MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services reported 4,831 COVID-19 cases, 77 additional deaths on Saturday.
There have now been 409,386 positive cases in the state and 3,702 deaths as of Saturday.
Wisconsin flags at half-staff to honor nurse, EMT
Flags in Wisconsin are being flown at half-staff Saturday to honor a nurse and fire department EMT who died from complications of COVID-19.
Gov. Tony Evers an executive order to honor Kelly Raether. Flags in the state are to be flown at half-staff until sunset on Saturday.
The 42-year-old Raether died on Nov. 26. Her sister, Kari Raether, said Kelly Raether was exposed to the virus in the line of duty for the Ixonia Fire Department and was sick for about a month before she died.
Raether taught nursing students at Carroll University in Waukesha,
Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday cited high case counts in the state when making the argument with President Donald Trump’s administration to get $466 million to fight the virus and prioritize the state for vaccine distribution.
Wisconsin is slated to receive 50,000 doses within weeks but Evers wants enough to vaccinate the state’s 450,000 health care workers.
Staffing shortages prompt closure of Waupun prison hall
Wisconsin corrections officials are closing part of the Waupun prison and transferring inmates to other facilities as they deal with staffing shortages exacerbated by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Department of Corrections said Tuesday it is closing a cell hall at the maximum-security Waupun Correctional Institution and sending its 220 inmates to other prisons.
Corrections officials say the transfers will reduce the prison’s overall population by 20% and help address staff vacancies.
The state prison system has historically struggled with staffing vacancies, but the problem has worsened with COVID-19. The DOC says that since the start of the pandemic, 119 Waupun staff have self-reported testing positive for COVID-19.
Virus claims nearly 300 nursing home residents in 4 weeks
Nearly 300 nursing home residents in Wisconsin died from COVID-19 in the most recent month reported to the federal government.
The Journal Sentinel reports that’s more than 10 times the previous month.
Nursing homes in Wisconsin reported that 294 residents had died of the disease caused by the coronavirus between Oct. 12 and Nov. 8, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
In the previous month, the deaths of 28 residents were reported. In the latest four-week period, Wisconsin nursing homes reported 2,130 residents with newly confirmed cases.
Conservative attorneys challenge Dane County gatherings ban
A conservative law firm is asking the state Supreme Court to strike down Dane County’s ban on indoor gatherings and sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty asked the justices Monday to take its lawsuit challenging the ban and issue an immediate injunction. The firm argues the issue is of statewide importance since many counties have expanded their ordinances as the pandemic continues.
The health department’s spokeswoman says the agency is trying to protect people’s health using science and data and is confident the order is legal.
The court struck down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order in May and is currently considering a challenge to his mask mandate.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has decreased by 5.2%. But the state has still reported the nation’s sixth-highest number of new cases in that time. Roughly one in every 139 people has tested positive in the past week.
WLS-TV contributed to this report
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