THU AM News: Endless Frontier Act to revitalize, transform Midwest industries; DHS investigates 1,196 facilities statewide with COVID-19 cases

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher said a new bill he is pushing will not only revitalize industries, but transform them.

The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by the Green Bay Republican, calls for $100 billion to build resources in advancing science and technology research and development nationwide. 

It also proposes expansion of the National Science Foundation and $10 billion for regional technology hubs. Those hubs would help to launch companies, revive U.S. manufacturing and create jobs that jump-start communities.

“It’s also a matter of building off of our fundamental strengths as a state,” he told viewers of a virtual event. “We talk about the Wisconsin Idea… I think we need to think hard about how we revitalize and modernize the Wisconsin Idea, and so the Endless Frontier Act would be one part of that. We really have an opportunity right now… Wisconsin could position itself, if we got our act together, to be a destination of choice for a lot of top-level talent.”

Gallagher and U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., the legislation’s major co-sponsors, headlined part two of the “Shaping the Endless Frontier” series hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, UW-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Technology Council and Michael Best Strategies.

Khanna’s district is in the heart of Silicon Valley, yet he views the Endless Frontier Act as a benefit for the nation and the Midwest.

Read the full story at    

— Wisconsin small business owners can register for the Lieutenant Governor’s Small Business Academy conference, focused on providing entrepreneurs and startups with networking opportunities.

This event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 6-7 and from 8:30 a.m. until noon on Oct. 8.

“The Lieutenant Governor’s Conference on Small Business Development is an opportunity for new and aspiring business owners to find resources, opportunities and connections with other entrepreneurs,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will deliver the keynote address emphasizing the importance of small business to the state’s economy. The program will also include presentations by successful entrepreneurs and breakout sessions led by experts following two tracks: Starting Your Business, and Growing Your Business. 

This program is presented by WEDC in partnership with the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, the Wisconsin Procurement Institute, the Ethnic & Diverse Business Coalition, the Small Business Transportation Resource Center, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Register for the event: 

— DHS is conducting 48 more facility-wide investigations than last week. It’s now conducting 1,196 statewide.

Non-health care workplaces account for 448 of the current investigations, followed by 265 in long-term care facilities.

Long-term care facilities are reporting 434 deaths due to COVID-19, making up 35 percent of the state’s death count. That’s two more deaths since last week. 

These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes.

There are 104 active nursing home investigations.

About 90 percent of confirmed COVID-19 patients who have died in the state were age 60 or older.

Sixty-four of the investigations are in group housing facilities including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes, which have seen 49 COVID-19 deaths, one more than last week, or 4 percent of the state’s total.

Three hundred and ninety-two deaths are categorized as “unknown,” meaning they may or may not have occurred at these facilities. According to DHS, the unknown category exists because relevant information has only been collected since April 8.

The state is also conducting 251 investigations in “other settings,” 116 in educational facilities and 52 investigations in health care facilities. Counties with the highest numbers of investigations include: Milwaukee (182), Dane (103), Kenosha (103), Waukesha (97) and Brown (74).

See a breakdown of active public health investigations by county: 

— Gov. Tony Evers and Administration Secretary Joel Brennan yesterday released more than $36 million in funding for 42 public infrastructure and facility projects across the state.

The funding is awarded to local units of government as part of a competitive grant process for the 2020 Community Development Block Grants for Public Facilities program.

The grants will be used by local governments to assist with infrastructure and facility projects totaling more than $72 million. The projects include water, stormwater, and sanitary sewer improvements and replacement activities, as well as sidewalk and surface street projects.

This announcement comes a day after the American Society of Civil Engineers Wisconsin Section gave Wisconsin a “C” in the 2020 Infrastructure Report Card ranging from a “B” in energy to a “D+” in roads and transit.

“It is great to see Governor Evers and his administration’s decision to allot more than $36 million in grants for 42 public infrastructure and facility projects across Wisconsin,” ASCE Wisconsin Section President Ken Mika told “This will make a great impact on the communities that were given the grants.”

However, he added that the Legislature and guv’s office still need to work together toward long term investment in infrastructure.

“Grants provide short fixes to under invested infrastructure,” Mika cautioned. “Wisconsinites need long term solutions that include smart investing to enhance the performance and value of infrastructure projects so that they are most efficient and effective at maintaining our current economy and enabling us to grow into the future.”

More information regarding the infrastructure grants is available here:

A list of 2020 grant awardees, grant amounts and total project costs is available here:

Read a previous story on the state’s infrastructure grade:

— On the same day the Big Ten announced plans to resume a fall football season, UW-Madison reported its first student hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19.

Students and employees are not required to report hospitalizations or provide updates, but the university said it would report to its coronavirus dashboard any information it became aware of and could legally reveal.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank in a statement yesterday offered her support to both the student and the student’s family, adding that this hospitalization “should serve as a reminder to all of our students that COVID-19 can have serious complications no matter what age you are.”

“It’s incredibly important for everyone to follow the public health guidelines,” she said.

UW-Madison reported 47 new positive COVID-19 tests, two employees and 45 students. This brings the cumulative case count for students and employees to 2,209 since Aug. 23, and the rolling seven-day average to 163.6 daily positive cases.

— U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil said he believes Congress will eventually pass additional federal assistance for unemployment benefits.

But the Janesville Republican at a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce webinar yesterday told viewers he doesn’t think there will be a “rational landing spot” before the election as both parties remain divided over dollar figures and exactly what kinds of fiscal relief from the pandemic would even be necessary.

“Politically speaking, Congress needs something to force it to act,” he said. “I’ve been pushing that we need to step away from the sledgehammer and move more towards the scalpel.”

Steil touted efforts from moderates in both parties to draft a palatable COVID-19 relief package, but he also suggested any such deal actually becoming law in the near term would be “less likely than more likely.”

He said one sticking point in additional relief is the exact dollar figure for federal unemployment assistance. He said Dems are fighting to keep payments close to the original $600 per week because that amounts to about a $15 per hour wage.

But many Republicans, Steil included, are hesitant to continue federal payments at that amount because $600 per week on top of unemployment benefits in some states can lead to recipients getting more from the government than they earned while having a job.

He said the federal bonus means Wisconsin unemployment payments are closer to $24.25 per hour, a wage he said could serve as a disincentive to work because it’s higher than what most people seeking UI originally made.

— All Wisconsin counties but one rank “high” for COVID-19 activity, according to the state Department of Health Services. 

Price County ranks “medium” after being the only county to be “low” last week.

All seven healthcare emergency readiness coalition regions are seeing both an increased trend and a high burden of COVID-19 cases.

In terms of infection ratios, Milwaukee County has the state’s highest at 27.4 cases per 1,000 people. In one week, Milwaukee County added 870 COVID-19 cases to its count. The county has a cumulative total of 25,884 confirmed cases.

The second-highest infection ratio in the state is Brown County at 26.2 cases per 1,000 people. It added 750 cases in one week for a cumulative 6,817 confirmed cases. 

Iron County’s infection ratio is 23.3 per 1,000 people and cases number 136, an increase of five cases in one week. Walworth County has an infection ratio of 22.2 per 1,000 people and a cumulative total of 2,282 confirmed COVID-19 cases after adding 154 cases in one week. 

Racine (22.1), Kenosha (18.9), Forest (18.8), La Crosse (17), Trempealeau (16.7), Marinette (16.61), Dodge (16.55), Outagamie (16.2) and Waupaca (16.1) are the other counties that are above the state average infection ratio of 16.03 cases per 1,000 people.

See DHS’ data dashboard with county and HERC region breakdown here: 

— Wisconsin recorded 1,408 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, the seventh day over the past two weeks that the state had over 1,000 new confirmed cases in one day.

This brought the seven-day average for new confirmed cases to 1,340 from 1,261, a record-breaking figure.

The percent positive rate rose to 11.5 percent from 11 percent. This is after the state recorded 12,196 new test results. The seven-day percent positive average rose to 14.1 percent from 14 percent.

The new cases bring the cumulative case count in Wisconsin to 92,712. Meanwhile, 80.627 have recovered, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ coronavirus metrics.

Wisconsin reported eight new COVID-19 deaths yesterday bringing the death toll to 1,228. DHS reports that 1.3 percent of patients have died from the virus.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (518), Racine (94), Waukesha (85), Kenosha (65), Brown (59), Dane (41), Walworth (34), Rock (32), Washington (32), Outagamie (24), Winnebago (22), Waupaca (20), Grant (19), Ozaukee (19), Marathon (14), Sheboygan (13), Fond du Lac (12), Dodge (9), Clark (8), Jefferson (7), Marinette (7), St. Croix (7), Eau Claire (6) and Pierce (6).

Barron, Forest, Oconto and Richland counties report four deaths each, while Adams, Door, Portage, Sauk, Taylor and Wood counties report three deaths each.

Ashland, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Columbia, Green, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Monroe, Oneida, Polk, Trempealeau and Waushara counties report two deaths each.

Bayfield, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Menominee, Rusk, Sawyer, Vilas and Washburn counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— Wisconsin enjoys high health care value when key indicators of cost and quality are measured, according to a new study released yesterday by HC Trends.

“As Wisconsin residents face the upcoming election amid the continued uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, health care and its associated costs are top of mind for residents of the Badger State,” said Eric Borgerding, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association. “We are fortunate, as this report confirms, that Wisconsin has a stable, high quality, and accessible health care system that provides tremendous value to health care consumers.”

HC Trends, a research affiliate of BSG Analytics, looked at overall health care value from quality to access and efficiency to cost. HC Trends found that Wisconsin is consistently in the top tier of states for the quality of health care delivered and access to care. 

It also found that the state’s health systems use up to 10 percent fewer medical services than other states while consistently achieving some of the highest quality care in the country. Finally, health care premiums, which account for both unit price and utilization, have improved over time and are now close to or at the national average. 

“Here in Wisconsin, we have a long tradition of integrated care, which means care is better coordinated, aligned and efficient,” Borgerding said. “Studies that only take into account isolated cost indicators fail to consider what is unique about Wisconsin and ultimately only serve to reduce transparency and clarity about the true value of health care in Wisconsin.”

See the full study from HC Trends: 


# GE Healthcare plans to shift 1,500 jobs to Milwaukee County 

# Dairy Pricing and Policy Commission Act Introduced in Congress 

# Assembly leaders downplay possibility of GOP supermajority this fall



– Southern Wisconsin farmer: Corn silage now, soybeans soon 

– State Fair bringing back drive-thru in October with a fall special — pumpkin spice cream puffs 

– Virtual Hemp Field Day Happening September 18th 


– UW extends tuition refund deadline, sees minimal housing cancellations

– Marquette University looks to rezone high-profile site east of campus 


– DWD Will Not Ask Unemployment Insurance Recipients To Repay $300 Supplement 


– Milwaukee startup Steady Shot aims to ease the pain of insulin shots 

– Teletherapy practice offers free ‘self-care’ sessions to educators, first responders 


– Politics creates economic illusion in Houdini’s hometown


– Here’s how Milwaukee is handling restaurants, bars without approved safety plans 


– Kroger analysts unimpressed by company’s earnings. Here’s why. 


– Big Ten Reverses Course, Announces Plans For Fall Football Season


– Tommy Bartlett Show in Wisconsin Dells is closing permanently because of business losses


– Well Sampling Completed In Southwestern Wisconsin Study, But Questions Remain About Contamination 


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

WHA: Analysis of health care costs shows Wisconsin’s high health care value

Milwaukee Health Dept.: Restaurant and bar COVID-19 safety plans drop box available