News – March 21, 2020

(Columbia County) Community spread has now been identified in Columbia County as their total number of cases has increased to five. That is according to Columbia County Health and Human Services who reports that 64 tests have come back negative as of 2pm Friday. Community spread means an individual has been infected but officials are unsure how or where the infection occurred. The latest numbers from the state has pushed the number of positive cases in Wisconsin past 200 with three deaths in Fond du Lac, Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties. To date, the state has administered nearly 3500 COVID-19 tests that have come back negative. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is in a 14 day self-quarantine, after coming in contact with a person with coronavirus.

(Beaver Dam) State Representative Mark Born says there is a bipartisan approach to addressing the coronavirus in Wisconsin. The Beaver Dam Republican was our guest yesterday on WBEV’s Community Comment.

“The communication with Governor Evers administration from a legislative perspective is way better than its ever been,” he says, “we’re getting regular updates from the governors office both by phone and by email pretty much every night.”

Born says on the local level, he has been in contact with municipal leaders throughout his district.

“Pretty much all of the mayors have made their declaration of emergency,” he says, “that’s mostly just allowing them to do some things like close parts of their building, makes it easier for them to access federal money in the future if the feds make money available.”

Born says many municipal clerks are experiencing a similar issue with concerns about public traffic with absentee voting.

“That’s certainly a challenge that we have to work through for the next couple weeks but one that is certainly pretty important.”

During a Friday conference call on COVID-19, Governor Tony Evers stressed that he cannot move the date of the election. Evers says his personal opinion is that moving the date does not necessarily address public health concerns as the situation could be worse in May.

(Madison) During a Friday conference call on COVID-19, Governor Tony Evers stressed that he cannot move the date of the election. Evers says his personal opinion is that moving the date does not necessarily address public health concerns. Also Friday, the state Elections Commission asked Evers for assistance in procuring hand sanitizer and other supplies, in recruiting poll workers, and access to public health officials for guidance.

(Madison) Evers meanwhile, directed the Department of Health Services to issue updates to the previous order prohibiting mass gatherings of ten or more people. The updated order maintains the ban on gatherings of 10 or more people and indefinite school closures but includes some important changes and clarifications. Among them, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and tanning facilities were ordered closed as of yesterday (Friday). Laundromats may remain open, along with banks if they practice social distancing. Also, all parts of the food delivery system – from farms to stores – may remain open.

(Madison) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is keeping its 28 rest areas under normal operation to support truckers during a critical time for moving supplies. DOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson says “for truckers, rest areas offer an important resource, and [the state is] working hard to clean and maintain them.”

(Madison) The Wisconsin National Guard is calling-up 300 citizen members to help with the coronavirus. Colonel Eric Leckel says the troops will provide support to Wisconsin’s virus response, which could include moving virus samples, helping with logistics, and even providing doctors or nurses to hospitals where they’re needed.

(Green Lake) Law enforcement agencies in Green Lake County are coming together to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. The various agencies joining forces are the police departments in Berlin, Green Lake, Markesan and Princeton as well as the Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Matthew Vande Kolk says residents may see a slight change to their normally very “in-person” service in an effort to prevent spread of COVID-19. He says their goal is to protect the public to the same extent they always have in the criminal justice side of operations while also protecting the community in regards to public health. The sheriff’s office is also pointing out individuals who are not taking this situation seriously. Vande Kolk says failure to respond to this pandemic in a prepared and responsible manner most certainly will result in the unnecessary loss of life. They are also reminding citizens of potential COVID-19 scams. Vande Kolk says to never give out any personal information or personal numbers ar account information.

(Fond du Lac) Fond du Lac County’s Circuit Court system is adapting some temporary guidelines during the pandemic. All contested matters requiring in-person appearances, including jury trials are suspended. Clerks will schedule the proceedings as the court calendar permits. Any hearing that can be done by phone will proceed as scheduled. Small claims appearances in intake court are suspended. Measures will be in place until April 17. Weddings in a court room will still be permitted at a judge’s discretion with no more than four people in the court room.

(Fond du Lac) Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac is moving up its summer production slow down due to the new coronavirus. The company says it is suspending production at a number of its facilities for Mercury and its parent company the Brunswick Corporation starting next Monday. The slowdown is expected to last two to three weeks. Some of Mercury’s plant in Fond du Lac will continue to run during the slowdown.

(Washington DC) Every member of Congress from Wisconsin is asking Washington for more coronavirus testing kits. Wisconsin’s entire congressional delegation signed a letter explaining that a testing bottleneck is causing problems for health care workers and facilities. The letter says a lack of tests is putting practitioners on the front lines at risk during the outbreak.

(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam-native who lives in New York City says his prognosis is good after struggling for two weeks with coronavirus. Lukus Estok had symptoms including chills, dizziness, a lack of appetite, rolling fevers up to 102.7-degrees, full body aches, a dry cough and a sensation he described as someone sitting on his chest. Estok says his respiratory symptoms were no joke and says he is thankful that his asthma did not exacerbated his condition. He says testing was not available until he was severe enough to be admitted to the emergency room and then it took four days to get confirmation. Estok is concerned that our healthcare system is unprepared for the pending wide scale need and says flattening the curve is vitally important. He is begging the public to heed the warnings and recommendations of medical professionals and practice social distancing and proper sanitization techniques. Estok concluded his Facebook post saying (quote) “I cannot stress this enough; you do not want this [and] you certainly don’t want to be responsible for anyone else getting it.

(Juneau) The Dodge County Board voted this week to amend the rules that govern the county board. Among the notable changes was an amendment brought forth by Supervisor Joseph Marsik. His measure encourages any written amendments to the annual budget be submitted to the county board at least 14 calendar days before the board votes on the document at their November meeting. The rule addition also cited that amendments could still be brought forth during the November meeting. During discussions in committee, Marsik softened the wording from “require” to “encouraged.” His original proposal also required that a two-thirds majority be met to pass any budget amendments brought forward by a board member at the November. Marsik ultimately removed the two-thirds majority vote following feedback he received. He says the goal is to make an informed decision while voting on amendment changes to the budget. Marsik says his change would ask those making amendments to send them to the county clerk who would in turn send it to the board and affected department. Before the county board voted, Supervisor David Guckenberger sought to strike the word encourage from the language. Citing that it would have no impact and does not make sense to him. His motion was voted down.

(Waupun) An inmate at Waupun Correctional was charged with assaulting a correctional officer. Timmy Johnson is facing a felony count of Battery by Prisoner stemming from the July 8th incident of last year. According to the criminal complaint, guards were administering medication when Johnson was directed to go to a holding cell. Johnson then allegedly started to punch one of the guards in the head and face area multiple times. Another corrections officer used pepper spray and other first responders were able to subdue Johnson. The 31-year-old is serving a 50-year sentence after being convicted of First Degree Homicide in Grant County in 2015. If convicted, Johnson faces an additional six years in prison. An initial appearance is scheduled in July.