WED AM News: State ranked 14th for health of seniors; Over half of state’s COVID deaths since 2021 could have been prevented by vaccines, report estimates

— The health of Wisconsin seniors has been ranked 14th out of U.S. states in the latest America’s Health Rankings report from the United Health Foundation. 

That’s compared to 10th in the report from 2019, the last report in which the foundation ranked states for the health of seniors. 

Some of the state’s strengths include relatively low prevalence of “frequent mental distress,” a high pneumonia vaccination rate and low prevalence of insufficient sleep. 

But at the same time, seniors in Wisconsin have a high prevalence of excessive drinking, low cancer screening rates, and a high percentage of drinking water systems with “serious violations.” 

The report includes rankings for a series of broad categories, with Wisconsin being ranked among the top 20 states for most of them except for physical environment, for which the state was ranked 47th. This covers factors like air pollution, drinking water violations, and housing and transit options. 

Meanwhile, the state was ranked eighth for social and economic factors, 12th for clinical care, 16th for health behaviors and 18th for health outcomes. 

Some of Wisconsin’s best rankings include: third for economic resources for seniors; fifth for food insecurity, with 8.3 percent of seniors experiencing a lack of food security; second for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, with 79.9 percent of seniors having received a booster; and fourth for pneumonia vaccinations, with 75.3 percent of seniors vaccinated. 

But the state was ranked 50th for rates of excessive drinking among seniors with 11.8 percent, the report shows. Wisconsin was also ranked 47th for senior cancer screenings and 46th for air and water quality. 

See the state summary here: 

Download the full national report here: 

— A new public health report estimates more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin since the start of 2021 could have been prevented by vaccines. 

The report, from the Brown University School of Public Health in Rhode Island, estimates 5,445 of the state’s 9,154 COVID-19 deaths since that time could have been avoided through the use of vaccines. 

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York Times, the report makes this estimate based on how many deaths could have been prevented if the pace of vaccinations “at the point of highest demand last spring for each state was sustained” until 100 percent of the adult population was vaccinated. 

At the national level, the report estimates 318,981 of the 641,305 deaths since the start of 2021 could have been avoided. 

“The dashboard serves as a resource for states to build trust with their residents and close the gap in vaccinations,” report authors wrote. “It shows not just where we are in the pandemic, but where we could — and should — be with a renewed focus on vaccinations.” 

The state Department of Health Services site shows 64.4 percent of state residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 61.2 percent have completed the series. Meanwhile, 34.3 percent have gotten an additional or booster dose. 

The DHS site shows 12,958 total confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin. 

See the Brown University dashboard: 

See the DHS site: 

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— Wisconsin is one of just five states with a projected decline in traffic deaths last year compared to 2020 figures, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The state is estimated to have had 597 traffic fatalities last year, which is 2.8 percent lower than the 614 reported traffic deaths in 2020, the report shows. 

Meanwhile, the national total spiked about 10 percent over the year, from 38,824 in 2020 to 42,915 in 2021, the report shows. That’s the highest number of fatalities since 2005, the report shows, and the largest annual percentage increase since the Fatality Analysis Reporting System began in 1975. 

Other states that saw fewer deaths include: Maine, with a 1.2 percent decline; Maryland, 4.4 percent; Nebraska, 6.4 percent; and Wyoming, 11 percent. Rhode Island saw no change. 

Every other U.S. state — as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — saw an increase in traffic deaths over the year, based on the latest federal estimates. 

The report also includes a regional breakdown, showing each of the 10 NHTSA regions are estimated to have seen more traffic fatalities last year. That includes Region 5 — which covers Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio —  with a 9 percent increase over the year. 

See the full national report: 

Find the state and regional figures here: 

— NVNG Investment Advisors has launched a new statewide database for startups called +Venture Wisconsin. 

The Madison-based investing group says the profiles in the new database will be “controlled by the startups themselves,” and will include information such as the company name, website, contact information and details about the business. 

According to a release, users will be able to filter search results by industry and sector, “current needs” of the company and other factors. The newly launched site appears to have 10 startups currently listed as of yesterday. 

“In talking to other funds, we discovered that many were not familiar with the breadth and depth of startup activity occurring throughout Wisconsin,” NVNG Managing Director Grady Buchanan said in the release. “We hope this one-stop directory of emerging companies in the state will help Wisconsin startups and our many founders raise their national and global profiles.”

See the new site here:

See the release: 

— Twenty-one school districts in the state have been awarded a total of $508,000 to expand or create fabrication laboratories, Gov. Tony Evers and WEDC announced. 

These “fab labs” are workshops with equipment such as 3D printers, plasma cutters, laser engravers and more, meant to give students opportunities for hands-on experience and training. 

According to Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, the agency has invested over $3.9 million in fab lab funding over seven years to 106 schools in the state. The program requires matching funds from recipients. 

“Fab labs benefit not only the students themselves with important technology and career skills, but they also benefit Wisconsin employers, who will be able to find workers with the right skills to allow their companies to grow and thrive,” she said in the release. 

Individual school districts are getting grants between around $10,000 and $25,000, the release shows, while a joint school district covering the village of Fontana and the towns of Delavan and Walworth is getting around $33,000. 

See the release: 


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– ‘Subliminal’ named Holstein Association’s Star of the Breed

– Planting tractors were in high gear during past week


– Ixonia Bank opening mortgage office in Brookfield


– Estimated cost of Dane County jail rises by nearly $10M

– Construction begins May 23 for Highway 43 Rushford to Mabel repaving project


– Milwaukee sees big gain among ‘Best Places to Live’ as another Wisconsin city nears top spot


– Incoming UW-Madison Chancellor Mnookin ‘seeking common ground’ with Republican critics

– UW profs, Board of Regents show support for new chancellor after GOP attacks

– Madison online learning program to add 4th, 5th graders, temporarily drop 11th, 12th grades

– MIAD goes public with $10 million fundraising campaign

– Milwaukee area schools rated highest for Black-white segregation


– Results of Wisconsin’s 2021 Ag Chemical Survey released

– UW-Madison study: Eliminating air pollution emissions could save 50K lives each year


– As COVID cases rise in Wisconsin, DHS seeks to avoid ‘danger zone’

– Wisconsin, nation gear up for 988 mental health crisis hotline

– Bellin Health will build new facility aimed at better serving child and teen patients


– Former legislator pleads guilty to employment tax charges


– Former Kohl’s, Lands’ End exec leaves top job at Belk for Gamestop


– New UW-Madison leader deflects questions about GOP critics


– Marcus family real estate arm, The Avenue co-developer team up to buy Minnesota shopping center

– Janesville officials eyeing about 245 acres to add to TIF-eligible land stock


– Shopping center in St. Francis sold for $15 million


– Milwaukee Bucks plan a future with sports betting, new hotel and international games

– Johnson Controls wants out of Hall of Fame Resort sponsorship, demands $4.75M payment


– SmartSkim of Madison sold to Sentry Equipment in Oconomowoc


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