News – August 19, 2020

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Police and Fire Commission last night approved changes to the city’s paramedic intercept program. The viability of the program was questioned during talks about the November referendum seeking to fund six new paramedics. During an intercept, Beaver Dam meets ambulances from outlying communities to provide a higher level of care during emergency situations like a heart attack or severe car accident. The cost had been $300 billed to the patient. It is now $350 per call, billed to the agency requesting the paramedic, which means no more unpaid bills. Chief Alan Mannel calls the new approach a “no lose situation” for the city. The commission decided against making changes to the interfacility transport program, which generates revenue by transporting patients between health care facilities for a fee.

(Dodge County) One of the benchmarks of the Dodge County Safe Restart Plan has been downgraded. On Monday, county health officials moved the cases indicator – which is a metric that tracks the trajectory of positive COVID-19 cases as a percentage of total tests – from “proceed with caution” to “of concern.” The reason for the change was the upward trajectory of the rolling average of positive tests for the last two weeks. Tuesday’s percentage of positive tests was at 5.16-percent while the weekly average from August 9th through the 15th was just over 12-percent. Health officials say large gatherings in Dodge County are driving the upward trajectory of positive tests since the beginning of August.

(Fond du Lac) The Fond du Lac County Health Department is making a move similar to Dodge County after a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases forced this week to change the cases metric for its Safe Restart dashboard from yellow to red. The restart program is currently in Phase Two, but that red color means there is cause for concern with increased cases. The other four metrics for testing, care, PPE, and contact tracing are all in the green.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting 634 positive coronavirus cases in Tuesday’s daily update, which is 6.3-percent of the 9,900 tests announced. There are 8,378 active cases in the state, a decrease of 159 from Monday. State health officials recorded 13 more deaths Tuesday, bringing that total to 1,052 which includes new deaths in Washington and Jefferson counties. Dodge County has five deaths on record and 955 cases, an increase of 13 from Monday. Local health officials are actively monitoring 168 people.

(Portage) A Portage man is facing multiple drug charges following his arrest yesterday (Tuesday). During an on-going investigation by the Columbia County Drug Task Force, Loyal Stowers was allegedly observed leaving a known drug area. Following a traffic violation which led authorities to pull over his vehicle at a gas station in Portage, Stowers reportedly attempted to flee on foot. While deputies were taking him into custody, Stowers allegedly attempted to bite an officer. The 37-year-old is facing several charges including Possession with Intent to Deliver Methamphetamine, Resisting, Battery to Law Enforcement, among others.

(Wisconsin) Attorney General Josh Kaul is joining a multi-state lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration from cutting funding to the US Postal Service. AG Kaul says that the Administration and the new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have purposely crimped operations at the postal service to slow down mail delivery. President Trump admitted at a press conference last week that the cuts would likely make it more difficult to handle increased mail in and absentee voting. Kaul says the cuts will also harm people who rely on the Postal Service to run their businesses, get crucial medications, and handle everyday correspondence.

(Wisconsin) Senator Ron Johnson wants to hear from the postmaster general. The U-S Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by the Wisconsin Republican, will hold a hearing Friday to discuss the United States Postal Service’s finances and recent delays, as millions opt to vote by mail due to COVID-19 concerns. In a statement, Johnson said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy “should have an opportunity to describe those realities before going before a hostile House committee determined to conduct a show trial.”

(Wisconsin) More than 800-thousand voters in Wisconsin have already asked for an absentee ballot. The Wisconsin Elections Commission says the August primary was good practice for the November election. Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe says there are some issues left to work out; namely how to count all of the absentee ballots that are expected by November.

(Wisconsin) The city of Chicago has removed Wisconsin from its emergency travel order list. States that have at least 15 daily Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents are placed on the list, which requires travelers entering or returning to Chicago from states that experience a surge in cases to quarantine for a 14-day period. After being added July 27, Wisconsin fell below that rate last week and was removed from the list on Tuesday. Seventeen states and Puerto Rico are currently on the list, with Iowa and Kansas will be added to Chicago’s city order on Friday, when updates to the travel order go into effect.