MON AM News: Partita shifts focus to face shields during pandemic; Coronavirus deaths, positive tests continue to rise

— A Wisconsin company that 3D prints violins is producing face shields during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Partita was founded in 2019 by husband and wife duo April Weir-Hauptman and David Hauptman. Weir-Hauptman brings her business expertise to the table. She earned her master’s in business administration from UW-Madison and has extensive experience in company development and growth. Hauptman provides expertise in 3D printing and illustration, ultimately creating the design for the company’s novel violin.

About 180,000 violins are sold each year in the United States. The violins produced by Partita are less expensive than their handmade wooden counterparts. Traditional violins used by students or ensemble performers can range from $500 to $1,500 or more. Partita sells the company’s violins for $369 each. The parts are also cheaper to produce and replace if damaged.

The lower price of the 3D-printed violins plays a large role in Partita’s aim to make the instrument more affordable and accessible. With this goal in mind, the company has focused on partnering with local schools. The relatively low cost of the 3D-printed violins makes them an inexpensive option for children whose parents can’t afford the high cost or rental prices of traditional violins, according to Weir-Hauptman.

“There have been many studies that show learning a new instrument provides many benefits to the learner, such as increased coordination, better memory, and (offers) a way that one can feel worth,” Weir-Hauptman explained. “We believe that price should not be a roadblock to all kids having at least the opportunity to learn about music and try to play an instrument.”

Due to the pandemic, Partita has temporarily shifted its business focus. The Waunakee-based company is now using its 3D printer to create face shields for local healthcare workers.

“I recruited a team of over 40 printer volunteers and together we created over 2,000 shields in just three weeks,” Weir-Hauptman said. “We know this is a part-time diversion to create these (personal protective equipment), but it was easy for us to do and we wanted to do our part to help out during this time.”

See more: 

— More coronavirus deaths and a spike in COVID-19 positive test results are being reported in Wisconsin. 

The Department of Health Services reports the state COVID-19 death toll at 339 — up 12 people from Friday’s count.

Confirmed cases rose 650 since Friday, bringing total confirmed cases to 7,964. Brown and Milwaukee counties are the largest hotspots in the state and have been driving many of the new cases. The only counties with over 1,000 confirmed cases are Brown and Milwaukee counties with 1,358 and 3,244, respectively. 

With data provided from DHS, found that Wisconsin’s share of positive cases per number of total tests was on its second day of incline Friday and at a new peak — higher than any peak in the last 14 days. 

The numbers show 11.7 percent of total tests came back positive on Saturday, followed by Sunday (9.7), Monday (7.6), Tuesday (8.6), Wednesday (6.9), Thursday (10.7) and Friday (12.7). 

— Wisconsin Hospital Association and DHS data show Wisconsin has an adequate supply of beds and ventilators, but PPE continues to be lacking.

As of Sunday, ICU beds immediately available in the state number 433 out of 1,433 total in Wisconsin; intermediate care beds — 218 out of 844; surgical beds — 1,824 out of 7,260; isolation beds — beds in negative pressure rooms meant for isolating patients — 1,195 out of 1,971.

Statewide, hospitals have a total of 1,280 ventilators and are using 315 of those for patients.

But 37 hospitals in the state have a seven days or less supply of N95 masks, 42 have limited supply of gowns and 37 hospitals are almost without paper medical masks. These numbers are down almost 100 in one month from the 129 hospitals that had dwindling supplies of these items on March 31. 

See WHA’s data and more coronavirus resources here: 

— DHS is conducting 187 facility-wide investigations for COVID-19, with 113 of those in the southeastern part of the state. 

Ninety-three of the investigations are in long-term care facilities where residents account for 8 percent of COVID-19 confirmed cases and 38 percent of deaths. 

Group housing facilities such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes account for 25 of those 187 investigations. Three percent of confirmed cases were tied to group housing facilities as well as 3 percent of deaths. 

Forty-nine percent of confirmed cases and 36 deaths are unknown to be in long-term or group housing facilities.

Eleven investigations are in health care facilities, 48 in work settings and 10 are listed as “other.”

You can find the DHS dashboard here with a breakdown of investigations by setting and region: 

— Despite a recent “remarkable increase” in testing capacity for COVID-19 in Wisconsin, rural parts of the state are still struggling with boosting test availability. 

“The increase in testing … that has not gotten to rural areas yet,” Dr. Lisa Dodson, campus dean for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s central Wisconsin location, told a WEDC webinar. “We have very limited rural testing capacity.” 

Dodson explained that most tests conducted in rural parts of the state are being sent elsewhere for processing, meaning results are typically delayed for multiple days. 

The state overall continues to make progress on the testing front, according to MCW President Dr. John Raymond. He noted Friday that testing capacity has increased to nearly 11,000 tests per day, “which is very close to reaching our goal of at least 85,000 tests per week,” as defined in the Badger Bounce Back plan for reopening the economy. 

Still, Dodson called for increased access to testing resources in rural areas, as well as better coordination and planning among health systems and hospitals that normally compete for the same patients. 

“We know that testing and our personal protective equipment will not last forever, and we need to address those shortages in rural areas on a more aggressive timeline if we’re going to safely reopen rural economies,” she said. 

— Under a proposed order from AG Josh Kaul, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Dairy Farmers of America would be required to sell two plants — one of which is in De Pere — within 30 days. 

According to a release from Kaul’s office, the lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois after DFA acquired the properties from Dean Foods while the large dairy producer was filing for bankruptcy. 

“Our supply chain must have robust competition to ensure a continued supply of milk to those who need it, and milk producers — who were facing a crisis in the dairy industry even before the coronavirus pandemic hit — need to be able to sell milk on fair terms,” said Kaul in a release. 

Along with the two plants, DFA would also be required to divest the intellectual property associated with them including the “Dean’s” name Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and nationwide licenses for the “TruMoo” and “DairyPure” brands. 

See the release: 


# Covid-19 steers health systems toward virtual revolution

# ‘Far-reaching’ ramifications of the coronavirus will leave a mark on the restaurant industry

# Bikes, booze, banners and board games profitable amid COVID-19 pandemic

# 85 employees at Patrick Cudahy plant have tested positive for COVID-19



– WBC offering summer beef promotion grants


– Another record year for state’s specialty cheese production

– March all milk prices dips to $18.10


– 96-unit condo project proposed in Kenosha


– Milwaukee tourism loses $52 million from cancellations and postponements due to Covid-19


– DNR asks anglers to ‘change their traditions’ during weekend fishing opener


– Bartolotta carefully aims for one shot at reopening


– Judge: Strip clubs should be eligible for emergency loans

– Anheuser-Busch wins latest round of beer wars against Molson


– MaskForce scales PPE production

– Palermo’s temporarily closes Milwaukee pizza plant after five employees test positive for COVID-19

– Husco leads MaskForce Consortium in Covid-19 relief efforts


– DATCP conducts over 1,100 recent food safety checks


– Goodwill of Southeastern Wisconsin to implement furloughs, pay reductions for up to 3,000 workers

– Greg Marcus on what a touchless movie theater experience could be

– Pop-up markets canceled by COVID-19 shift shopping experience online


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Wisconsin Historical Society: Offers free digital access to “Wisconsin: Our State, Our Story”

WBA: Testifies at today’s Wisconsin Assembly Hearing