April 21, 2020 | 7: 24pm | Updated April 21, 2020 | 7: 25pm
Residents wait in long lines outside the Riverside High School in Milwaukee, on April 7 to vote in Wisconsin’s primary election.
AFP via Getty Images
The virus didn’t spare the voting booth.
At least seven coronavirus cases can be linked back to Wisconsin’s in-person election held earlier this month in the midst of the pandemic, according to state health officials.
The cases include six voters and one poll worker from Milwaukee, where voters waited in long lines after the number of polling locations was dramatically reduced.
The city had operated just five of 200 polling sites after having difficulty finding staff to oversee the election that included the Democratic primary, as well as races for the state Supreme Court and local offices.
It was not immediately clear whether the cases were clusters at a single poll station or if any of those who have fallen ill have succumbed to the disease.
“There needs to be a little bit more analysis so we can connect the dots, that’s why case investigation and contact tracing is so important,” Milwaukee health commissioner Jeanette Kowalik told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Kowalik said the city would issue an alert to those were present at the poll sites during a specific window of time
“As you recall, there were people that were in line for a very long time to get their vote in, so if you figure out around a range of time when someone was there or in the polling sites or in the line, connect to someone who was an actual case, that’s when we would do notifications,” she said.
Wisconsin’s election came after a legal battle between Democrats and Republicans. At the last minute a day before the election, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers ordered that it be delayed and shifted to mail-in voting.
But his efforts were blocked by Republican legislative leaders, who won an appeal in the state’s conservative-controlled Supreme Court.
As state health officials warned of an uptick in coronavirus infections, thousands of voters stayed home over health concerns, with reports that their absentee ballots had never arrived.
More cases could still be linked to the election. Tuesday marked two weeks since the event, and health experts say it can take 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to become apparent.
With Post wires