WED AM News: Hoben says in-person school in Milwaukee is possible; State sees more good weather for fieldwork

— City Forward Collective CEO Patricia Hoben says safe, in-person instruction in Milwaukee schools is possible, but admits COVID-19 testing availability is inadequate. 

City Forward Collective is a group aiming to eliminate educational inequity. Hoben addressed concerns about reopening schools at a Milwaukee Rotary Club meeting that was held both in-person and virtually.  

According to Hoben, the teacher-student dynamic provided through in-person instruction cannot be replicated in a virtual schooling environment. She claimed state and city reopening guidance is sufficient for allowing students to physically return to campuses, but some Wisconsin schools are already hitting COVID-19 roadblocks. 

Brodhead High School in southern Wisconsin announced a temporary switch to virtual learning Monday amid a COVID-19 outbreak.

“I don’t think there is enough testing available,” Hoben said when asked if schools are equipped to contain possible COVID-19 outbreaks among students and staff.

Hoben touted an eight-page school reopening checklist she said was modeled after reopening guidance issued to restaurants and bars. The checklist, Hoben said, includes COVID-19 testing guidance, but schools are not required to test their students and staff.

Read the full story at 

— Good weather the week ending Sept. 6 has allowed manure applications and winter wheat planting as fields were cleared, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

Winter wheat planting was 22 percent complete, 19 days ahead of last year and two weeks ahead of the average. The snap bean and sweet corn harvests were winding down, and farmers continued to harvest corn silage, which is 24 percent complete, 22 days ahead of last year and nine days ahead of the average.

Daytime highs were mostly in the 70s but didn’t rise out of the 60s in northern Wisconsin. Overnight lows fell into the 40s and upper 30s. Scattered thunderstorms brought a small amount of moisture, though soils remained unfavorably dry in some areas. 

Corn and soybeans were maturing rapidly in response to dryer weather and shorter days. Corn at dough stage or beyond was 94 percent, over four weeks ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn dented was 65 percent, three weeks ahead of last year and a week ahead of the average; and conditions rated 78 percent good to excellent statewide, down two percentage points from last week. 

Soybeans coloring was 50 percent, two weeks ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average. Twelve percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 12 days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average; and conditions rated 81 percent good to excellent, down one percentage point from last week. 

Oats harvested was 97 percent complete, more than a month ahead of last year and two weeks ahead of the average. 

Potato harvest was reported as 40 percent complete, 10 days ahead of last year and a week ahead of the average. Potato condition rated 93 percent good to excellent, up four percentage points from last week. 

The third cutting of alfalfa was reported as 95 percent complete, 20 days ahead of last year and four days ahead of the average. Farmers continued the fourth cutting of hay, which was reported as 46 percent complete, 15 days ahead of last year and one day ahead of the average. All hay conditions rated 72 percent good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from last week. 

Pasture conditions rated 59 percent good to excellent statewide, down three percentage points from last week.

— Madison Region Economic Partnership President Paul Jadin has set plans to retire.

A search committee of community leaders and The QTI Group are actively recruiting candidates to serve as successor. 

“It’s been a tremendous privilege to lead the Madison Region through the Advance Now strategy over the last several years,” Jadin said. “Our Region is now more competitive on the global economic stage and ready for a new leader to see it through the Advance Now 2.0 strategy.”

Interested candidates can apply here: 

— Dr. John Raymond, president of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said the seven-day average daily case jumping from 678 on Aug. 31 to 880 yesterday is a “troubling trend.”

The state also broke a new record yesterday, recording 17.6 percent of tests as positive, bringing the seven-day average for percent positive to an all-time high of 11.3 percent.

“Wisconsin has clear increases in new cases,” he said, pointing to the doubling time in the state for cases — 44.9 days — which could result in 80,000 more cases by mid-October. The reproductive number in Wisconsin is 1.2; that indicates the number of people a contagious person can infect before they show symptoms.

Wisconsin reported 717 new cases after receiving 4,083 tests. The state’s cumulative case count is 82,477, with 73,122 recovered.

People between 20-29 years old make up 25 percent of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, accounting for 20,707 cases cumulatively after adding 1,788 confirmed cases in the past eight days. This is followed by people ages 30-39 at 16 percent, with 13,394 cases, adding 868 cases since last Monday. 

Two percent of the 20-29 age group and 4 percent of the 30-39 age group cases have been hospitalized. But each group accounts for under 1 percent of the state’s death toll at eight and 15 deaths, respectively. That’s an increase of three deaths in the 30-39 age group since last week.

Breaking the age groups down differently, DHS data show that those in the 18-24 age range have 15,941 confirmed cases, higher than all the other age groups. It also has the highest infection rate at 2.7 per 1,000 people. That’s followed closely by the 25-34 age group with 15,315 confirmed cases.  

“It looks like some part of the increased case burden has to do with the return of students to college,” Raymond said in a Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce briefing. However, he noted that not every college is experiencing the same burden of COVID-19. 

It’s a trend that health officials “need to follow,” he said. While young people tend to experience little or no symptoms compared to older populations, interacting with friends, family, coworkers and teachers could result in a secondary surge in the number of people who might require hospitalization. Raymond predicted that to occur in “another month or so.”

— Raymond said he plans “to get whatever vaccine is available on the market first.” 

He predicted either Moderna or Pfizer will be the first on the market. 

“American vaccine makers make safe vaccines,” he said. “I don’t believe that there would be significant problems with contamination.”

The up-and-coming vaccines do not use the live virus, so there won’t be problems with the chemicals used to inactivate the virus or the incomplete inactivation of the virus itself, said Raymond. The vaccines use RNA injection or a small protein from the virus. 

However, he said the accelerated timeline doesn’t allow for exploring long-term side effects of the vaccines — as subjects have only had the vaccine tested on them for two or three months. 

Last night, national reports released that a phase three study testing a coronavirus vaccine at dozens of sites nationwide was put on hold due to an apparent serious adverse reaction. The vaccine is being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and the reaction happened to a participant in the United Kingdom.

— The state’s COVID-19 death toll remains at 1,168, and the 1.4 percent fatality rate continues to decrease, according to Raymond. 

He attributes the declining death rate to the new cases occurring in the younger demographic, a focus on testing congregate housing facilities and workplaces, better supportive care, and earlier testing. 

People ages 70-79 and 80-89 with confirmed cases together account for over half of the state’s deaths at 287 and 314 deaths, respectively. The age groups had an increase of five and 15 deaths over the past seven days.

As to the national COVID-19 death toll of about 190,000 people, Raymond said it tracks along with the 250,000 “excess death burden” for all causes in the nation. Deaths are predicted based on trends over the previous five years; the “excess death burden” is how far the U.S. is off track.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (502), Racine (91), Waukesha (78), Kenosha (65), Brown (58), Dane (40), Walworth (32), Washington (29), Rock (28), Outagamie (21), Winnebago (21), Waupaca (19), Grant (18), Ozaukee (18), Marathon (14), Fond du Lac (12), Sheboygan (9), Clark (8), Jefferson (7), Marinette (7), St. Croix (7), Eau Claire (6), Pierce (6), Dodge (6), Forest (4) and Richland (4).

Adams, Barron, Door, Oconto, Sauk, Taylor and Wood counties report three deaths each.

Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Columbia, Green, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Monroe, Polk, Portage, Trempealeau and Waushara counties report two deaths each.

Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Oneida and Rusk counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— COVID-19 hospitalizations number 289, down one from last week but still above early July lows of around 240 patients, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s coronavirus data dashboard. 

COVID-19 ICU patients number 91, which is five fewer patients than last week.

About 48 percent of Wisconsin’s total COVID-19 patients — 138 — are in southeastern Wisconsin. That’s down 10 percent from last week. 

The association also reports 37 or fewer patients in each of the six other public health regions of the state. The Fox Valley region of Wisconsin has seen an uptick in hospitalizations over the last week of about 20 patients. 

So far, 7.4 percent of known COVID-19 cases have resulted in hospitalization. This figure has been continuously dropping since the start of the pandemic, when 30 percent of patients had been hospitalized. Raymond attributes that favorable trend to younger demographics contracting the virus, more tests being administered earlier and better supportive care than earlier in the pandemic. 

Health care workers continue to account for about 8 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 6,642 after adding 424 more cases in the past seven days, according to DHS.

Meanwhile, the WHA data show that five hospitals have less than a seven-day supply of goggles, seven have a limited supply of gowns, and six hospitals have limited paper medical masks, all an increase over last week.

See the WHA hospital dashboard here: 


# As COVID-19 cases mount at UW-Madison, GOP leaders push for fall Big Ten football

# UW sets, breaks coronavirus records over holiday weekend, forcing stay-at-home order

# Federal Eviction Moratorium Affects Wisconsin Residential Properties 



– July Beef and Pork Exports Rebound, but Still Below Year-Ago 


– WaterStone Bank to open branch in former Bank Mutual office 

– US banks signal mounting concern over real estate lending 


– Little change, but more certainty in metro Milwaukee hiring outlook heading into Q4 


– UW-Platteville to Offer Cannabis-Related Certificates 


– A Spawning Success: Fish Elevator Is Helping To Improve Lake Sturgeon Numbers 


– New Republican stimulus proposal includes second PPP, Covid liability shield 

– Sen. Tammy Baldwin co-sponsors $10 billion Save Our Stages Act 


– Ascension St. Joseph hospital opens new OB emergency department 


– Vos appoints Democratic critic to police task force


– MMAC making progress on region of choice initiative to increase Black, Hispanic representation: ManpowerGroup’s Prising 


– In-Person Campaigning Can Be Dangerous In a Pandemic. Wisconsin Politicians Are Finding Ways To Do it Anyway.

– With Chad Vader’s help, even Rebel scum can vote absentee

– Task Force Aims For Bipartisan Proposals On Policing, Racial Inequality Early Next Year 


– BMO Tower tenants operating in new digs with reduced employee numbers 


– Some Businesses That Cater To Office Workers Facing Big Changes As Remote Work Grows 


– Iron Horse Hotel business running at half speed, will reopen Ash for weekend indoor dining 


– New bus line would serve’s Oak Creek facility and its 1,500 jobs 

– Looking to buy a used car in the pandemic? So is everyone else. 


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