MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin (all times local):

State elections officials say local clerks have received nearly 111,000 requests for absentee ballots for the May 12 special election in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District.

The Wisconsin Election Commission says that as of Friday morning clerks across the 21-county district had received 110,921 absentee ballot applications. The district has about 420,500 registered voters. That means more than 25% of the district's voters have requested an absentee ballot.

The commission says voters have returned 69,472 ballots so far.

Republican state Sen. Tom Tiffany and Democrat Tricia Zunker, president of the Wausau School Board, are vying to fill the seat after Republican Sean Duffy resigned in September. Duffy, a former realty TV star on MTV's “The Real World,” said he wanted to spend more time with his family. His ninth child, a daughter, was born in October with Down syndrome and holes in her heart.


1:10 p.m.

More than 70 people who tested positive for the coronavirus since an April 24 rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol indicated they had attended a large gathering, but the state Department of Health Services cant' say if they were at the rally because it is not tracking specific events.

Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said Friday that when someone tests positive for COVID-19 they are asked if they attended any large gatherings. But the department did not add the April 24 rally, which attracted about 1,500 people, to the list of specific questions.

The department did add a question after the April 7 election to determine if people had been at the polls. As of Thursday, 67 people who were tested positive for COVID-19 had also reported being at the polls. But because many of them had other exposures, health officials have not been able to conclusively determine where they caught the virus.

The rally was organized and attended by people who oppose the state's “safer at home” order and want to allow more businesses to reopen sooner than would be currently allowed. The order expires on May 26.

Capitol Police did not grant a permit for the rally because it went against the stay-at-home order, which prohibits public gatherings of any size. Many of those in attendance did not maintain a 6-foot distance from others, or wear masks or other protective gear.

The state health department said there have been 1,986 confirmed cases where onset or diagnosis happened on or after April 26. Of those, 72 people reported attending a large gathering.


12:10 p.m.

About 250 members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be activated to help work the polls in Tuesday's special election in northern Wisconsin's sprawling 7th Congressional District due to a shortage of traditional poll workers.

The Guard's activation in the upcoming special election follows the April statewide presidential primary and spring election where more than 2,400 Guard members helped staff the polls.

There are about 700 municipalities in the district, most of those being towns with just one polling location, said Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney. The commission is expecting about 125 Guard members to be used at the polls, with another 125 in support roles or dispatched to armories to be used as needed, he said.

Clerks have all the sanitation and personal protective equipment they need and have undergone training to be ready, Magney said.

There were long lines of voters in Milwaukee during last month's election due to a consolidation of polling places from nearly 200 to just five. No significant consolidations on par with what happened in Milwaukee were planned in the mostly rural 7th Congressional District, Magney said.

Brig. Gen. Robyn Blader said in a statement Friday that Guard members will be in civilian clothing and work in areas where they live and perform the same functions as other poll workers. They will be trained starting Sunday.

The election to replace retired U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy pits Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany against Democrat Tricia Zunker.


11:50 a.m.

Gov. Tony Evers' administration on Friday released a best practices guidebook for businesses as they reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidelines apply to a wide array of businesses from swimming pools to restaurants, hair salons to gyms, manufacturers and professional offices. Wisconsin's current “safer at home” order closing most nonessential businesses remains in effect until May 26. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers seeking to undo the order.

Evers said the guidelines compiled by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation included input from national and state health and industry experts in partnership with the state department of Health Services, Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Tourism as well as regional economic development partners

Being able to reopen, the economic development agency said, “will require the gradual adoption of new business practices that reflect the evolving reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and our success in mitigating the effects of this unprecedented global health emergency.”


10:00 a.m.

Members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing are assisting the state's medical examiners with mortuary operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

A special team is helping coroners remove and handle those who have died, transport their bodies, clean and decontaminate.

Team member, Master Sgt. Steven Ulrich, said a local coroner’s normal workload doesn’t stop just because there is a pandemic in their communities.

“Every time you watch the death toll tragically rise from this disease that only tells a portion of our story," Ulrich said. “There are still deaths of natural causes, and, sadly, many deaths of despair, which tax our country’s decedent management capacity.”

Tech. Sgt. Samuel Keizer said many counties, especially in the northern part of the state, have little to no morgue space and could be overwhelmed by even a slight increase in deaths.

“The biggest piece of the FSRT (Fatality Search and Recovery Team) mission is to provide closure to families and loved ones after each event and to provide additional storage to counties where we are able to preserve the decedents,” Keizer said.

In Dane County, the team has provided more than 576 hours of assistance to the Medical Examiner’s office by handling 47 people who have died.