THU AM News: PariRange contact tracing device on the market; Advent Tool & Manufacturing relocates to Kenosha County from Illinois

— EmbedTek, LLC, a Waukesha-based computer systems and softwares manufacturer, announced it has begun production and is accepting orders for a peer-to-peer social distancing and contact tracing device.

The PariRange system can be used by businesses to support the health and safety of their workforce and control spread if an infection does occur. 

“PariRange can help prevent outbreaks in facilities by quickly and accurately identifying close contacts. Those employees can then be tested and isolated,” EmbedTek CEO Dan Aicher said. “PariRange can also help in reinforcing social distancing in the workplace. We’re more than three months into this pandemic and social distance fatigue or complacency can creep into employee habits. PariRange will diligently provide people a reminder to maintain the proper distance and allow companies to monitor the overall adherence.”

PariRange collects and communicates data between contact tracing devices worn by employees. When an employee comes within six feet of another device, PariRange sends a vibration alert. Date and duration of close contacts are recorded and stored in the user’s device for up to three weeks. The data is viewed through the PariRange Log Reader, which can be connected to a computer via USB or placed throughout a facility to pull data from devices automatically as an employee walks by. 

According to EmbedTek, should illness occur, it’s easy to identify employees who have had close contact with the infected individual. This allows businesses to take action quickly and follow recommended protocols to curtail infection spread.

— Advent Tool & Manufacturing, Inc. is relocating its headquarters and production operation from Illinois to Kenosha County’s Salem Business Park.

“We are proud to call Wisconsin our new home,” said Advent President Jim Hartford. “The state is an ideal location for our business, providing a stable and business-friendly environment to support our growth plans. We are excited to write Advent’s next chapter in Wisconsin and to join the impressive list of manufacturers already in the state.”

Advent engineers and manufactures high-precision tooling products sold to customers worldwide in a variety of industries from transportation to electrical, from defense to telecommunications. 

The company will occupy 25,000 feet of space in a new building currently under construction in the Village of Salem Lakes’ industrial park. Advent expects to employ 23 workers at the Salem Lakes location by 2022. The company’s workforce consists primarily of machinists.

Salem Business Park is located 10 miles west of I-94. To date, 26 acres are developed or under development, leaving 40 acres for future projects. Advent is the second company from Illinois to relocate to the park, joining Vonco Products, which relocated in 2017. 

“The Salem Business Park was developed with companies like Advent in mind,” said Heather Wessling Grosz, vice president of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, which was among the lead partners in recruiting Advent to Wisconsin. “This new facility will be a showcase for customers and a safer, more productive environment for employees.”

Gov. Tony Evers in a release thanked Advent, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the Milwaukee 7 and local officials for their work in making the move happen.  

“This is great news for the Village of Salem Lakes and the southeast region of Wisconsin, bringing new opportunities to folks and communities in our state,” he said.

WEDC authorized up to $100,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years in support of the relocation. The actual amount of tax credits Advent will receive depends upon the number of jobs created during that period.

— WMC is calling for clarity from the Department of Health Services on whether the department would release information about businesses with employees who have tested positive for COVID-19.

A DHS spokeswoman earlier this week had said the agency has no immediate plans to list businesses with COVID-19 positives on their website.

In a press call with DHS Tuesday, a reporter asked what information DHS was planning to put on its website this week relating to businesses that had positive COVID-19 tests.

Secretary Andrea Palm said the department is working through a number of open records requests related to outbreaks in businesses and had been discussing with partners around the state whether it should and how it might provide that information on its website. 

“Through those conversations we decided that we certainly would not be doing that this week,” she said. “We think that it’s important that obviously we continue to work through these open records requests and do what we need to do from that perspective and just continue to talk with our partners about the way to move forward on this issue.”

WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer said yesterday that Palm’s comment seemed to open the door again for publishing information about businesses. He thinks that would cause more economic damage to employers on the list “while doing nothing to improve public health.” 

“In light of Sec. Palm’s comments, WMC and our members once again urge DHS not to publish this information,” Bauer said.

A DHS spokeswoman reinstated yesterday the department has “no immediate plans to list businesses with COVID-19 positives on our website” and noted that the timestamp — “this week” — Palm gave was in direct relation to the reporter’s question. 

Get more in this week’s “WisBusiness: The Podcast” with Bauer tomorrow morning. 

— DHS is currently conducting 608 facility-wide investigations across the state, 14 less than last week.

Non-health care workplace investigations account for 266 of the current investigations, followed by 190 happening in long-term care facilities.

Long-term care facilities in the state are reporting 342 deaths due to COVID-19, making up 42 percent of total deaths in Wisconsin due to the virus. These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes.

There are 62 active nursing home investigations.

Twenty-nine of the investigations are in group housing facilities including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes, which have seen 40 COVID-19 deaths, or 5 percent of the state’s total.

Two hundred and fourteen of the state’s COVID-19 deaths were not linked to group housing facilities, and 211 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.

DHS is also conducting investigations in health care facilities (18) and “other settings” (105). A majority of the investigations are taking place in Milwaukee (116), Brown (90), Waukesha (54), Dane (47) and Kenosha (45) counties.

There have been a total of 1,035 investigations, with 427 investigations closed. An investigation is considered closed and removed from the DHS listing 28 days after the last positive case was confirmed.

Click here to see the nursing homes under investigation and a breakdown of investigations by county: 

— COVID-19 hospitalizations number 274, up 37 patients from last week and on the rise in Wisconsin after weeks of stability. 

COVID-19 inpatients with pending tests number 150, up from last week, and COVID-19 ICU patients number 74, up from yesterday. 

About 63 percent of Wisconsin’s total patients — 173 — are in southeastern Wisconsin, which is also seeing an uptick. 

Of the state’s confirmed cases, 11.1 percent have been hospitalized and 2 percent of COVID-19 cases have received intensive care, according to DHS. Both of those numbers have been declining. 

The department also reports that 37 or fewer patients are in each of the six other public health regions of the state.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association and DHS data show that statewide, Wisconsin seems to have a stable and adequate supply of beds and ventilators. Hospitals have a total of 1,253 ventilators and 307 ventilated patients.

ICU beds immediately available in the state number 341 out of 1,467 total in Wisconsin; intermediate care beds — 105 out of 847; surgical beds — 1,056 out of 7,180; and isolation beds — beds in negative pressure rooms meant for isolating patients — 920 out of 1,909.

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

Out of the 133 hospitals the WHA is tracking, 28 have a seven-day or less supply of face shields, 42 have a limited supply of goggles, 29 have limited N95 masks, 30 have a limited supply of gowns and 34 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

Health care workers account for about 9 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 3,017, 60 more than Tuesday.

Last week, health care workers accounted for three of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the state’s Department of Health Services. Meanwhile, 278 deaths listed unknown occupations.

See the WHA hospital dashboard here: 

— The state reports 598 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative case count to 33,154 and “active cases” to 6,037. 

The seven-day average for daily cases is 565, up from Tuesday’s 557.

The number of recovered patients number 25,758 or 79 percent, while 2.5 percent of patients have died. Active cases are defined as those still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis and account for 18 percent of the confirmed cases.

The percentage of positive tests per total tests is 5.6 percent, up from 3.9 percent Tuesday.

In a Madison Rotary Club meeting yesterday, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk noted the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a disportionate toll among minority Wisconsinites.

African Americans account for 6 percent of the state’s population, but account for 17 percent of total cases and 24 percent of total deaths. Likewise, people with Hispanic or Latino ethnicity represent 6 percent of the state’s population, 30 percent of cases and 11 percent of deaths, Willems Van Dijk said.

Wisconsin is in “better shape” than other states when it comes to daily testing capacity, she said. While the state is averaging between receiving up to 12,000 tests per day — today the state received 10,736 total tests — Wisconsin has a capacity for 19,032 tests per day. 

“We are working with our labs across the state to continue to build that supply,” she said. “We need to continue to keep our eye on this because we know as the fall comes with increasing symptoms — when we start to see influenza and common colds again and as we start to see increasing symptoms as people come back into congregate settings like schools — we’ll need more tests.”  

— Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death toll rose by two, bringing the count to 807.

Langlade County reported its first COVID-19 death. Washington and Waupaca counties reported one more death each. One death was removed from Milwaukee County’s count. 

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (397), Racine (65), Kenosha (44), Brown (42), Waukesha (39), Dane (32), Rock (24), Walworth (18), Washington (17), Ozaukee (15), Grant (13), Winnebago (13), Waupaca (11), Outagamie (9), Clark (7), Fond du Lac (6), Dodge (5), Jefferson (4), Richland (4) and Sheboygan (4).

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

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

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 


# MCW’s Dr. John Raymond: Wisconsin is losing ground in COVID-19 fight 

# Nearly two-thirds of Wisconsin counties now have ‘high’ coronavirus activity levels

# Evers: Capitol will stay closed, state workers to wear masks

# Madison mayor recall effort officially underway



– Rebout appointed to Wisconsin DATCP board 

– Eagle River Cancels Annual Cranberry Fest 

– MOSES Organic Farming Conference will be virtual in 2021 


– UW-Madison’s Push To Get Students Voting 

– New Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences 


– Climate Change Would Limit Competition For Asian Carp If Introduced In Lake Michigan, Study Finds 

– Highly Invasive Plant Found in Wisconsin for Second Time 


– Wisconsin Cities Getting $6.3M In Grants To Help With Elections During Pandemic 

– Local Republicans urge Evers to use CARES funding to aid in backlogged unemployment claims 


– National Guard Offers More Testing After Oversight Prevents Analysis Of 142 Samples In Iron River 

– Understanding The Uptick In COVID-19 Cases 

– Broadstep Behavioral Health moving local office to West Allis  

– Chippewa County now considered “high risk” as COVID-19 cases jump 

– La Crosse County COVID-19 cases increase by 12 Tuesday 


– Hotels, Vendors Layoff Workers In Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay 


– Wisconsin City Of Columbus Will Remove Its Columbus Statue 


– Support For Black-Owned Businesses Rises As Communities Respond To Protests, Pandemic 


– Ryder Cup, Set For Kohler, Postponed Until 2021 Amid Coronavirus Pandemic 

– PGA of America, Kohler wanted to keep Ryder Cup in Wisconsin 


– Will Facebook’s salary-by-location move set precedent for tech? 


– Local wineries offer wide open spaces to kick back, chill out in a stressful summer 

– Camping for groups of up to 50 to open next week at Devil’s Lake, Mirror Lake despite rising cases 


– State highway budget may handle I-94 rebuild after Zoo Interchange is done in 2023 


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