TUE AM News: Dane County to start reopening today; eCourt Reporters connects talent to the legal system more efficiently

— The Dane County public health department issued an order to move into phase 1 of its reopening plan, effective today at 8 a.m.

“We are receiving hundreds of test results each day and have analyzed additional data from the community testing site at the Alliant Energy Center,” said Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janel Heinrich, in a statement. “We feel confident that our county can take the next step in the reopening process at this time.”

The first phase, requiring physical distancing, includes: reopening all businesses, such as restaurants, gyms and retail establishments, to 25 percent capacity with certain public health requirements; indoor gatherings at commercial facilities of 50 people or less; indoor gatherings at a private residence of 10 people or less; outdoor gatherings of 50 or less; and reopening public courts and fields.

The order notes that select businesses and activities with high risk for disease transmission, such as K-12 schools and public playgrounds, are still closed.

According to a release, the county will remain in Phase 1 for a minimum of 14 days, which is one incubation period for COVID-19. If certain criteria are met, the department will issue a Phase 2 order. If criteria are not met for the second phase, then the data will be reassessed regularly until the county is ready.

“It’s important to note that there is no end date for phase 1 as of right now,” said Heinrich. “We’re looking at an absolute minimum of 14 days in that phase, but the reality is that we could be in it for longer. Our data and metrics will inform the end date to Phase 1.”

Dane County Executive Joe Parisis says he’s confident the county’s “data-driven response” to the COVID-19 pandemic is the “right approach.”

“We have worked hard to listen to our business owners and support their reopening in a way that also supports the public’s health,” he said.

Read the order: https://publichealthmdc.com/documents/2020-05-22_Order_3.pdf

See the metrics: https://publichealthmdc.com/coronavirus/data#metrics 

— eCourt Reporter provides a one-of-a-kind technology that allows for a thorough selection of court reporters who are needed in the legal world, easing the difficulty in trying to efficiently find well-qualified candidates. 

This Wisconsin-based marketplace allows law firms, government entities and court reporting agencies to directly schedule court reporters and legal videographers with live search capabilities across all 50 states.

Karen Renee, president of eCourt Reporter and a reporter herself, got the idea from her brother.  After using the popular mobile application, Uber, a lightbulb went off in his head. What if the searchability for legal personnel could instantly be done in a similar way? 

In 2017, Renee and Vice President Judy Gerulat launched eCourt Reporter. Since starting, eCourt has been able to effectively reach members of the legal community through its unique technology-based platform. 

Renee views eCourt as a one-of-a-kind operation. She said it’s the first in the industry to successfully do the full process of searching, selecting, scheduling and invoicing. 

Scheduling court reporters for specific proceedings can be time consuming. Users in the legal world are constantly waiting for responses on various platforms. However, eCourt’s technology eliminates the wait time, making it efficient for all users.

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1452310 

— DHS reports the state’s COVID-19 death toll at 514 — up four since Sunday.

The state’s number of confirmed cases also rose since Sunday — by 307 — bringing the cumulative case count to 15,584. The positive tests results account for 4.1 percent of the total tests received Monday, continuing the steady decline in positive tests since Saturday’s peak of 6.8 percent. 

An estimated 59 percent of those who tested positive have recovered from COVID-19, while 3 percent of patients have died. Thirty-eight percent are still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis.

“What we know now that we didn’t know a month ago is that most people who convalesce from COVID-19 do develop some antibodies,” said Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin in a webinar hosted Friday by the Regional Leadership Council. 

“There’s some hope and promise that those antibodies might be neutralizing,” he said. “But we don’t know how durable that immunity is going to be, and we don’t know in fact if a vaccine will give us sustainable immunity or even short-term immunity. Those need to be worked out on the fast track if we want to have a vaccine for the middle of 2021.”

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (276), Brown (32), Dane (26), Racine (25), Waukesha (25), Kenosha (22), Rock (16), Walworth (13), Grant (11), Ozaukee (11), Outagamie (7), Fond du Lac (5), Clark (4), Richland (4) and Washington (4).

Door, Jefferson, Sauk and Sheboygan counties report three deaths each. Marinette County reports two deaths.

Adams, Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Columbia, Dodge, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Polk, Waupaca, Winnebago and Wood counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: https://www.wispolitics.com/wisconsin-coronavirus-resources/ 

— Sometimes during a time of technological innovation, people forget to incorporate tradition in their ideas. For Jack Ryan, he began by looking at a traditional gated entryway and wondering how it could become better.

Ryan, founder of Last Lock, has developed a “smart lock” that is able to give people a more secure and advanced lock, while keeping the traditional look and function of a normal deadbolt. The lock is designed with “smart” software features that give the lock a variety of uses.

He found inspiration from a tangled string of locks on a gate on East Washington Avenue in Madison. When walking home one day, he snapped the picture below. 

The photo shows “a very practical system called a ‘daisy chain lock,’” explained Ryan. “It is commonly found on construction sites and utility plants, and it allows a select number of people access without having to copy and share keys. Additionally, it is easy to add another user to the system by simply adding another lock to the chain.”

While Ryan noted that the daisy chain is convenient, it occurred to him that the system has the same weakness as any other chain — it will always fail at the weakest link, or in this case the weakest lock. 

“The unique solution I devised to solve this problem, not just in padlocks but in all locks, is the driving force behind Last Lock,” he said.

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1452314 

— Hospitalizations in the state seem to be on their way down with 388 COVID patients in hospitals statewide.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s dashboard, that’s down 11 patients from Sunday and 28 from its most recent spike on Friday. However, it’s still up from a week ago. 

“The most important metric for us to follow in terms of COVID-19 is hospitalizations and ICU utilization,” according to Dr. John Raymond, the president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Of the state’s 15,584 confirmed cases, 15 percent have been hospitalized and 3 percent have received intensive care, according to DHS.

DHS reports that 281 of the total COVID patients are in southeastern Wisconsin and less than 50 patients in each of the six other regions of the state. 

And Wisconsin appears to have an adequate supply of beds and ventilators, according to WHA.

ICU beds immediately available in the state number 399 out of 1,434 total in Wisconsin; intermediate care beds — 194 out of 878; surgical beds — 1,626 out of 7,215; and isolation beds — beds in negative pressure rooms meant for isolating patients — 1,165 out of 1,974.

Statewide, hospitals have a total of 1,275 ventilators and 307 ventilated patients, “stable and adequate,” according to Raymond.

PPE supplies are still lagging, but “adequate,” according to Raymond. The WHA data shows that 31 hospitals in the state have seven days or less supply of N95 masks, 34 have a limited supply of gowns and 29 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

— DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman called for increased funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to boost broadband in Wisconsin during a webinar hosted by the Regional Leadership Council.

“The things that make strong commerce possible for everyone, for small business for entrepreneurs, for big business in the state of Wisconsin even for our students… broadband is such a necessity, it’s not a luxury anymore in 2020,” Frostman said.

He noted the pandemic has highlighted the urgency of continuing broadband expansion in Wisconsin. 

“Whether it’s just filing for unemployment insurance online or trying to get intricate training for a new job or a new industry, it’s still a glaring hole in Wisconsin’s economy, in certain parts of our state,” he said.

Without compromising the quantity and quality of jobs in Wisconsin, Frostman said DWD and its training partners are thinking about what training will look like coming out of this pandemic. He specifically noted apprenticeships such as plumbing that “have been going extremely well on a remote basis.”

But in order to make these investments, the U.S. Department of Labor will have to change its funding formulas so  Wisconsin can get ahead, according to Frostman.

“One of the issues with the DOL funding for workforce programming is that you get some of these big windfalls during recessions or pandemics, but then as the economy improves, which is a really great time to make investments in your infrastructure and your IT programming, those dollars dry up,” he said.

The way the distribution formula works, according to Frostman, is that in a better economy, DWD gets less funding. But when there is a pandemic or recession, the dollars go to temporary expenses to deal with the crisis, not long-term infrastructure investment. 

“Our biggest restraint is that we’re operating on a 50-year-old based benefit system,” he said. “It’s frustrating, for lack of better words. I’m hopeful that there’s a sense of urgency and enough visibility… that there would be a more equitable funding formula.”

That funding would go toward things like broadband that would prepare Wisconsin for the next pandemic or recession. 

“That would be a really helpful change in DOL’s funding for workforce agencies across the nation,” said Frostman. “We’re hopeful that that sense of urgency remains, that we can get Wisconsin built out with adequate productivity across our state.”


# Wisconsin saw one of the largest unemployment rate increases in the country in April https://biztimes.com/wisconsin-saw-one-of-the-largest-unemployment-rate-increases-in-the-country-in-april/

# Travel infrastructure to likely see long-lasting effects from pandemic https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/05/25/travel-infrastructure-to-likely-see-long-lasting-e.html



– Wisconsin’s first bio-secure yellow perch hatchery celebrates first harvest https://www.wpr.org/wisconsins-first-bio-secure-yellow-perch-hatchery-celebrates-first-harvest

– Clucking to catch up https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/05/25/clucking-to-catch-up/ 

– Wisconsin cheese markets respond to reduced COVID-19 restrictions https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/05/24/wisconsin-cheese-markets-respond-to-reduced-covid-19-restrictions/


– New construction equipment technician apprenticeship program launched https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/sponsor-story/wi-workforce-dev/2018/12/03/wisconsin-dept-workforce-development-construction-equipment-technician-apprenticeship-program/2191502002/


– How coronavirus is affecting ‘the experience economy’ https://www.wpr.org/how-coronavirus-affecting-experience-economy

– Badger Bounce Back criteria still a resource for reopening businesses, Lt. Governor Barnes says https://biztimes.com/badger-bounce-back-criteria-still-a-resource-for-reopening-businesses-lt-governor-barnes-says/


– Evers promises new UW Regents after board members with expired terms took votes https://www.wpr.org/evers-promises-new-uw-regents-after-board-members-expired-terms-took-votes


– Wisconsin Conservation Congress doubles response record with online spring hearings https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-conservation-congress-doubles-response-record-online-spring-hearings


– After ‘worst financial month ever,’ hospitals take out credit lines as safety valve: Expert https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/05/25/hospitals-take-out-credit-lines-as-safety-valve.html

– Rural background helps mental health expert connect with farmers https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/05/25/rural-background-helps-mental-health-expert-connect-with-farmers/ 

– Rural communities face unique COVID-19 challenges https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/05/25/rural-communities-face-unique-covid-19-challenges/

– Dunn County order related to virus extended https://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/dunn-county-order-related-to-virus-extended/article_6f93c3cf-f3df-558f-b9ad-f24307c07984.html

– Wisconsin inmates fear overcrowded prisons during pandemic https://www.leadertelegram.com/news/state/wisconsin-inmates-fear-overcrowded-prisons-during-pandemic/article_576c86f4-5a28-5440-9559-5175fdc89379.html


– Harley-Davidson reopening factories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania https://www.wpr.org/harley-davidson-reopening-factories-wisconsin-pennsylvania 

– Manufacturing defines Wisconsin. How has Covid-19 changed it? https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/05/25/manufacturing-defines-wisconsin-how-has-covid-19.html


– CNN cancels plans for studios, dining at Turner Hall during Milwaukee DNC: Witt https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/05/22/cnn-cancels-plans-for-studios-dining-during-dnc.html?iana=hpmvp_mil_news_headline


– Assembly Majority Leader talks about long term care facilities and opening the state https://www.wpr.org/assembly-majority-leader-talks-about-long-term-care-facilities-and-opening-state


– Luxury apartment development in Waukesha could receive $7 million in city help https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/05/24/luxury-apartment-in-waukesha-could-get-7-million.html


– Reopening amid COVID-19 requires investment for fitness clubs, studios https://biztimes.com/reopening-amid-covid-19-requires-investment-for-fitness-clubs-studios/


– New app helps Wisconsin farmers, researchers track wild bee populations https://www.wpr.org/new-app-helps-wisconsin-farmers-researchers-track-wild-bee-populations 


– Steve Baas named board chair of VISIT Milwaukee https://biztimes.com/steve-baas-named-board-chair-of-visit-milwaukee/

– New definition of tourism in a Covid-19 world has state agency pushing local https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/05/25/redefining-tourism-in-a-post-covid-19-world.html


<i>See these and other press releases: 

http://wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82 </i>