavirus cases in the state more than doubles from eight to 19.

March 14, 2020
The House votes 363-40 to approve a second coronavirus package addressing paid leave, Medicaid funding, food assistance and unemployment benefits. Wisconsin’s four House Republicans vote against the package while the state’s three Dems support it.

March 15, 2020
Dane County public health officials shutter schools and ban gatherings of 50 people or more. Hours later, the CDC recommends the same 50-person threshold for gatherings and the White House extends the European travel ban to Ireland and the U.K. DHS confirms 33 positive cases of COVID-19.

March 16, 2020
Evers orders a statewide ban on gatherings of 50 people or more but exempts infrastructure and services such as grocery stores, food pantries, childcare centers, pharmacies and hospitals. The ban allows bars and restaurants to remain open but operate at 50 percent of capacity or a maximum of 50 people, whichever is less. Trump advised Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore announces she is self-quarantining after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. DHS reports 47 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

March 17, 2020
Evers updates the ban to restrict gatherings of 10 or more people and reverses course on foodservice establishments, ordering bars and restaurants to be closed to in-house patrons by 5 p.m. He also calls on lawmakers to immediately repeal a one-week delay in collecting unemployment benefits. Palm says there is evidence of community spread in Dane, Kenosha and Milwaukee counties, meaning some of those testing positive haven’t had any exposure to a known case or traveled somewhere where someone has tested positive. DHS reports 72 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state

March 18, 2020
The Democratic National Committee and state Democratic Party file a lawsuit asking a federal judge to push back the deadline for online and mail voter registration until April 3, among other things. Elections officials raise the alarm that the push for voters to sign up for absentee ballots has left local clerks short on envelopes. Elections commissioners deadlock on a proposal to ask Evers and the Legislature to meet in special session to address election safety but approve funding for more envelopes. Trump signs the second coronavirus package into law after the Senate earlier in the day passes it by a 90-8 margin. U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin split on the package, with the Madison Dem voting for it and the Oshkosh Republican opposing it.

March 19, 2020
Evers announces the first two coronavirus-related deaths in the state: a Fond du Lac County man in his 50s and an Ozaukee County man in his 90s. The number of absentee ballot requests for the April 7 election surpasses the previous high-water mark for a spring election. An employee at Waupun Correctional Institution tests positive for COVID-19. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett goes into self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. DHS reports 155 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

March 20, 2020
DHS confirms the third COVD-19 death in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers orders hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, body art establishments and tanning facilities to close by 5 p.m. and issues a moratorium on admission to state prisons. The federal judge overseeing the DNC/DPW lawsuit extends the deadline to March 30 to register electronically to vote in the spring election. Four of the Legislature’s top Republicans say they don’t believe additional restrictions are needed on Wisconsin businesses. DHS reports 206 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

March 21, 2020
DHS reports a fourth coronavirus death in Wisconsin and says there are 281 positive cases in the state. New Jersey issues a stay-at-home order.

March 22, 2020
Gov. Tony Evers stops utility disconnections for all customers due to nonpayment and blocks late fees. The state Supreme Court largely postpones jury trials and in-person proceedings statewide. The U.S. Senate fails to clear a key procedural hurdle on a third coronavirus package. The body deadlocks 47-47 with Johnson voting with Senate Republicans in favor of cloture and Baldwin joining Dems in opposition. DHS reports the number of positive COVID-19 cases jumps by 100 to 381.

March 24, 2020
Evers announces a sweeping stay-at-home order that limits personal contact between Wisconsinites but allows essential businesses to remain open over the next month. Barrett urges Evers and GOP legislative leaders to conduct the upcoming spring election through mail ballots, saying in-person voting is not “feasible or safe for our workers or residents.” DHS says the number of positive cases has jumped to 457.