MON AM News: State is on the verge of a grim milestone with 998 COVID-19 deaths; Roasters saw rise in online whole bean coffee sales during pandemic

— During the height of the shutdown, coffee shops across Wisconsin had to shut their doors or drastically reduce hours while offering curbside pickup. Consumers took to the internet to purchase their favorite beans and the correct machines to craft their own brew.

Two Wisconsin coffee roasters who operate shops, Colectivo and Barriques, both saw a rise in online whole bean coffee sales.

In April 2020, Madison-based Barriques’ web sales exploded, up 1,500 percent compared to April 2019. According to Co-owner Matt Weygandt, online business replaced what they lost from in-store purchases and then some.

“There was a large transition to people making coffee in their home,” Weygandt said. “All of our Chemex and AeroPress and so forth, they all basically sold out within the first three weeks of everything shutting down. Now, we’re seeing follow-up orders from the same people for coffee filters and replacement parts for their brewing apparatus.”

Colectivo not only saw an uptick in their web sales for whole bean coffee, but also through its wholesale grocery channel. 

“We very quickly introduced the 5-pound bag format for at-home use, as opposed to being a traditional wholesale format only. Customers really responded to this,” said Scott Schwebel, marketing director at Colectivo.

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— Health officials say a general relaxation of vigilance against the coronavirus is one reason the state is on the verge of a grim milestone — 1,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The state has recently experienced death counts averaging between eight and 12 per day reflecting the spread of COVID-19 that occurred four to six weeks ago, several Wisconsin health leaders and officials told 

The first half of July averaged under five deaths-per-day, according to data on the Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard.

“The death rate in Wisconsin was relatively steady from March through May, and dipped in June and early July,” said Medical College of Wisconsin President Dr. John Raymond. “Although it is difficult to ascribe cause and effect to a single intervention, it seems likely that the dip in deaths was a positive result of the Safer at Home order.”

Death rates have been rising over the past few weeks to the same levels the state experienced in May. Raymond attributed the trend to many factors including the lifting of the extended Safer at Home on May 13, Memorial Day celebrations, the Fourth of July holiday, protests, family summer gatherings and overall “generally relaxed vigilance.” 

Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide order limiting activities, shopping and socializing was in effect from March 25 to May 13, 13 days before it was set to expire. 

The Badger State is doing better than its neighbors at 17 deaths per 100,000 residents according to the CDC. Michigan is at 65 deaths followed by Illinois (62), Minnesota (30) and Iowa (29). But DHS has recently reported high COVID-19 activity in 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and medium levels of activity in the other six counties. No Wisconsin counties report low COVID-19.

“The increase in deaths reflects the increase in transmission that we’ve been seeing over the past month,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

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— The federal Health Resources & Services Administration has ranked Wisconsin’s critical access hospitals — lower-volume, rural health care facilities — third best in the nation for health care quality reporting and improvement measures. 

CAHs are key health care safety-net providers in Wisconsin’s rural areas. There are 58 statewide. HRSA annually recognizes top performing states that achieve the highest quality-related reporting rates and levels of quality improvement over the previous 12-month period. 

“Critical access hospitals in Wisconsin have been leaders in voluntarily reporting quality data,” said Beth Dibbert chief quality officer at Wisconsin Hospital Association. “Our CAHs perform better than the state and national scores in important areas such as patient satisfaction and infection rates.”

WHA President Eric Borgerding said that the announcement affirms what WHA already knows: “ “whether you live in rural or urban Wisconsin, patients can receive some of the best health care in the country right in their own community.”

Wisconsin came in behind just Virginia and South Carolina.

See the announcement here: 

— From the pandemic-ravaged ruins of Milwaukee’s hopes for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, calls are emerging to bring the quadrennial gathering back in 2024.

It’s not an organized movement, and even those who back the idea are far from unified about how to pursue it. But they are united in their desire to salvage some of the effort and the spirit that went into attracting Milwaukee’s first major-party national political convention, only to see the city’s moment in the spotlight snatched away by the relentless realities of the coronavirus.

Once expected to attract 50,000 people and generate about $200 million in economic impact, Milwaukee now won’t even see former Vice President Joe Biden accept the nomination.

“We worked so hard to get it here,” says Khary Penebaker, a Democratic National Committee member from Waukesha County. Losing practically all of the event to the virus is “not our fault” and “something we shouldn’t be punished for,” he adds.

As the pandemic forced increasing restrictions on travel, gathering and dining, Democrats first rescheduled the convention from July to August, then shifted most events online and told delegates to stay home, to the chagrin of local businesses that had been counting on the convention’s economic benefits. The final blow came Wednesday, when the party announced that neither Biden nor any other convention speakers would travel to Milwaukee.

Pabst Theater Group CEO Gary Witt was the first and most outspoken advocate for a do-over, tweeting on April 18, “The DNC in MKE should be 100% canceled. DNC should commit that the convention will happen in MKE in 2024. Anything else will be a crushing blow to MKE. Cancel and rebook.” He followed up with an April 20 guest opinion column in the Milwaukee Business Journal, arguing, “For the next six months, we should be focusing all of our attention on our recovery from the virus and not on putting on a scaled down convention.”

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# Trump takes executive action on economic relief

# Some Milwaukee businesses want to ‘repatriate’ donations to DNC as event shrinks

# Epic Systems Delays Mandatory Return To In-Person Work



– How Wisconsin Food Plants And The Government Failed To Protect Workers 

– Workers, advocates say Strauss fired meatpacking workers after COVID-19 safety complaints 

– Social media pictures might send the wrong farm safety message 

– State Fair Cream Puffs Traveling Around Wisconsin This Week 

– Rented Land Fetches Roughly $150 Per Acre 


– Wisconsin’s arts and culture industry among the hardest hit sectors by COVID-19, report says 

– In these neighborhoods, the jobless rate may top 30% 

– The Economic Impact Of Lapsed Unemployment Benefits In Wisconsin 


– College pledges come with a twist as schools struggle to contain students, Covid-19 


– Here’s where the city of Milwaukee sent its restart program grants 


– Foxconn views Mount Pleasant as base to take over U.S. data server market 


– Drug And Alcohol Use Up During Coronavirus Pandemic, DHS Data Suggests 

– Wisconsin reaches 5,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations since pandemic began


– Northwestern Mutual commits $2 million to Milwaukee neighborhood organizations 


– Wisconsin exports on pace for $2.45 billion drop this year 

– Inpro’s culture fosters healthy employee environment, customer demand in times of pandemic 


– Twin Disc considering consolidation of Racine facilities 


– Trump reinstates tariff on Canadian aluminum 


– ‘Foot traffic just isn’t there’: How Milwaukee-area malls are changing to survive  


– Small-business owners are wary as relief program ends 


– Green Bay Packers to go without fans for first two games of season 

– ESPN: Big Ten close to postponing or canceling football, fall sports 


– Milwaukee’s Sift Healthcare raises $2.8M to expand AI-based payment platform 

– Three firms give face to Covid-19 testing 


– Viewers being installed around city give look into Milwaukee’s past 

– Milwaukee hotel occupancy levels off as Covid-19 pandemic continues 

– Milwaukee DNC convention discloses three Covid-19 positive tests 


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

– Wisconsin Hospital Association: State’s critical access hospitals ranked third best nationally for quality efforts