TUE AM News: Pandemic brings home sales down, prices up; Corn reported “knee-high” in some areas of state

— The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on existing home sales in May, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

In its monthly analysis of home sales, WRA found that May home sales for the state fell by 25.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. Also in the analysis, median prices continued to rise, increasing 6.2 percent to $214,000 relative to May 2019.

Comparing the first five months of 2020 to the same period last year, WRA found that existing home sales slipped 5.5 percent, and the median price rose 7.9 percent to $205,000.

Southeastern Wisconsin had the least rise in median price and the greatest fall in home sales at a 30.5 percent drop for the month of May compared to last year.

The other five regions of the state were down between 20.2 and 25.5 percent since last May. Meanwhile, the western region of the state had the greatest rise in median price, and south- central Wisconsin had the least decline in home sales.

Sales went down and median prices went up for all regions, but each county in the state fared a little differently.

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/home-sales-fell-median-prices-continue-to-rise-compared-to-last-year-due-to-pandemic/ 

— Corn planting was complete and emerged at 99 percent — over three weeks ahead of last year — and early planted corn was already reported at knee-high in some areas.

Soybean planting was 99 percent complete, 24 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average. Soybeans emerged was 93 percent, three weeks ahead of last year and six days ahead of the average.

Both corn and soybeans were rated in the low 80 percentile good to excellent statewide, down a few percentage points from last week. 

This is after five and a half days of suitable fieldwork for the week ending June 21. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service yesterday, this was an ideal week for fieldwork. Dry, hot and breezy conditions early in the week allowed farmers to chop and bale hay while rains and thunderstorms over the weekend kept soil moistures in the adequate range for much of the state.

Oats emerged was 96 percent and headed was 40 percent, both roughly two weeks ahead of last year. Oats coloring was 2 percent, six days ahead of last year, and its condition was rated 81 percent good to excellent statewide.

Potato condition was rated 94 percent in good to excellent condition. 

Winter wheat was 74 percent headed, 13 percent turning color and rated 75 percent in good to excellent condition. 

The first cutting of alfalfa was reported as 92 percent complete, 16 days ahead of last year. All hay condition was reported 72 percent in good to excellent condition. Manure applications, spraying and a small amount of late planting were also reported.

— DATCP, the Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance and The Nature Conservancy released a new resource to help farmers increase conservation and collaboration with watershed groups.

The new guide is titled “Producer-Led Group Roadmap: Finding Success in Farmer-Led Watershed Organizations.” It’s intended for groups funded through DATCP’s producer-led watershed protection grant program or those functioning without state funding.

“Farmers are always working to improve in every area of their farm, and we are seeing a growing interest in new conservation practices and the farmer-led watershed group model,” said Lauren Brey, DSSA’s director of strategic partnerships and sustainability. “We want to help farmers and partners understand the key components to creating and maintaining an effective organization. This is another way for farmers to learn from each other and to see positive results.” 

According to a release, the roadmap guides groups through all of the necessary steps: setting goals, establishing membership requirements, securing DATCP and outside funding, tracking outcomes, documenting progress, establishing communications, developing work plans and reporting.  

“The Producer-Led Roadmap will help new and established groups be successful over the long term, create mechanisms for groups to measure their success, and ultimately strengthen our Producer-Led Watershed Protection Grant program,” said Sara Walling, division administrator of the Agricultural Resource Management Division at DATCP. 

Steve Richter, director of agricultural strategies with The Nature Conservancy, said he hopes the new guide will help Wisconsin farmers work together and learn from each other. 

“Producer-led groups have been very successful at helping farmers learn which conservation practices are working for each other and how to implement them on their farms to build soil health and protect clean water,” Richter said.

See the document: https://datcp.wi.gov/Documents/PLWPG-Roadmap.pdf 

— Scientists led by UW-Madison Prof. Yoshihiro Kawaoka found that prior infection with SARS-CoV-2 provides protection against reinfection and treatment with convalescent serum — antibody-bearing blood — limits virus replication in the lungs.

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the disease, COVID-19. As researchers nationwide examine whether plasma or sera from COVID-19 patients could be given to sick patients to aid in their recovery, Kawaoka’s team also extracted convalescent sera from previously sick hamsters and then pooled it. 

They infected new hamsters with the virus and then gave them antibody-laden sera either one day or two days following infection.

“Hamsters are good models for human influenza and SARS-CoV,” said Kawaoka, professor at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. “This is why we decided to study them with COVID-19. We wanted to see if the disease course is similar to humans in these animals from beginning to end.”

According to a release, the hamsters that received treatment within a day of infection had much lower amounts of infectious virus in their nasal passages and lungs than those given a mock treatment. Those that received sera on day two showed a less appreciable benefit, though they still had lower levels of virus in their respiratory organs compared to control animals.

“This shows us that convalescent sera, still experimental in human patients, may be part of an effective treatment for COVID-19,” Kawaoka said.

See the release: https://news.wisc.edu/hamsters-develop-protective-immunity-to-covid-19-and-are-protected-by-convalescent-sera/ 

— Eau Claire County saw its first COVID-19 death yesterday, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to 745. 

The number of recovered patients is now at an estimated 78 percent, while 3 percent of patients have died. Active cases, cases still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis, number 19 percent.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (371), Brown (39), Kenosha (39), Racine (58), Waukesha (38), Dane (32), Rock (23), Walworth (18), Ozaukee (15), Washington (13), Grant (12), Winnebago (11), Outagamie (8), Clark (6), Fond du Lac (6), Dodge (5), Waupaca (5), Jefferson (4), Richland (4) and Sheboygan (4).

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

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

— Plus, the state saw 249 new confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday. 

In addition to a decline in daily new cases, the percentage of positive tests fell to 3.8 percent from 4.6 percent Sunday.

The new cases bring the cumulative count to 25,068. The state reported 6,549 tests yesterday, far short of the state’s daily testing capacity of 17,668 tests.

To date, the state has administered roughly 492,000 tests, with the Wisconsin National Guard responsible for collecting over 145,000 of those. 

The National Guard has ongoing coronavirus testing sites statewide, supporting the state’s initiative to increase COVID-19 testing since early April. The teams are tailorable to meet the needs of a specific facility and are dispatched from a larger task force of several hundred citizen soldiers and airmen.

Community-based testing sites are located at the Alliant Energy Center in Dane County, United Migrant Opportunity Services and Custer Stadium in Milwaukee County and the Walworth County Fairgrounds. 

The Guard is conducting site-based testing at the Oregon Correctional Center, Grow Academy Youth Facility and Thompson Correctional Center in Dane County. Additionally the Guard will test at the Crandon School District in Forest County and a Grantsburg food processing facility in Croix County.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=03607e98ca&e=63cd46885a 

— The state Department of Health Services continues to encourage everyone with symptoms, or people who have been exposed, to get tested.

“Testing helps us know where the cases are and work to stop the spread into communities,” said DHS spokeswoman Jennifer Miller. “Our testing strategy is that all Wisconsin residents who have symptoms of COVID-19, or who have been exposed to someone with the virus, should have access to a test.”

Symptoms of COVID-19 include: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain, headache or a new loss of taste or smell.

But not everyone with COVID-19 will have all of the symptoms — it could be one or a combination. According to DHS, for many people, symptoms are mild with no fever. Some people may also experience fatigue or gastrointestinal symptoms. 

It is important to know that you can still spread or transmit the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms, according to the department.

“In turn, positive tests set in motion not only the isolation of the person who tested positive, but also contact tracing to find others who may have been exposed to that person,” said Miller.

The department also noted that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after contact with someone who has the virus.

See more community testing sites here: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=0d04fab44a&e=63cd46885a 

— COVID-19 hospitalizations number 246 patients, according to Wisconsin Hospital Association data — an increase of three over Sunday.

That figure includes 93 COVID-19 patients in ICU, a decrease of one since Sunday. Additionally, inpatients with pending tests number 169, an increase of 16 since Sunday.

Of the state’s confirmed cases, 13 percent have been hospitalized, and 3 percent have received intensive care, according to DHS.

WHA data show that statewide, Wisconsin seems to have a stable and adequate supply of beds and ventilators.

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

The WHA data show 28 hospitals have a seven-day or less supply of face shields, 39 have a limited supply of goggles, 32 have limited N95 masks, 33 have limited gowns, and 29 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

Health care workers account for about 10 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 2,387, 11 more confirmed cases since Sunday.

See the WHA dashboard here: https://wispolitics.us12.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c540e35869d1ba4ca61b4228e&id=6af3e3cd89&e=63cd46885a 


# With universities underfunded, feds should step in, report says 


# Pence Visiting Waukesha, Pewaukee On Tuesday 


# Investments in telehealth, mental health reach record highs amid Covid-19 




– First Native American-owned distillery in nation uses Wisconsin cheese to make spirits https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2020/06/22/first-native-american-distillery-owner-northwoods-pandemic-struggles-and-making-spirits/3199153001/ 

– La Crosse Chef Hopes To Support Black Farmers With ’40 Acres And A Mule’ https://www.wpr.org/la-crosse-chef-hopes-support-black-farmers-40-acres-and-mule 

– Packing Capacity Continues to Rebound Quicker Than Expected https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/06/22/packing-capacity-continues-to-rebound-quicker-than-expected/ 


– 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/ 


– Distanced classrooms: DPI releases fall semester guidelines for school districts https://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/distanced-classrooms-dpi-releases-fall-semester-guidelines-for-school-districts/article_82db0a18-f7ff-5b34-8ac4-42ae19426632.html 

– Wisconsin schools should expect coronavirus threat for next 18 months, according to state officials https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/education/2020/06/22/wisconsin-schools-reopen-coronavirus-threat-continues-says-dpi/3217047001/ 

– Report: Wisconsin Spends Less On Regional Public Universities Per Student Than All Other Great Lakes States https://www.wpr.org/report-wisconsin-spends-less-regional-public-universities-student-all-other-great-lakes-states

– Technical colleges, which had the most trouble moving online, begin reopening https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/education/2020/06/22/wisconsin-tech-colleges-so-many-hands-classes-open-care/5335928002/ 

– University of Wisconsin explains moving Short Course online for a year https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/university-of-wisconsin-explains-moving-short-course-online-for-a-year/ 


– Changing environment at home genetically primes invasive species to take over abroad https://news.wisc.edu/changing-environment-at-home-genetically-primes-invasive-species-to-take-over-abroad/ 


– Deadline Approaching For Wisconsin Small Business Grants Applications https://www.wpr.org/deadline-approaching-wisconsin-small-business-grants-applications 


– Officials: County’s first COVID-19 death was a ‘community spread’ case, high-risk patient https://www.leadertelegram.com/covid-19/officials-county-s-first-covid-19-death-was-a-community-spread-case-high-risk-patient/article_6d752594-3aba-58f0-b4e3-a81ad60708ac.html 

– Aurora Health Care opens first half of $130M Pleasant Prairie complex  https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/06/22/aurora-health-care-opens-first-half-of-130m-pleas.html 


– gener8tor selects six startups for Madison accelerator https://biztimes.com/gener8tor-selects-six-startups-for-madison-accelerator/ 


– Liability Waivers For COVID-19 Are Popping Up Everywhere. What Do They Mean? https://www.wpr.org/liability-waivers-covid-19-are-popping-everywhere-what-do-they-mean 


– How do Wisconsin’s manufacturing job losses compare to other states? https://biztimes.com/how-do-wisconsins-manufacturing-job-losses-compare-to-other-states/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Daily%3A+Omar+Shaikh+staying+on+at+VISIT%3B+Comparing+Wisconsin+s+manufacturing+job+losses%3B+Advocate+Aurora+opens+in+Pleasant+Prairie&utm_campaign=20200622+Daily+w%2FBizInsights

– Harley-Davidson dealerships see used bike success during pandemic http://click.bizjournals.com/BM0aHU2Y8000DiEW0T2xypP 


– Eau Claire County home sales plummet 41% in May https://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/eau-claire-county-home-sales-plummet-41-in-may/article_4b8fe395-737a-5d72-a2f7-eeade6c66bb6.html 


– Expanding the eateries: Eau Claire City Council to vote on sidewalk cafe ordinance changes https://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/expanding-the-eateries-eau-claire-city-council-to-vote-on-sidewalk-cafe-ordinance-changes/article_153a3cc3-d293-55e0-9371-947f4fe3f304.html 

– Milwaukee considering ordinance defining protest areas during DNC https://biztimes.com/milwaukee-considering-ordinance-defining-protest-areas-during-dnc/ 


– Small US companies squeezed hardest by Covid-19 effects  https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/06/22/small-us-companies-squeezed-hardest-by-covid-19.html 


– Pandemic halts other festivals, but Porterfield soldiers on https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/oconto-county/2020/06/19/pandemic-halts-other-festival-but-porterfield-soldiers/3224656001/ 

– Omar Shaikh to stay on as VISIT Milwaukee board chair https://biztimes.com/omar-shaikh-to-stay-on-as-visit-milwaukee-board-chair/ 


– Milwaukee streetcar ridership down significantly in April and May due to pandemic http://click.bizjournals.com/DU0Da0F0YWT00EiMx82y0Pp 


– Health risks rise as water sits in pipes of unused university buildings https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2020/06/22/universities-worry-safety-stagnant-water-building-plumbing/3178491001/ 


<i>See these and other press releases: 

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

– UW-Madison: Critical communications component made on a flexible wooden film https://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/uw-madison-critical-communications-component-made-on-a-flexible-wooden-film/