MON AM News: Opioid addiction worsens due to pandemic; Madison launches “Streatery Program” to benefit State Street restaurants, retail

— While the attention of media, elected officials and community leaders has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, another crisis — opioid addiction — has worsened.

From January to May of this year, Wisconsin Department of Health Services data show that the state’s suspected opioid overdoses number 2,739. That number represents a 48 percent increase from 1,852 the same time last year.

“The opioid crisis is happening within a pandemic,” said Mary Henningfield, principal investigator with Wisconsin Voices for Recovery. “Even before COVID started in January, there has been an increase (in suspected overdoses) every month over 2019. We do hear frequently that there is definitely an uptick in the need for services.”

One legislative champion of measures to curb addiction agrees the shutdown hurt those who were suffering from addiction and other issues.

“Understandably, COVID kind of took the focus. But our response to it unfortunately, in my opinion, actually probably made the opioid crisis, mental health crisis, drug addiction crisis… suicide actually worse because the response was: basically shut down all nonemergency type procedures,” said Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette. “You have to make sure that the cure isn’t worse than the disease, and unfortunately for some of our most vulnerable I’m afraid it might have been.”

Wisconsin Voices for Recovery is within UW-Madison’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Funded primarily through DHS, the addiction advocacy organization works with 11 recovery community organizations statewide to provide peer support. Before COVID-19, the organization planned to do a lot of community outreach, primarily in communities of color, as part of a recent grant. 

Read the full story at 

— The city of Madison will close State Street to vehicles so restaurants and retailers can expand their space for pedestrians.

As part of its “Streatery Program,” the city will close State Street to all vehicular traffic for weekends starting July 3 through Aug. 23 to help restaurants and retailers take advantage of a full pedestrian street — “all while maintaining good practices to prevent community spread of COVID-19,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway.  

“The Streatery program has become a lifeline for many of our cherished local businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. 

See the release: 

— Applications for the Wisconsin Farm Support Program, which is administered by the Department of Revenue, are due tonight at midnight.

Payments will total $1,000-$3,500 per eligible farmer based on a sliding scale to help the state’s agriculture industry adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Apply here: 

— Wisconsin had 11 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday — none yesterday — bringing the state’s death toll to 777. 

Milwaukee County accounted for eight new deaths while Kenosha County had two, and Grant County saw one new death.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (389), Racine (61), Kenosha (43), Brown (42), Waukesha (38), Dane (32), Rock (23), Walworth (18), Ozaukee (15), Washington (15), Grant (13), Winnebago (11), Outagamie (8), Clark (6), Fond du Lac (6), Waupaca (6), Dodge (5), Jefferson (4), Richland (4) and Sheboygan (4).

Door, Forest, Marinette and Sauk counties report three deaths each. Adams, Buffalo and Calumet counties report two deaths each.

Bayfield, Burnett, Columbia, Eau Claire, Green, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Polk, St. Croix and Wood counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— The percentage of positive COVID tests rose to 7.1 percent, the highest percentage since May 10. 

But the state saw 457 new confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday, which is on its way down after the past four days of high counts.

The new cases bring the cumulative count to 26,747. The state reported 6,481 tests yesterday, far from the state’s daily testing capacity of 18,425 tests. 

The number of recovered patients number 21,953 or 79 percent, while 3 percent of patients have died. Active cases, cases still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis, number 18 percent.

— COVID-19 hospitalizations are stable at 251 patients. 

COVID-19 ICU patients number 93 and and COVID-19 inpatients with pending tests number 145, both counts relatively stable over the past seven days.

About 66 percent of Wisconsin’s total patients — 166 — are in southeastern Wisconsin, also stable.

Of the state’s confirmed cases, 12 percent have been hospitalized — a number that continues to decline. And 3 percent of COVID-19 cases have received intensive care, according to DHS.

The department also reports that 33 or fewer patients are in each of the six other public health regions of the state.

WHA data show that statewide, Wisconsin seems to have a stable and adequate supply of beds and ventilators. Hospitals have a total of 1,122 ventilators and 277 ventilated patients.

Hospitals, however, continue to lack personal protective equipment for health care workers.

The WHA data show that 27 hospitals have a seven-day or less supply of face shields, 39 have a limited supply of goggles, 32 have limited N95 masks, 33 have a limited supply of gowns and 36 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

Health care workers account for about 9 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 2,609.

See the WHA dashboard here: 


# Madison Protester Charged With 2 Federal Counts Of Extortion

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# Black Lives Matter Protesters Interrupt Kenosha Police Rally



– Ad boycott of Facebook keeps growing 


– Online Portal Now Available For CFAP 


– Associated Bank CEO on federal Covid-19 programs, how the pandemic could shape banking 


– With unemployment offices busy, recovery seems a ‘long haul’ 


– Extra $600 in unemployment benefits expires July 25, and there’s no new help in the works 

– Survey: Wisconsin businesses beat national average for PPP access  


– Wisconsin Sees Uptick In Positive Test Rate As Other States Combat New Coronavirus Outbreaks 

– Unproven Companies Received Contracts For Masks And Testing Equipment, Provided Flawed Products 

– Overdose-Related Death Rate Continues To Escalate In Milwaukee County 

– Churches weigh multitude of factors regarding outdoor services 

– 3 new cases of COVID-19 in northwestern Wisconsin on June 28 

– Wisconsin receives an F+ grade for handling of COVID-19 in prisons 

– Wisconsin Safety Council sees increased attention during Covid-19 pandemic 


– DNR Restarts Hunter Safety Courses In Face Of Lawsuit 

– SBA faces ‘parade’ of lawsuits over handling of PPP 


– Briggs & Stratton to move some production from Wauwatosa to New York State 

– Harley-Davidson cutting jobs in Tomahawk and Pennsylvania 


– Mostly virtual DNC prompts discussion about Milwaukee seeking 2024 convention 

– Most state GOPers voted absentee in April 

– More than 45 Wisconsin communities have protested against racial inequality; see them here 

– Wisconsinites split by party on police overhaul 

– Expert: Teens Taking Action Online Could Impact Election–teens-taking-action-online-could-impact-election 

– Community organizers adapt to COVID-19 to spur Milwaukee turnout in November 


– Couture developer says he’s secured enough equity for project 

– Report: Eau Claire is one of nation’s most livable small cities 

– Bucyrus campus redevelopment could bring more manufacturing, new uses like housing 


– Ron Johnson Says Wisconsin Should Consider Restrictions At Bars If COVID-19 Cases Spike 

– As Temperatures Increase, Many Pools Across The State Remain Closed Due To COVID-19 


– Brewers Exec Says Fan Cutouts Are A Possibility As MLB Prepares For Its Return 

– NCAA’s in-person recruiting ban extended through August 

– Bear Season Right Around The Corner 

– NBA’s league-leading Milwaukee Bucks resume play July 31 


– Tele-Medicine for Pets – a Service That Will Continue After COVID-19 


– Wausau-Area Rock Festival Billed As ‘Herd Immunity Fest’ To Move Forward Amid Pandemic 


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