Wisconsin governor unveils 'Badger Bounce Back' plan for reopening state

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced his “Badger Bounce Back” plan Monday, which outlines the criteria for the state to be able to reopen its economy in phases amid the COVID-19 pandemic

According to a news release, the Badger Bounce Back plan is informed in part by the guidelines the White House released last week for states, cities and counties to start easing restrictions. Wisconsin does not currently meet the criteria the White House established to start reopening the state, the governor said, but the Badger Bounce Back plan takes the important steps to get there. 

The goal of the Badger Bounce Back plan is to decrease the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths to a low level and increase the capacity of Wisconsin’s health care system so the phased reopening of businesses is possible. 

As of Monday, 4,499 Wisconsin residents have tested positive for the coronavirus and 230 have died. 

As part of the plan, the state will be working to increase access to more testing, with a goal of testing 85,000 people per week—an average of about 12,000 tests per day. To date, 51,102 people have been tested in Wisconsin. 

Under the plan, everyone who needs a test should get a test, the news release said. 

The state will also continue to “pursue every avenue” to grow its supply of personal protective equipment for health care and public safety workers, according to the news release. 

The plan also works to bolster health care system capacity where patients can be treated without crisis care, and there are more robust testing programs in place for at-risk health care workers. 

“I am excited and hopeful about this plan,” Evers said in a statement. “While being safe at home continues to be important, this plan is an all-out attack on the virus, and it begins the process of preparing our businesses and our workforce for the important planning that will result in the safe and logical reopening of our economy.”

According to the news release, Wisconsin will be looking for a downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses and COVID-19 symptoms reported within a 14-day period and a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period before starting to reopen the states economy. 

For now, Wisconsin remains under a “Safer at Home” order until May 26 and most non-essential businesses are closed for the time being.