TUE AM News: Second case of COVID-19 found in state as testing ramps up; UW-Madison discouraging non-essential travel for students, faculty

— The second case of COVID-19 in Wisconsin has been identified by state health officials and the individual is currently isolated at home in Pierce County.

A release from the state Department of Health Services shows the patient was exposed to the virus while traveling in the United States. County health officials are trying to determine who may have come in contact with the individual. 

Meanwhile, two commercial laboratories in Wisconsin can now test patients for COVID-19, state health officials announced yesterday. 

That’s in addition to the two public labs that have been handling testing so far — the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and the City of Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory. The two companies performing the tests are Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, both of which have locations in Milwaukee. 

More commercial labs will soon be able to conduct tests for the virus, according to Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases. In a conference call with reporters, he said the number of people being tested for the virus will likely “increase substantially” now that other labs can identify cases. 

He noted that may “seem alarming” but cautioned that more tests doesn’t necessarily mean more infections. 

Now that cases are occuring within the region from returning travelers as well as people without a travel history, Westergaard said the test administration is being expanded to help health officials contain the spread of the virus. 

He explained that testing will be accelerated for individuals who recently travelled to high-risk areas such as Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the current global outbreak. Patients with higher risk for negative health outcomes, such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, will also be prioritized. 

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/second-case-of-covid-19-found-in-state-as-testing-ramps-up/ 

— UW-Madison is urging students and faculty to reconsider “non-essential personal or business travel” outside of Dane County as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. 

In an emailed message, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the university is taking a “coordinated campus-wide” approach to limiting potential spread of the virus. 

“You may face a higher risk of infection, significant delays returning to Madison, and/or the requirement to self-isolate upon your return, all of which could significantly impact your professional and personal obligations at great individual expense,” she wrote. 

The university is also cancelling any university-sponsored travel in the next 30 days to countries heavily impacted by the virus, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Spain. 

See more from UW-Madison on COVID-19: http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/coronavirus-2019/ 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin helped introduce legislation aimed at providing guaranteed paid sick leave for workers amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

“We need to pass this legislation right now to give our workers the resources they need to care for themselves and keep our communities safe from this public health threat,” the Madison Dem said in a statement. 

According to a release, the bill would require employers to provide an additional 14 days of paid sick leave starting at the beginning of a public health emergency. It would also require employers to let workers “gradually earn” seven days of sick leave. 

Plus the bill would require paid leave to cover days when schools for workers’ children are closed due to public health concerns. 

The release shows the legislative effort is being led by Dem U.S. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. The western state has at least 136 cases of COVID-19 and 18 associated deaths. 

See the release: 


— The state Department of Financial Institutions is warning Wisconsin investors about “opportunistic” con artists looking to leverage concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus. 

In a release, DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld tells investors to “avoid making decisions based on panic or fear” amid the outbreak of the virus. 

U.S. stocks have fallen as the number of COVID-19 cases has continued to increase globally, recently exceeding 113,000. And more than 4,000 people have died from the virus. Still, more than 61,000 others have recovered. 

Blumenfeld says scammers may use the market downturn to “scare investors into so-called ‘safer’ or ‘guaranteed’ investments.” DFI says anyone promising a risk-free investment or putting on undue pressure is lying and likely committing investment fraud. 

See the release: http://www.wdfi.org/newsroom/press/2020/20200309_NewsRelease_COVID-19RelatedScams_vFINAL.pdf 

— A bill that would expand bar hours during the Democratic National Convention will receive a public hearing and exec in the Senate on Wednesday after its chances of passage by the end of the session was questioned.

Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Trade Chair Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, told WisPolitics.com the hearing is in part “trying to get the ball rolling” in the skeptical GOP caucus.

“We still have some people to get on board, but I’m gonna support it and I hope my colleagues do as well,” Feyen said. “If it comes to the floor, I think it’d be close, but I think it would pass.”

A spokesman for Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said no final decisions have been made on what will be on the calendar when the Senate convenes March 24 for a final floor day of the regular session.

See more at WisPolitics.com: http://www.wispolitics.com/2020/mon-pm-update-karofsky-kelly-reserve-tv-time-senate-committee-to-take-up-dnc-bar-hours-bill/ 

— The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has received a Capital Magnet Fund grant of nearly $3.4 million. 

This funding comes from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, according to a release. Since 2016, WHEDA has received around $17.8 million in Capital Magnet Fund grants. 

WHEDA CEO Joaquín Altoro says these four grants have supported the group’s affordable housing mission, including expanding housing options for low-income families. 

See the release: http://www.wheda.com/NewsDetail.aspx?id=3500 

— The Doyenne Group and the University of Wisconsin Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic have been awarded a grant by WEDC, the organizations announced recently.

According to a release, the grants help develop or expand innovative programs aimed at advancing the climate for entrepreneurship throughout the state. Doyenne Group was given $65,000, while the UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic received $50,000.

“These grants will enable organizations throughout the state to provide more resources to support local entrepreneurial communities that may not have access to other, traditional resources,” WEDC CEO Missy Hughes said in a statement.

Since the grant program was launched in 2016, it has provided nearly $1.5 million to 28 organizations statewide.

See more at Madison Startups: http://www.madisonstartups.com/two-madison-programs-earn-wedc-grant/ 


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– Wisconsin pork producer elected NPPC president



– First Bank Financial Centre rebrands, plans to open Milwaukee location


– City Forward Collective awarded DWD grant to recruit, train 140 new teachers in Milwaukee

– Central Wisconsin sophomores to take part in ag career showcase



– Wisconsin health officials fight coronavirus and myths about it



– Midwest Express ends partnership with Elite Airways, files lawsuit



– Recycling startup company earns double prize on Project Pitch It


– Whitefish Bay home sold for $2.1 million

– Homebuilder pitches new neighborhood with half-acre lots to Germantown



– Meet the Wisconsin musher racing in the Iditarod



– Midwest Express sues Elite Airways, ends partnership

– Statewide frozen road declaration has ended



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