TUE AM News: Showers slowed fieldwork this past week; Wisconsin continues to see rising hospitalizations

— Wisconsin set a new record of 714 COVID-19 hospitalizations this weekend, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s coronavirus data dashboard. 

The state had 194 COVID-19 patients in intensive care. That’s below the record reached Thursday of 208 ICU patients.

According to hospitalization data released by the Department of Health Services, Sept. 16 to Sept. 29 was the only two-week period recorded so far where every region of the state had a growing number of coronavirus hospitalizations. DHS data begins the first two weeks of June.

Statewide, over 81 percent of hospital beds are in use, over 80 percent of ICU beds are in use and almost 16 percent of the ventilator supply is in use.

Southeastern Wisconsin, with 29 percent of the state’s COVID-19 patients, is the closest to its bed capacity with almost 87 percent of its beds in use. 

The northwestern region of the state is nearing capacity of ICU beds, where 87 percent are in use. Northeastern Wisconsin has the most ventilators in use at over 17.7 percent.  

Southeastern Wisconsin, the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin have the most COVID-19 hospitalizations — the latter two have set record highs almost daily. The southeast has not been near its record of 350 patients since mid-April.

— While the hospital system in southeastern Wisconsin is not yet experiencing capacity issues, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy warns that Wisconsin is in a coronavirus surge cycle.

“Today, our state is in trouble,” he said in a letter to membership. “Wisconsin is in a surge cycle, with COVID positive cases, hospitalizations and other metrics reaching the highest levels we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic.”

He noted that case surges can be traced to the spread that occured in the 18-24 age group in early September. Now, the virus is being transmitted across older demographics.

“Much of the spread seems to be happening outside the workplace, with social gatherings and relaxed compliance with safety protocols playing significant roles,” he said. “I’m asking you to reinforce with your employees that behavior outside the workplace can and does affect their health, the well-being of their family and friends — and, ultimately, the ability of our health care system and our economy to function properly.”

He added — in all caps — to wear a mask, maintain proper social distance and wash hands. 

— Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce says it was a “good sign” when a Waukesha County judge took a matter of hours to issue a temporary restraining order in its case against the Evers administration’s release of certain coronavirus data related to businesses.

The order prevents the Evers administration from releasing information on more than 1,000 businesses that have had at least two employees test positive for COVID-19. WMC, along with chambers from Muskego and New Berlin, filed the suit, arguing the information was pulled from confidential patient health care records and shouldn’t be released.

With a hearing on Wednesday, WMC’s attorney Ryan Walsh said he expects the court to extend the injunction much longer than five days — the length of the current injunction. 

“We should say that obtaining a temporary restraining order is a pretty heavy lift, so it is encouraging that this judge did enter a temporary restraining order in a matter of hours,” Walsh said in a WMC briefing. “It’s a good sign for our case.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked the court to participate in the case on Friday. Walsh said the media outlet submitted the open records request for the business records and expected to receive the records on Friday. 

“They said … we are being harmed by you, court, because you’re not allowing us to get these records, so we’d like to participate and explain why we think we’re entitled to those records,” Walsh cited. 

Gov. Tony Evers said his administration was responding to an open records request for the information, and his legal counsel believed it was a legitimate request that he has to follow under Wisconsin law.

“We have an obligation to the public to obey the law in that area,” Evers said. 

Wednesday’s motion hearing at 9:30 a.m. will be streamed on YouTube on the Waukesha County Br. 4 YouTube channel.

See the suit: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/201001WMC.pdf

See the judge’s order: https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/201001TRO.pdf

— Frequent showers and chilly, overcast conditions slowed fieldwork this past week, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  

Southern and central Wisconsin experienced the first frost of the season while overnight lows dipped into the mid-20s in parts of northern Wisconsin. The state had 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork.

The high grain moistures and rain made it a poor week for combining corn and soybeans or cutting hay. 

Harvest of corn for grain was 8 percent complete, 16 days ahead of last year and one day ahead of the five-year average.

Wisconsin’s corn crop has almost completely reached the dent stage, over four weeks ahead of last year and 16 days ahead of the five-year average. Eighty percent of corn was reported mature, 28 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average. Corn condition rated 80 percent good to excellent statewide, up three percentage points from last week.

The corn silage harvest was wrapping up in many areas at 90 percent complete, more than four weeks ahead of last year, and 17 days ahead of the average.

Soybean harvest was 18 percent complete, 11 days ahead of last year and two days ahead of the average. Soybeans changing color was almost complete, 22 days ahead of last year and six days ahead of the average. Eighty-eight percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 16 days ahead of last year and six days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 83 percent good to excellent, up four percentage points from last week.

Farmers were hauling manure and planting fall crops while they waited for standing crops to dry. According to USDA’s reporters, field conditions were much better than last year.

Winter wheat planted was 68 percent complete, 23 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of the average. Forty-two percent of winter wheat had emerged, 24 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average. 

Fourth cutting of alfalfa was reported as 90 percent complete, more than four weeks ahead of last year and nine days ahead of the average. 

The cranberry harvest continued with variable color. Potato harvest was reported as 79 percent complete, 13 days ahead of last year and three days ahead of the average.  

Fall tillage was reported as 11 percent complete, a week ahead of last year but eight days behind the average. 

— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is replacing its quarterly INvest newsletter with its new Launch Blog digest. 

This is a blend of INvest and the Launch Blog which provided content relevant to the same audience: funding sources, investor profiles, reports on the startup and investment climate in the state, as well as grant and loan programs for startups and featured companies. 

Launch Blog digest will notify subscribers when new, relevant content has been published. All past INvest subscribers will receive these updates.

— Roughly 92 percent of the 7.1 million weekly Unemployment Insurance claims filed since March 15 have been processed, according to the Department of Workforce Development.

About 527,897 claimants have been paid over $3.86 billion since March 15. That leaves 80,429 unique claimants with around 130,367 issues requiring adjudication. A claimant could have one issue or many holding up one week or many weeks.

— Gov. Tony Evers has announced an additional $47 million investment in COVID-19 support for child care, health care navigators, and energy and rental assistance to Wisconsinites. 

The effort is funded through the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund and will be infused into existing CRF-funded programs and used for new programs as the pandemic continues to affect Wisconsinites.  

“As we continue to fight this pandemic across our state, we need to make sure folks have the support they need from housing and food security, to making sure they have access to quality, affordable healthcare,” Evers said. “The investment announced today will provide critically important assistance for Wisconsinites as we continue to encourage folks to stay home as much as possible.” 

Here’s how the money will be divided:

*$15 million will be invested in Wisconsin’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program;

*$10 million will be directed towards the COVID-19 Out-of-School Support Grant Program;

*$10 million will be invested in the Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program, adding on to $25 million previously announced;

*$10 million will go toward the Food Security Initiative, adding on to $15 million previously allocated;

*$1 million will be directed towards the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund, a non-profit that provides a statewide safety net to individuals facing energy-related emergencies;

*and $1 million will be invested in the statewide health insurance navigator organization to help residents purchase health insurance on the federal marketplace or to enroll in BadgerCare.

 — The seven-day average for daily new cases dropped for the second day in a row to 2,395 after the state recorded 1,696 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, 

The state reports 134,359 cumulative COVID-19 cases with 108,371 of those people recovered.

During the week of Sept. 27, preliminary data show the 25-34 age range brought in the most confirmed cases of any other age group for the second consecutive week, according to the Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard. 

DHS also reports that the 25-34 age group has the highest infection rate for the week of Sept. 27 at 2.4 cases per 1,000 people. 

In early September, the 18-24 age range had the most new confirmed cases every week and highest weekly case rate. The 18-24 group continues to have the greatest amount of cumulative confirmed cases at 28,707 and cumulative case rate at 52.6 infections per 1,000 population.

The preliminary data is also showing that the infection rate and weekly case counts are slowing in all age groups. The 18-24 age group, which brought in the most cases of any age group the week of Sept. 6, is now bringing about one-third of its weekly peak.

Breaking down the data differently, a quarter of Wisconsin’s confirmed coronavirus cases are in the 20-29 age group. The closest group following is the 30-39 age group at 15 percent. 

Individuals under the age of 18 account for the least amount of confirmed cases and the lowest infection rate of all other age groups.

The confirmed cases were out of 8,560 people tested. The seven-day average of new confirmed cases per total people tested was at 17.3 percent as of Sunday. In this metric, people are only counted once no matter how many times they’ve been tested.

According to DHS, tracking by person displays the number of people who have been tested for the virus. Tracking the percentage of people shows the prevalence of the pandemic, or how many people have been infected by COVID-19.

But in terms of total tests collected — one person can have multiple tests — the positive test percentage was at 9.2 percent as of Sunday. In this metric, people are included each time they are tested. DHS said that this data provides a daily view of test positivity.

Community testing sites, including collection sites operated by the Wisconsin National Guard are operating this week. 

As of yesterday, Wisconsin National Guard teams have collected 576,517 specimens statewide. In addition, about 30 troops are working at a call center that informs people of their COVID-19 test results.

Additional information on these testing sites is available here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/community-testing.htm 

— And Wisconsin reported four new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s toll to 1,381.

The death rate for Wisconsin residents who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 is at 1 percent. 

People ages 70-79 and 80-89 with confirmed cases together account for 54 percent of the state’s deaths at 348 and 407 deaths, respectively. The age groups had an increase of 19 and 39 deaths, respectively, over the past seven days.

Milwaukee County leads the state’s count with 545 reported deaths.

Counties reporting deaths in the double digits include: Racine (98), Waukesha (94), Brown (69), Kenosha (68), Dane (43), Walworth (35), Washington (35), Winnebago (34), Rock (33), Outagamie (32), Waupaca (21), Ozaukee (20), Dodge (19), Grant (19), Sheboygan (19), Marathon (17) and Fond du Lac (14).

Nine counties in Wisconsin haven’t reported any COVID-19 deaths: Chippewa, Crawford, Douglas, Green Lake, Iowa, Lafayette, Menominee, Pepin and Price.

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


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– Wisconsin Farmers Prepare to Tackle Enormous Crop https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/10/05/wisconsin-farmers-prepare-to-tackle-enormous-crop/ 

– Ag Secretary Tours Waukesha Equipment Manufacturer https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2020/10/05/ag-secretary-tours-waukesha-equipment-manufacturer/ 


– The pandemic depression is over. The pandemic recession has just begun. https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/10/05/pandemic-economy-recession.html 

– County Sales Tax Revenues Buck Negative Projections, For Now https://www.wpr.org/county-sales-tax-revenues-buck-negative-projections-now 


– UW System Tuition Balances Down By Nearly 60 Percent From 2013 Levels https://www.wpr.org/uw-system-tuition-balances-down-nearly-60-percent-2013-levels 


– DNR Confirms EHD in Buffalo County Deer http://www.wisconsinagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=1061&yr=2020 


– Dane County Surpasses April Pandemic Peak For COVID-19 Hospitalizations https://www.wpr.org/dane-county-surpasses-april-pandemic-peak-covid-19-hospitalizations

– Advanced Pain Management paid $1M federal settlement before filing for receivership https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/10/05/advanced-pain-management-paid-1m-fed-settlement.html 

– State Epidemiologist: Local Health Departments ‘Cracking Under The Strain’ Of Coronavirus Spread https://www.wpr.org/state-epidemiologist-local-health-departments-cracking-under-strain-coronavirus-spread 


– Amid Challenges, Milwaukee Police Department Searches For New Leader https://www.wpr.org/amid-challenges-milwaukee-police-department-searches-new-leader 


– ‘I’ll go in a moon suit’: Sen. Ron Johnson says his COVID-19 diagnosis won’t stop him from voting on Supreme Court https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2020/10/05/ron-johnson-vows-vote-amy-coney-barrett-even-if-he-has-covid/3626771001/

– Racist propaganda appears in Middleton driveways, downtown Madison kiosks https://madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/racist-propaganda-appears-in-middleton-driveways-downtown-madison-kiosks/article_b08222fc-a79c-52bc-a5e0-1f9e968d9cc8.html


– Developer wants to prep lots for nearly 30-home subdivision in Menomonee Falls https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/10/05/developer-wants-to-build-about-30-homes-in-falls.html 


– Marcus’ Lake Geneva resorts attract travelers with ‘staycation’ and work-from-home packages https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/10/05/lake-geneva-resorts-attract-travelers-with-special.html 


– Led by Tesla, auto industry rebounds as car sales surge https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2020/10/05/tesla-leads-auto-industry-rebound-car-sales-surge.html 


<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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