WED AM News: GoDx uses point-of-care test to quickly diagnose gut, COVID-19 pathogens; AGent Plus Solutions developing innovative cleaning products

— GoDiagnostics, or GoDx, was formed with the vision to “democratize diagnostics” so that all people can more quickly learn about infections that make them sick.

The founder and chief executive officer of GoDx, Chang Hee Kim, and his team are in the process of gaining regulatory approval of their two diagnostics tests — GutChecker and CoronaChecker.

Kim founded the company to combat deaths related to diarrhea-inducing gut pathogens. With between millions of annual deaths, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under age 5 worldwide. Furthermore, founders have identified an unmet need for quick, inexpensive and effective diagnostics tests in the health care system. GoDx is tackling this need head on.

Traditionally, such pathogen diagnostic tests would take several days to yield a result because samples have to be sent to a lab. In many cases, that isn’t enough time to effectively treat a potentially life-threatening pathogen. Most pathogen detection tests are also expensive and require instruments, costly machinery and plenty of time in order to yield accurate results – resources not readily available to many clinics around the world. 

The GoDx tests under review is a rapid diagnostic that doesn’t need machines, instruments or even a laboratory, and can yield results in roughly 30 minutes.

See more: 

— If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that germs can thrive almost anywhere and spread in the blink of an eye. Today, most people are wiping down their countertops with disinfectant that kills the germs on the surface but leaves behind a breeding ground for new germs.

In 2011, a Wisconsin couple was looking for a cleaning product that could protect their home from germs, even after the cleaning supplies were returned to their cupboards. After scouring the soap and cleaning compound industry, they decided to create their own.

Enter AGent+ Cleaner Protectants from AGent Plus Solutions LLC. These naturally derived cleaning products, with multi-purpose and hard surface solution, have a water-based formulation that cleans with citrus oils and isopropyl alcohol-like typical cleaning products.

The AGent+ difference comes from adding a bonding agent along with nano-scale copper and silver to protect the cleaned surfaces for up to three days. The small particles provide a high surface-to-volume ratio, helping consumers to use less product and have a smaller environmental impact. This unique use of nanotechnology was awarded patents in the United States and Canada.

Competitors don’t offer products with the same ability to protect surfaces for up to three days, based on results from numerous independent studies.

Controlling the growth of microbes has become top-of-mind for many people during the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers looking for products that will keep their families safe, founders see a huge opportunity in the market. 

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— The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance is telling insurers that COVID-19 testing must be covered by private health insurance. 

“We need folks to know that testing for COVID-19 is available and can be accessed without any out-of-pocket costs,” said Commissioner Mark Afable. “Under federal law, most insurers cannot require cost-sharing like copays for office, urgent care, or emergency department visits. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with the disease, get tested.”

According to a release from OCI, any office visit in which a COVID-19 test is deemed necessary and ordered must also be covered by “most insurers” without cost-sharing. 

OCI is urging any individuals with private insurance who were billed for costs associated with being tested for COVID-19 to speak to their insurer about getting those services covered with no cost-sharing. State residents can file complaints with OCI through the agency website. 

The COVID-19 requirements on insurers were established through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act  and the Corona Virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. 

See the notice sent to insurers here: 

— About one-quarter of the federal money Wisconsin received through the CARES Act is going to hospitals and communities to help them prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients over the summer and fall.

Gov. Tony Evers yesterday released how his administration will use about $1.2 billion of the $1.9 billion in funding through the stimulus package the federal government approved to help states deal with COVID-19.

The announcement followed Evers releasing a plan Monday to send $75 million in grants to small businesses to help them deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

That leaves roughly $600 million that the administration has yet to announce. Other requests for the money include an ask from ag groups for $50 million in direct cash payments.

Along with the $445 million for hospitals and communities to prepare for the surge, yesterday’s announcement includes:

*about $260 million for testing efforts;

*about $200 million state agencies spent to get emergency operations established to deal with the pandemic;

*$150 million to acquire personal protective equipment with another $40 million to procure ventilators;

*$75 million for contact tracing;

*$45 million for local public health departments, occupational health providers, home health agencies and health systems to conduct COVID19 testing;

*$10 million for local and tribal public health departments to coordinate local testing efforts; and

*$3 million in grants to 96 local and tribal health departments totaling $30,000 each.

See the release:

— Wisconsin National Guard teams have collected more than 46,000 COVID-19 specimens from around the state as Wisconsin continues to ramp up its testing capacity. 

In a call with reporters and Wisconsin Adjutant General Paul Knapp, Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Djik noted the new $1.2 billion in funding will continue to support these efforts. 

“In Wisconsin, if you need a test, you can get a test,” she said yesterday. “If you are experiencing symptoms or you have been exposed, please contact your health care provider.”

According to a release, 25 specimen collection teams from the National Guard totaling 600 personnel are operating in the state. Other teams are assisting at two state-run voluntary self-isolation facilities in Milwaukee and Madison, and a Milwaukee County self-isolation facility as well. And about 30 troops are working a call center, informing people about testing results. 

Despite steady progress over the past several months, the number of COVID-19 tests being done each day is still well below the state’s full capacity for testing. Willems Van Dijk explained that “sometimes people don’t know who needs to be tested,” and that can lead to certain people not getting tested when they should be. 

Earlier in the pandemic response, testing was restricted to those with serious symptoms or high levels of risk. But now that those requirements have been loosened significantly, Willems Van Dijk stresses that anyone who wants a test in Wisconsin can get one. 

“Even with mild illness, you’re a risk to everyone around you,” she said. “No one wants to infect their grandma or grandpa or neighbor with diabetes, and be the reason that person gets a serious illness. We’re encouraging testing even for those with minor symptoms.”

— DHS reports the state’s COVID-19 death toll at 467 — up eight from the last count.

The state’s number of confirmed cases also rose since the previous count — by 198. That brings the cumulative confirmed case count to 12,885.

An estimated 55 percent have recovered from COVID-19, while 4 percent of patients have died. Forty-one percent are still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (260), Brown (26), Dane (25), Waukesha (23), Kenosha (19), Racine (19), Rock (14), Ozaukee (11), Walworth (11), Grant (10), Outagamie (5), Clark (4) and Washington (4).

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

Jefferson and Marinette counties report two deaths each.

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

Seventy of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have confirmed cases. Only Langlade and Taylor counties haven’t reported any cases yet.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— MMAC is launching an online toolkit to help businesses reopen while focusing on the safety of employees, customers and facilities.

The toolkit was developed in collaboration with the Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership. It identifies risks and shows how to implement safety procedures. 

The resources include: a restart checklist to give businesses a step-by-step approach to reopening, health and safety best practices guide, and quick links to resources for things such as personal protective equipment. 

“We need this toolkit in our region and our state now more than ever,” said MCW President Dr. John Raymond in a MMAC briefing. “Now more than ever we need individuals and businesses to live and work responsible with the only tools we have available right now: physical distancing, face coverings, hand washing, and frequent cleaning and sanitization. We each need to play a role in helping businesses open and operate safely and sustainably, and this toolkit is fundamentally grounded in health and science best practices.”

See the toolkit here: 

— Of the state’s 12,885 confirmed cases, 16 percent have been hospitalized and 4 percent have received intensive care, according to DHS.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association’s hospital dashboard reports 398 COVID patients in hospitals statewide, its highest since April 18. WHA’s statewide patient data shows an upward trend in hospitalized patients since May 6.

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

ICU beds immediately available in the state number 470 out of 1,436 total in Wisconsin; intermediate care beds — 216 out of 856; surgical beds — 1,724 out of 7,215; and isolation beds — beds in negative pressure rooms meant for isolating patients — 1,139 out of 1,971.

Statewide, hospitals have a total of 1,253 ventilators and 302 ventilated patients.

But PPE supplies are still lagging. Thirty-two hospitals in the state have a seven days or less supply of N95 masks, 36 have limited supply of gowns and 29 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

— The Medical College of Wisconsin recommends wearing any type of cloth face covering until there is a vaccine or herd immunity for COVID-19. 

“I would say until we have a vaccine or herd immunity, that the right thing to do would be to wear a mask within public places,” Dr. John Raymond said.

Raymond cited evidence that even a minimal cloth face covering prevents droplets that could possibly spread.

“The idea is to protect people around you,” said Raymond, president of the MCW. “Some cloth face coverings may provide you a little bit of protection, but really what you’re trying to do is stop the spread of respiratory droplets when you cough, sneeze and talk — maybe even when you breathe — so that you’re not spreading your droplets to somebody else.”

Also on the MMAC briefing, Raymond and his colleague Dr. Laura Cassidy, a professor at MCW, debunked some myths about wearing masks.

Cassidy said that she sees people wear them incorrectly — “covering their mouth and leaving their nose out” — which “isn’t best practice.” She also says to not play with the mask or touch it frequently with your hands. 

In response to people thinking they could get sicker from wearing a mask, Raymond said, “if you have the virus, you already have it, it’s not going to be ‘locked in’ and then re-inhaled by the person who is infectious.”

“What you’re trying to do is protect other people by wearing your cloth face covering,” he said. 

— Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will host a meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change Thursday morning at 9 a.m. through a video teleconference. 

The task force includes industry representatives from agriculture, utilities and small businesses, and is tasked with providing energy policy recommendations to Gov. Tony Evers. Barnes is chair of the task force. 

See more:

— Wisconsin Alumni and Research Foundation is preparing for its third COVID-19 edition of its event series “Crossroads of Ideas.” 

This evening, the webinar titled, “Where do we go from here?” will feature UW-Madison professors: Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Department of Pathobiological Sciences; Laura McClure, Department of Art History; David O’Connor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Maureen Smith, Department of Population Health Sciences. It will be moderated by Jo Handelsman, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. 

Register for the event here: 


# Program to help workers during pandemic sees spike in use

# Evers allocates $1 billion in federal funding for COVID-19 testing, preparation for possible surge

# Foremost Farms USA to close Chilton cheese plant

# Mark Kessenich to lead AGC of Greater Milwaukee construction association



– USDA surveys to provide insight on Wisconsin agriculture

– Many farmers beat the weekend showers to complete planting


– Nicolet Bank won’t acquire Commerce State Bank after coronavirus cuts into stock price


– $126M UW gym on Building Commission agenda Wednesday


– MMAC, M7 and Medical College of Wisconsin launch restart toolkit for businesses


– Socially distanced classes: ‘Persistent uncertainty’ as school district plans for fall


– Evers unveils plan for spending $1 billion to fight COVID-19

– Door County ends safer-at-home order, issues reopening guidelines


– Mark Kessenich named new head of AGC of Greater Milwaukee


– Clarios names former Dana exec as its new CEO

– Cedarburg attracts Illinois manufacturer’s HQ to city’s new business park


– Exodus from Wisconsin Senate continues with GOP retirement


– WeWork wants a rent break. Its customers do, too.


– Kohl’s lost more than $500 million in Q1 amid COVID-19 store closures

– Kohl’s sales sink as retailer navigates Covid-19 pandemic

– Valley View Mall in La Crosse to reopen Friday morning


– Mequon launches emergency fund for community businesses


– Wisconsin FFA Foundation golf outings still on


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