Coronavirus: 72 people in Wisconsin test positive after attending 'large gathering' as state sees stay at home protests

Hundreds of people attended demonstration, many of them not wearing masks

Louise Hall
Tuesday 12 May 2020 14:49 BST
Coronavirus in numbers

Seventy-two individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 in Wisconsin recently attended a “large-gathering” before their diagnosis, according to a report.

According to The Progressive, the state's Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed that they had gathered tracing data on a number of people who had contracted the virus.

“We were able to pull some limited data—out of 1,986 cases with onset/diagnosis on or after 4/26, there were seventy-two cases who reported attending a large gathering," DHS spokesperson Jennifer Miller was quoted as saying in an email to The Progressive.

The information comes to light after last month hundreds of people in Wisconsin attended a mass protest at the governor's stay-at-home order.

However, it is not possible to say if any of these cases trace back to the rally as the health department is not tracking attendance of specific events.

“Possible exposures during protests haven’t been specifically added to the database because we already ask about large gatherings,” Ms Miller allegedly said.

“Contact tracers do ask if patients attended mass gatherings, but not specifically about protests, so there’s really no data on who may have contracted Covid-19 at a protest," she added according to The Progressive

The rally outside Wisconsin’s capitol building in Madison drew hundreds of protesters who demanded Democratic Governor Tony Evers reopen the state.

Wisconsin Capitol Police said about 1,500 people attended the gathering and there were no arrests and no citations issued. Only one-third of protesters were said to be wearing masks at the event.

“No, it doesn’t specifically state that the 72 were at a rally, but this is the data we have,” Ms Miller purportedly said.

The Independent has reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for comment.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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