Days After Wisconsin Supreme Court Blocks Stay-At-Home Order, State Has Highest-Ever Coronavirus Increase

People gather in a bar in Wisconsin.
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Just three days after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the governor’s stay-at-home order, the state has registered the largest-ever one-day increase in coronavirus cases.

As the Post Crescent reported, there were more than 500 news cases reported on Saturday, the largest single-day increase in cases since the start of the outbreak. The new cases came from more than 6,000 tests processed, for a positive rate of 8.3 percent. As the report noted, that was up from the average of close to 6 percent in the last six days.

There are now a total of 12,187 positive cases in Wisconsin since the start of the outbreak.

The increase comes days after the state Supreme Court ruled that Governor Tony Evers had overstepped his authority by working with the state Department of Health Services to extend the existing stay-at-home order through May 26. The ruling was met with celebration among many in the Republican-led legislature and residents looking to re-open their businesses and return to work.

As the Washington Post reported, many Wisconsin residents packed restaurants and bars in the hours after the ruling, celebrating the first chance to go out in public and congregate in weeks.

Evers spoke out against the scenes, telling MSNBC’s Ali Velshi that there could be major consequences for the abandonment of social distancing guidelines.

“We’re the Wild West,” Evers said.

“There are no restrictions at all across the state of Wisconsin. … So at this point in time … there is nothing that’s compelling people to do anything other than having chaos here.”

The increase in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin comes as a number of states are grappling with how to begin lifting stay-at-home orders and allowing businesses to reopen. While a number of states hit hard by the virus have put off widespread openings, others have moved more quickly into allowing non-essential businesses to reopen and letting people congregate again.

Many have taken a regional approach, including New York, where the first parts of the upstate region have started to slowly reopen while the greater New York City area remains under stricter restrictions — and will do so for weeks to come.

The prospect of reopening had drawn controversy in Wisconsin, where there have been a number of protests against the stay-at-home order. The U.S. Supreme Court had stepped into the issue in the past as well, blocking an attempt to extend the date to accept absentee ballots from its elections held in April to keep voters from having to go to the polls.