News – May 20, 2020

(Madison) The Evers administration has announced a more than one billion dollar statewide effort to support Wisconsin’s pandemic response. It clarifies how money from the federal CARES Act is being allocated in the state for things like community testing, a role currently largely being fulfilled by the Wisconsin National Guard, headed by Adjutant General Paul Knapp. But as DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk points out, the Guard cannot do that indefinitely. The state has allocated approximately 260 million dollars for testing efforts, and another 75 million for contact tracing. Wisconsin’s goal is capacity for 85,000 tests per week.

(Wisconsin) The head of the state’s insurance commission says that all COVID-19 testing must be covered under private insurance. That ruling was issued on yesterday by Commissioner Mark Afable (Affable). He says that anyone who has been charged for those tests, either as part of separate testing or as a visit to a doctor’s office, should contact their insurer and contest the charges. That includes trips to the emergency room or to an urgent care clinic. The ruling is part of the federal COVID-19 laws like the CARES Act.

(Dodge County) Wisconsin health officials are reporting an increase of 198 cases of COVID-19 in yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) daily update. There is a total of 12,885 people now having tested positive. State public health officials reported eight deaths bringing the total to 467. Dodge County has one new coronavirus case, bringing the total to 109 with one death on record.

(Fond du Lac) Fond du Lac County Public Health Officer Kim Mueller says resources are available to ensure businesses reopening during the pandemic do it safely for the sake of their customers and staff. She says her department working in partnership with Envision Greater Fond du Lac’s Reopen Fond du Lac County Task Force developed a blue print for how to do that, which is available at both of their websites. She says not all businesses are ready to open yet, but those who are want to do if safely.

(Wisconsin) The Department of Workforce Development says it’s stopped a rash of identity theft and fraud cases connected to the surge of unemployment filings. The Department says it detected and stopped 342 cases of fraud since the pandemic response began in March. Most of the cases involved people using stolen Social Security Numbers to make phony unemployment claims. Secretary Caleb Frostman says that his workers are doing their best to make sure that only legitimate claims are being paid out.

(Madison) Madison is making contact tracing part of its plan to reopen the city. Madison’s phased-in reopening requires a drop in coronavirus cases, more testing, mandatory contact tracing, and that 95-percent of the city’s hospitals are stocked with supplies. Each phase requires a two-week waiting period. Businesses can get back to work Tuesday, but can’t allow customers until next week.

(Milwaukee) More delegates are taking a pass on coming to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this summer. The New York Times interviewed 60 delegates last week, and fewer than ten say they plan to attend the convention in-person. Milwaukee convention planners are trying to find a way to balance coronavirus fears, and calls for an online convention. They want as many people as safely possible at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee in August.

(Beaver Dam) The question of a referendum to fund eight new positions in the Beaver Dam Fire Department has been directed to the common council, following a unanimous recommendation by the city’s Police and Fire Commission last (Tuesday) night. The hiring’s are the conclusion of a study released earlier this year that also recommends the construction of a northside fire station which Chief Alan Mannel is NOT asking for at this time. Mannel is hoping to see the matter settled before August 25th, the deadline to get a referendum question on the November ballot. 

(Mayville) A sentencing hearing was scheduled yesterday (Tuesday) for a former Mayville Police Officer who was convicted on Misconduct in Office charges. In January, Mark Forster pled to three felony counts and had two other charges dismissed: felony Child Enticement and misdemeanor Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Forster talked to the 17-year-old on social media, while on-duty, seeking to meet up. An internal investigation into the matter revealed that Forster used police software to lookup the victim’s personal information. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 23rd.

(Jefferson County) Governor Tony Evers announced yesterday (Tuesday) that he is seeking applications for Jefferson County District Attorney. The new appointee will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of District Attorney Susan Happ. Evers says whoever is selected will serve for the remainder of the unexpired term that ends January 2021. Completed applications can be sent to [email protected], forms can be found on the “Apply to Serve” page of the governor’s website. The deadline is June 8th.

(Wisconsin) University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross says planning is already underway to reopen campuses this fall. They are taking into account academic instruction, residence hall and dining service operations and athletics. Cross says the U-W System is thinking about what the reopening might look like. He says how education is delivered to students depends on many factors. A task force called the “Plan Ahead Team” is reviewing the options when classed resume on campuses serving about 170 thousand students.

(Wisconsin) New polling from St Norbert College and the Wisconsin Professional Police Association shows that a majority of the state wants to keep some protections in place in regards to coronavirus. 74 percent of respondents said they approved of the extension of the Stay at Home Order. Director Jim Palmer says they also approved of expanded workers compensation for police and deputies. Palmer says it shows that people will be expecting police to do their part in preparing for any potential flare ups of the coronavirus now that restrictions have been lifted.