News – New Year’s Day 2021

(Dodge County) The number of COVID-19 related deaths in Wisconsin stands at 4,859 for the year. The state Department of Health Services reported on Thursday that COVID-19 was a factor in 41 more deaths. DHS reported 3,810 newly confirmed cases on Thursday, marking the third straight day of rising daily infections. The state has now seen 481,102 cases since the start of the pandemic. The survival rate for those infected remains at 99 percent. There are 28,607 active cases in the state, an increase of 878 from Wednesday. One death was reported in Dodge County Thursday bringing the total to 122 people with 10,387 cases a one-day increase of 31 positive tests. The county had 40 negative tests returned. Washington County has seen 97 deaths along with 11,710 cases to date. Fond du Lac County has 67 deaths with 10,433 positive tests on record. The state says Jefferson County has seen 57 deaths and 6,602 cases to date. Columbia County is reporting two deaths, for a total of 32, along with 4,205 positive tests. Green Lake County has reported 10 deaths with 1,389 cases on record.

(Grafton) A former Aurora Health pharmacist has been arrested, after admitting to deliberately spoiling 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine at Aurora’s Grafton hospital. Dr. Jeff Bahr of Aurora Health Care Medical Group provided an update on Thursday. Bahr could not speak to the motivations that led the now fired employee to leave 57 vials of Moderna vaccine unrefrigerated last weekend. Bahr said 57 people received vaccinations from the batch of vaccine that was ultimately discarded, but there will be no harm or negative effect from that. -WRN

(Oconomowoc) The daughter of a state legislator from Oconomowoc is facing multiple charges after allegedly pointing a gun at people. Eighteen-year-old Sophie Dittrich faces drug and weapons charges, stemming from an incident last weekend, in which she allegedly pointed a gun at the occupants of a vehicle. According to a criminal complaint, a police search of the car she was in found marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms and a stolen handgun.  Oconomowoc Republican state Representative Barbara Dittrich said in statement that her daughter has struggled with addiction. -WRN

(Fond du Lac) One of the biggest capital improvement projects for Fond du Lac County in 2021 will be a software upgrade for the county’s emergency communication system. County Executive Al Buechel says at $2.2 million it’s not cheap, but the software they needed for the system. He says among those using the package will be county dispatch, public safety departments, police and fire throughout the county, and the county jail. Not all Fond du Lac County municipalities use the sheriff’s department centralized dispatch. Buechel says whether a community like Ripon decides to go with county dispatch or not they would need the software upgrade as well.

(Madison) UW-Madison aims to keep cases of COVID-19 down, with a stepped up testing regimen. The university is implementing the “Safer Badgers” program next month.  A spokesperson for the campus says it had a capacity of about 10-thousand tests-per-week during the fall semester.  In the spring, it is estimated that about 70-thousand tests-a-week will be done.  The saliva-based test being used will have results within 24 hours.  There will be an app for the Safer Badgers program to make it easy to schedule testing and deliver the results. -WRN

(Dodge County) While the pandemic has stalled overall vehicle sales in Dodge County through the first eleven months of the year, the region has seen a slight uptick in truck sales. According to figures released by the Waterloo-based industry tracking firm Reg-Trak, there were two-thousand-eight-hundred-and-ninety-two (2,892) trucks sold in Dodge County from January through November, an increase of 2.3-perecnt. At the same time, there were 327 cars sold, a drop of 31-percent. Overall, sales were down 2.6-percent.

(Wisconsin) A destructive invasive species has seen a rebound in Wisconsin this year. Gypsy moths can damage trees and shrubs by eating away their leaves. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) said its annual trapping program caught 83,720 moths this year, up from 52,396 in 2019. It’s an increase attributable in part to variations in winter weather. Last year was a historic low after two harsh winters. -WRN

(Beaver Dam) City of Beaver Dam residents can start placing Christmas trees and boughs street-side for collection by city crews starting Monday. Trees and boughs must be free of ornaments, lights and stands so they can be chipped. City crews will pick-up the trees through the end of the month.