News – September 19, 2020

(Dodge County) For the second day in a row, Wisconsin reported the highest number of COVID-19 positive tests of the entire pandemic. Wisconsin health officials are reporting a record 2533 positive coronavirus cases in Friday’s daily update, which is 19.4-percent of the 10,500 tests announced. There are 12,839 active cases in the state, an increase of 1244 people from Thursday. Active cases make up 13.2-percent of the 97-thousand people who have tested positive to date. So far, there have been 83-thousand recoveries. State health officials recorded seven deaths Friday, for a total of 1,238. Deaths account for 1.3-percent of all cases in Wisconsin while 6.8-percent of those known to have contracted the virus needed to be hospitalized. Nationwide, the CDC says there have been 197-thousand deaths while the worldwide death toll is widely reported to be around 948-thousand people. Washington County has experienced 32 deaths along 2,156 cases, a one-day increase of 48 cases. Fond du Lac County has reported 12 deaths with 1,655 positive tests, a one day increase of 73 cases. Jefferson County has reported seven deaths and 1,166 cases to date. There have been two deaths in Columbia County where there have been 478 cases. Green Lake County now has 169 cases, up 15. Dodge County had 26 more cases announced Friday for a running total of 1538 with nine deaths on record. The county had 121 negative tests returned for a running total of 21,295. Public health officials in Dodge County are actively monitoring 256 people.

(Juneau) As coronavirus numbers continue to grow, Dodge County Public Health announced Friday that they are reverting back to Phase One of their Safe Restart Plan. Public Health Officer Abby Sauer says Phase One recommendations include limiting capacity in non-essential businesses, bars, restaurants and organizations to 25-percent. If community members choose to get together, private indoor social gatherings should be limited to ten people or less while maintaining physical distancing and wearing a mask. Events held outdoors should allow for all people to maintain six feet of physical distance from others. Sauer suggests limiting your bubble, saying the more people you socialize with, the greater the chance you will be exposed or will expose others. She also encourages minimizing trips out of the house, planning ahead so you can get all the things you need at once and using online ordering or curbside pickup for lower-risk options. Whenever possible, take advantage of virtual opportunities, which includes working at home and attending events, services, or performances online. It is also important to stay home when you are sick, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow and wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often. Sauer also recommends getting tested if you need to, either through your medical provider or at community test sites. For the daily case count to decrease, she says the community needs to be vigilant and take responsibility for themselves by following the recommendations. She says compliance would keep local healthcare systems from being overwhelmed and keep schools open. Moving back to Phase One does not directly affect Dodge County schools, which have been actively collaborating with the local public health department and will continue to follow their individual plans with county guidance.

(Green Bay) A teacher at Bay Port High School near Green Bay has died from COVID-19. Administrators with the Howard-Suamico School District said 47-year-old Heidi Hussli was in class last week, but became ill over the weekend. In-person and online classes at Bay Port will be canceled Monday and Tuesday, but the school will be open for anyone looking for support. Hussli taught German at Bay Port for 16 years. She’s survived by her husband and son. -WRN

(Juneau) Dodge County is again looking to secure grant funding to help expand the county’s broadband capabilities. Last year, the county created a broadband workgroup to investigate existing and potential broadband access opportunities, evaluate obstacles for broadband infrastructure, explore county investment to secure and further enhance broadband access, among other things. Two internet-based firms, Bertram Communications and Netwurx Internet, have partnered with the group to help apply for a 2020 PSC Broadband Expansion grant. $48-million-dollars was dedicated to broadband expansion grants in Governor Tony Evers biennial budget with $24-million available in the initial round of funding. In March, the county learned that they were not awarded funding during the first grant cycle. During the Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee meeting this week, a resolution was advanced to the full county board to support applying for round two funding. Due to the competitiveness of the grant, the resolution also recommends allocating $100-thousand-dollars for 2021 and 2022 to leverage both internet firms, contributions and available grant funding. The Dodge County Board will vote on the resolution at their meeting next week.

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers’ Secretary of Workforce Development has resigned. The departure of Caleb Frostman from leadership of the department comes at the request of the Democratic governor, as DWD continues to work on a significant backlog of unemployment claims. While blaming legislative Republicans for a system unprepared to handle unprecedented claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, Evers said extended waits for families to receive needed benefits are unacceptable. Deputy Corrections Secretary Amy Pechacek will serve as interim DWD Secretary. -WRN

(Madison) More people are returning to work in Wisconsin.  The latest numbers from the state’s Department of Workforce Development show unemployment fell in Wisconsin last month, down to six-point-two percent. That’s still twice what the state’s jobless rate was before the coronavirus pandemic, but less than half the unemployment rate from April. -WRN

(Hubbard) A Dodge County judge has determined that a Mayville man charged with running from authorities is not competent to stand trial. Kyle Wiese allegedly drove just under 100-miles-per-hour as he eluded deputies during the July pursuit. Authorities eventually called off the chase as Wiese fled into Fond du Lac County. Relatives reportedly assisted handing the 22-year-old over to law enforcement.

(Eau Claire) The White House is confirming Mike Pence will be returning to Wisconsin for his fifth visit to the state this year. Pence is scheduled to make a campaign stop at Midwest Manufacturing in Eau Claire Thursday.  He is expected to talk about the importance of manufacturing to the U-S.  It will be the Republican’s third straight week with a trip to the Badger State.  He was just in Janesville earlier this week, made a stop in La Crosse.   He also appeared in Ripon in July and Darien in August. -WRN

(Madison) U-S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to deliver a foreign policy speech at the Wisconsin Capitol Wednesday inside the Senate Chamber. It will be the first time a sitting Secretary of State has delivered remarks there in at least 40 years.  It will also be the first time Wisconsin lawmakers have gathered at the Capitol since April – when they passed a coronavirus relief bill.  Pompeo will speak the day before Pence is in the Badger State. It’s another indication of Wisconsin’s importance to the presidential election as a battleground state, winnable by either side. -WRN