TUE AM News: Steady Shot aims to make insulin injections more precise; Community testing in Brown County to provide ‘snapshot’ on COVID-19 cases

— A UW-Madison grad and finalist in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest aims to provide a low-tech syringe adapter to assist insulin users in the United States and beyond.

Shawn Michels is a diabetic who knows the tedious day-to-day annoyance of poking oneself multiple times throughout the day. He’s hoping to make that regimen better for others through Steady Shot.

Michels came up with the idea when he started noticing his own consistent bruising and lipohypertrophy, or lumps under the skin caused by accumulation of extra fat at the site of many subcutaneous injections of insulin. It was particularly so in common injection sites, such as easy-to-reach places like the abdomen and thighs.

Feeling unhappy with this, Michels decided to 3D-print a cap attachment for stabilizing the needle and enabling easier injection in a range of places. A few prototypes later and Steady Shot was born.

Feeling that such a simple device had dramatically improved his own life, Michels wanted to share this idea with the other 7.3 million Americans who use insulin. He worked through a startup accelerator at UW-Madison called Discovery to Product that funded initial commercialization. 

Stead Shot is a $30 plastic syringe guard that lasts around six months and connects to the pen needle to keep it steady during injections. The product typically allows for a reduced injection sensation but also facilitates one-handed injection, something diabetics know is crucial when testing multiple times a day with both their dominant and non-dominant hands.

See more: http://www.wisbusiness.com/?p=1451851 

— Brown County officials say newly available community-wide COVID-19 testing will provide a snapshot of one of the largest virus hotspots in the state. 

“That is a significant game-changer in terms of us finally being able to get ahold of how prevalent this is in our community,” said Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach yesterday during a call with reporters. 

From now until May 16, anyone who lives or works in Brown County who presents symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to be tested, officials said on the call. Testing has begun at the Resch Center, which was already set up as a drive-in testing site for critical industry workers. And the county aims to establish another community testing site on the city’s east side as well. 

“This allows Brown County to get a real, true community snapshot of what’s going on,” said Anna Destree, a public health officer for the county. “Where there are cases in the community, and where we can highlight and focus on those areas for contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.” 

Officials expect they will be able to conduct about 45 tests each hour based on National Guard estimates, or about 450 tests per day on weekdays. Testing will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Testing will not be done on Sunday.

Gov. Tony Evers recently announced community testing events at locations throughout the state, with a focus on places with “a known lack of testing” or a relatively high rate of confirmed cases. 

The first scheduled testing event was held Friday in Buffalo County, and any state resident with COVID-19 symptoms was invited to show up. According to a release from the guv’s office, more community testing events will be announced soon. 

As part of the Badger Bounce Back plan, the state has set a goal of conducting 85,000 tests per week, or about 12,000 per day. As of Saturday, Wisconsin had a daily capacity of 11,347 tests with 51 labs performing testing. 

During the call, Streckenbach noted that Brown County’s workforce relies on many individuals who live in other counties, with as many as 30,000 people coming from Outagamie, Shawano, Manitowoc, Calumet and other nearby counties to work. 

“The fact that they allowed us to test anyone who worked in Brown County is critical,” he said. “We have to look at this from a regional perspective.” 

People can register for the community testing site online, and county officials said they’re working on getting a phone line up and running. Anyone who gets tested at these sites will be asked typical questions such as current symptoms before being swabbed. That initial testing process is expected to take under five minutes, and results are sent back in the following week. 

See the release from Evers: http://evers.wi.gov/Pages/Newsroom/Press-Releases.aspx 

— Brown County officials are no longer releasing the results of testing at meatpacking plants in the county, where nearly 600 cases of COVID-19 have been identified at last count. 

Salm Partners reported 38 positive tests yesterday, but JBS Packerland — which had the largest number of tests associated with meat plants — declined to provide updated numbers. American Foods Group did not immediately respond to inquiries about the latest case numbers

In response to a reporter asking if the county would release that information if the companies continue declining to do so, Brown County Public Health Strategist Claire Paprocki said officials aren’t “prioritizing to do that manual work” and are focusing instead on testing and contact tracing efforts. 

“When this is all said and done, and we can say that we’ve successfully combated COVID-19, we can definitely give you those types of numbers and get the minute details you’re asking for,” she said. “Right now we need to be prioritizing contact tracing, and making sure we’re supporting our health care partners, the National Guard, and really utilizing the materials and resources that DHS has given us.” 

JBS Packerland will be opening up its Green Bay facility today with a limited staff, according to Cameron Bruett, head of corporate affairs for JBS USA. Slaughtering operations will start up today and production will resume tomorrow, he said in an email. 

“100 percent of our team members will be tested before returning to work,” Bruett said. “We expect operations to normalize over time as absenteeism rates decline in response to the preventive measures in place at the facility and as team members clear any necessary quarantine protocols.” 

— Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and other Dem senators are asking President Trump to amend his executive order directing meat processing plants to reopen or stay open during the pandemic. They want these plants to only reopen after they have met certain health and safety guidelines from the CDC and OSHA. 

In a letter to the president, the senators note that workers in meatpacking plants are “predominantly black and brown” — groups that are being hit harder by the fallout of COVID-19. 

“Without immediate, comprehensive intervention by the federal government to ensure the health and safety of workers at these plants, workers in the meat processing industry will remain at extremely high risk of contracting the virus and the plants will continue to be a major vector of significant infection,” they wrote. 

OSHA is currently investigating a number of companies in Wisconsin, including the meat plants in Green Bay. Another facility under investigation is the Smithfield/Patrick Cudahy Plant in Cudahy, where 85 employees recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

See more in headlines below. 

See the Baldwin release: http://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/workers-and-food-supply-at-risk 

— Health officials noted tests via community testing sites and other programs will only go to people who have symptoms or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

This is because there is not enough testing for Wisconsin’s population, Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, told reporters in a DHS briefing.

“If prevalence is relatively low, testing people with no suspicion could lead us astray because of false positives,” he said. 

By starting with people who have symptoms, health officials can “draw a circle around them,” said Westergaard.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include: a fever over 104 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches and a loss of taste or sense of smell.

— The state Department of Workforce Development has paid out more than $384 million in unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, which has ushered in record numbers of claims in Wisconsin and nationwide. 

According to a recent release, the agency has received about 1.5 million weekly claims and nearly 500,000 unemployment applications in recent weeks. This unprecedented influx has led the agency to explore bringing on hundreds of additional staff and working with outside vendors. 

Over the previous week or so — April 26 to May 2 — DWD received more than 4.7 million phone calls. 

DWD more recently began accepting applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to some people who aren’t eligible for regular UI, including contractors and the self-employed. The agency has received just under 45,000 PUA applications, the release shows. 

See the release: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/2020/200504-unemployment-data.htm 

— As deaths and confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services have rolled out plans for more testing and other goals of Badger Bounce Back.

Evers announced to reporters that the state has four new goals to meet a larger goal of more testing.

This includes: managing community outbreaks such as in Brown County; testing every resident and staff member at long-term care facilities; increasing drive-through testing sites; setting up community testing programs for symptomatic individuals; and ensuring that everyone experiencing symptoms receives a test by making testing supplies available to all health care systems.

While these efforts are new, the criteria to reopen the state remains. They are a 14-day downward trajectory of: flu-like illnesses reported; COVID-like cases; and positive tests as a percent of total tests. The criteria have yet to be met. 

“Right now the state is in pretty good shape in testing supplies,” said Evers. “We are one of the top states in COVID-19 testing capacity.”

Wisconsin has 51 labs with a testing capacity of 11,347 tests per day. However, only 2,742 tests came back yesterday. 

“The capacity is not the same as utilization, so we have some work to do to ensure everyone who needs a test is getting one and to understand the full scope of this disease around Wisconsin,” said Evers.

— Gov. Tony Evers and DHS Secretary Palm issued another emergency order suspending some administrative rules for DHS and DSPS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency Order #35 allows DHS to make sure that no Medicaid member loses eligibility for coverage during the COVID-19 emergency, a requirement for receiving additional federal funding under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

“During these challenging times, it is imperative that we preserve medical, mental health, and behavioral health services,” Evers said in a statement. “This order reduces regulatory burdens while allowing us to maintain essential Medicaid services and ensure the health and safety of Wisconsinites.”

The order allows nurses to bill Medicaid for overtime. It suspends the prior authorization requirement for some drugs, limits on the number of refills and days-supply that can be provided. It also waives payments from parents for the state’s Birth to 3 Program — a program that provides services for children with disabilities.

The order allows for telehealth within mental health and substance abuse treatment programs. It suspends the requirement that some programs must happen in a face-to-face setting. The order also allows for electronic supervision of occupational therapists when close supervision is required.

See the release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2020/dhs-governor-evers-suspends-rules-to-ensure-patient-care-coverage-continues-during-covid-19-pandemic/ 

— DHS reports the state COVID-19 death toll at 340 — up one person from Sunday and 13 from Friday. 

Confirmed cases rose 272 since Sunday with over half stemming from Brown (90) and Milwaukee (52) counties. 

DHS’s hospital dashboard also reports 347 COVID patients in hospitals statewide, an increase of 19 from Sunday’s 328, and 10 more than last Monday’s 337 patients.

With data provided from DHS, WisBusiness.com found that Wisconsin’s share of positive cases per number of total tests is slowly declining after its peak on Friday. The numbers show 12.7 percent of total tests came back positive on Friday, followed by Saturday (10.3), Sunday (11.1) and Monday (9.9).  

— Wisconsin Hospital Association and DHS data show Wisconsin has an adequate supply of beds and ventilators, but PPE continues to be lacking.

Statewide, hospitals have a total of 1,278 ventilators and are using 312 of those for patients.

ICU beds immediately available in the state number 433 out of 1,433 total in Wisconsin; intermediate care beds — 218 out of 844; surgical beds — 1,824 out of 7,260; isolation beds — beds in negative pressure rooms meant for isolating patients — 1,195 out of 1,971.

But 37 hospitals in the state have a seven days or less supply of N95 masks, 42 have limited supply of gowns and 37 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

The governor also announced Wisconsin’s newly acquired decontamination systems for N95 masks. Facilities can send masks to Madison to be cleaned and sterilized. The system can decontaminate “tens of thousands” of N95 masks daily, according to Evers. “But we still need additional supplies.”

He noted that he is in contact with the federal government for more personal protective equipment.

See WHA’s data and more coronavirus resources: http://www.wispolitics.com/wisconsin-coronavirus-resources/ 

— Wisconsin’s sister state in China, Heilongjiang Province, donated 10,000 procedural masks and 1,000 medical outfits to help Wisconsin grow its supply of personal protective equipment. 

“This donation shows teamwork at its finest,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement. “Our sister state of Heilongjiang, along with several state agencies and Wisconsin higher education and nonprofit institutions, all worked together to bring these supplies here and support our frontline COVID-19 responders in a time of need. I want to thank our friends in Heilongjiang for their support and generosity.”

Carolyn Brady, the international partnership and outreach programs coordinator for UW-River Falls, was responsible for reaching out. She contacted the Foreign Affairs Office in Harbin to see if Heilongjiang had any masks available.

“Our UWRF outreach has not only directly benefited our institution, community and state, but has also produced an abundance of reciprocal goodwill between the people of Wisconsin and the residents of Heilongjiang Province,” Brady said in a release. “This generous gift in response to our need is just one evidence of their warm regard, for which we, and I trust all of the direct recipients, are most grateful.”

Evers noted that the shipment from Heilongjiang is the latest in a series of PPE donations to the state’s PPE supply including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns from Wisconsin Dental Association, WEC Energy Group, Kohler, Snap-On Tools, Northern States Power Co., ND Paper, the Wisconsin Humane Society and Foxconn.

Read the release: http://www.wispolitics.com/2020/gov-evers-wisconsin-welcomes-donation-of-personal-protective-equipment-from-sister-state-in-china/ 

— Of the state’s 8,236 cumulative confirmed cases, an estimated 45 percent have recovered from COVID-19. 

That’s based on the number of confirmed cases who have at least documentation of resolved symptoms, documentation of release from public health isolation or 30 days since symptom onset or diagnosis. Fifty percent of patients are still in that 30-day period.

Of the state’s confirmed cases, 20 percent were hospitalized, 5 percent received intensive care and 5 percent have died, according to DHS.

Counties reporting deaths include Milwaukee (195), Dane (22), Waukesha (20), Kenosha (14), Racine (14), Ozaukee (9), Walworth (8), Rock (7), Brown (6), Grant (6), Clark (4) and Washington (4). 

Door, Fond du Lac and Sauk counties report three deaths each.

Outagamie, Richland and Sheboygan counties report two deaths each.

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

Sixty-seven of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have confirmed cases.

Click here for coronavirus resources and information: http://www.wispolitics.com/wisconsin-coronavirus-resources/ 

— Curate has launched a website where residents and businesses can learn what local governments are doing in response to COVID-19 on a weekly basis, the company announced recently.

“Curate is committed to helping businesses understand how the regulatory changes in the municipalities that they operate impact them, and that’s just what this weekly snapshot will do,” Curate CEO Taralinda Willis said in a statement.

According to a release, the Madison tech company has scanned more than 280,000 meeting documents from approximately 9,400 municipalities across the country. These documents help clients identify key changes to government operations, community health, economic recovery and public safety.

See the site: http://covid19.curatesolutions.com/overview 

See more at Madison Startups: http://www.madisonstartups.com/curate-launches-covid-19-website/ 

Listen to a WisBusiness podcast with Willis: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2019/wisbusiness-the-podcast-with-taralinda-willis-ceo-of-curate-solutions/ 


# Tough choices: Wisconsinites facing unemployment amid COVID-19 pandemic delay bills, goals


# Hospitals safer: Milwaukee health systems, doctors inviting patients back 


# We Energies projects 5% drop in electricity sales; industrial sector down 18%


# Wisconsin business owners to receive $1.68 billion in PPP loans in second round



– April Class III milk price hits four-year low at $13.07


– DATCP, Wisconsin Pork Association launch ‘Passion for Pork’ initiative


– JBS Packerland to reopen with limited staff Tuesday as facility contends with coronavirus outbreak http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2020/05/04/coronavirus-brown-county-jbs-reopen-green-bay-plant-tuesday/3079565001/

– Spring fever: Weather cooperates, getting farmers into fields http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/front-page/spring-fever-weather-cooperates-getting-farmers-into-fields/article_72cdab1e-7dab-5467-9736-d2ed30cd1c60.html


– U.S. SBA reopens Economic Injury Disaster Loan portal

– PPP tracker: More than half of funds gone in PPP Round 2 


– Wisconsin businesses receive $1.7B in second round of federal PPP funding


– Wisconsin companies get additional $1.68B in federal loans


– Annual UW water symposium shifts online, highlights Wisconsin’s water challenges


– UW professors rethink final exams, mark bittersweet end of year


– CALS offering resources on COVID-19 impact on meat industry



– Milwaukee-area health care providers urge patients to seek routine, acute care amid pandemic

– DHS: 8,263 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin


– UW team launches website, app with COVID-19 resources


– All Wisconsin nursing home residents to get COVID-19 test http://www.weau.com/content/news/All-Wisconsin-nursing-home-residents-to-get-COVID-19-test-570181481.html


– No in-person Northwestern Mutual meeting a nearly $13 million hit for Milwaukee economy

– Northwestern Mutual cancels annual meeting because of Covid-19



– Kaul files antitrust suit, divestiture of former Dean Foods plants



– Potential COVID-19 vaccine will be produced at Catalent’s Madison manufacturing facility


– Evers, legislative leaders to meet, discuss coronavirus


– Mandel Group acquires Pabst Farms site for planned multi-family project


– Dane County to delay property tax payments due to COVID-19



– Good City Brewing opens drive thru at Mayfair Mall


– La Crosse sees overwhelming interest in small business relief grant program http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/la-crosse-sees-overwhelming-interest-in-small-business-relief-grant-program/article_a56ad075-de79-5af6-af6f-3ec9c651e30f.html 


– We Energies execs optimistic about restarting NBA season, preparing for Dem convention 



– Whiplash: Wisconsin gas prices rapidly rise after plummeting to $1 in April http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/money/2020/05/04/wisconsin-gas-prices-rise-rapidly-they-dropped/3078388001/

– La Crosse Regional Airport receives $1.8 million in federal grant, down 90% in traffic http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/la-crosse-regional-airport-receives-1-8-million-in-federal-grant-down-90-in-traffic/article_9f348d7e-f046-5724-af98-0eb284cbdee0.html 


<i>See these and other press releases: 

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

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