COVID-19 surge prompts change for businesses, hospitals

State leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 27 urged people to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19 as the surge shows no signs of slowing down.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Tuesday reported record single-day increases in both COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"It is worse now than it has ever been before," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "I don't think there should be anybody who's watching this who should be under the mistaken notion that somehow we are turning the corner on this disease."

The City of Milwaukee on Monday reversed its public health order, imposing new restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Under the updated order — restaurants and bars will be restricted to 25% capacity, down from 50% — unless the establishment's COVID-19 Safety Plan is approved by the Milwaukee Health Department. 

"This is not punitive, this is to protect individuals, this is to save lives," said Marlaina Jackson, interim commissioner of the Milwaukee Health Department.

As cases surge -- leading to a surge in hospitalizations -- hospitals are tightening up visitor policies. Ascension Wisconsin is barring children who are not patients and limiting visitors.

"We just need to be very cautious about restricting the people that are coming into our acute care facilities and potentially exposing vulnerable populations," said Heath Schimmers with Ascension Wisconsin.

State leaders urge residents to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave.

"If people stay home, we can call it whatever. I call it saving lives," said Gov. Tony Evers. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

Gov. Evers, and others, renewed their pleas to change behavior and take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously to stop the spread before it is too late.

"We are in a situation in the state of Wisconsin that is dire," said Barrett.

The state medical officer warns about flu season hitting during the pandemic, calling it a "nightmare scenario."

'Nightmare scenario:' Wisconsin sets COVID-19 case, death records

On Monday, the state his 200,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began; 100,000 of those cases were recorded within just the past 36 days.

Milwaukee may add to restrictions as COVID-19 cases climb

Milwaukee County officials on Tuesday discussed COVID-19 testing and safe voting in the area, among other topics, as the pandemic continues.