WISCONSIN CORONAVIRUS: THE LATEST

Wisconsin governor: State employees must wear masks indoors

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 6:45 PM ET Aug. 04, 2021

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ administration has ordered state workers to wear masks when they’re working indoors, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

The Department of Administration issued the mandate on July 30. It goes into effect on Thursday.

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Advocate Aurora Health requiring vaccinations for workers

BY Associated Press

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (AP) — Advocate Aurora Health will require its 75,000 employees in Illinois and Wisconsin to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Oct. 15, the hospital group announced Wednesday.

With the highly contagious Delta variant spreading nationwide, Advocate Aurora inpatient COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased five-fold over the past three weeks, and the system’s test positivity rate is the highest it’s been since January, the system said.

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Should you be masking up? Check your county's COVID-19 transmission classification, here.

BY Aly Prouty and Kevin Schwaller
UPDATED 5:30 PM ET Aug. 03, 2021

WISCONSIN — Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued new guidelines this week on mask usage. Citing the delta variant, fully vaccinated people are encouraged to wear masks in some instances.

Both the CDC and DHS recommended that people who are vaccinated should wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where COVID-19 is surging, notably in areas classified as having "substantial" and "high" transmission of the coronavirus, as noted by county level on the CDC website.

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Your guide to the coronavirus variants, from alpha to lambda

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world looks a lot different than it used to. And so does the coronavirus itself.

As it’s infected hundreds of millions of people around the globe, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been in a state of constant change, making small tweaks to its genetic code as it goes along.

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Wisconsin’s new virus cases top 1,000 for 1st time in months

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The number of new daily COVID-19 cases reported in Wisconsin has surpassed 1,000 for the first time in months, fueled by the spread of the more contagious delta variant, health officials said Friday.

The Wisconsin Department of Health reported 1,058 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Friday — the highest since April 8. The number of cases that stem from the delta variant has doubled.

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Kroger 'strongly encourages' employees, customers to wear masks regardless of vaccination status

BY Bryce Shreve

OHIO — Citing the recent surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide due in large part to the delta variant, Kroger is now encouraging all customers and employees to wear masks in stores, regardless of vaccination status.

In a statement from a Kroger spokesperson, the company said its stance was informed by updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released this week.

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City of Milwaukee Health Department advises to mask up, regardless of vaccination status, in certain settings

BY Aly Prouty

MILWAUKEE — The City of Milwaukee Health Department released new mask recommendations following guidelines issued by the Center for Disease Control earlier this week.

On Tuesday, July 27, the CDC recommended that those in areas where transmission was either considered "substantial" or "high" wear a mask in indoor, public places, regardless of vaccination status.

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'The earth is not flat, and the vaccine works': Milwaukee's back-to-school health fairs to focus on vaccinations

BY Andrew Havranek
UPDATED 7:31 AM ET Jul. 29, 2021

MILWAUKEE — It is still summer, and school is still more than a month away for most students across Wisconsin. But that isn't stopping conversations about health among local officials.

“If you’re a kid in the city of Milwaukee, you’re probably not thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to go back to school,’” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Wednesday morning.

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DHS advises new COVID-19 guidelines

BY John Lynch

MILWAUKEE — As coronavirus case levels rise in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) issued updated guidelines on COVID-19 prevention.

In a press release issued today, DHS provided more information about the preventing the spread of the delta variant, which is more infectious than the original COVID-19 strain.

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Marquette president tests positive for COVID-19

BY John Lynch

MILWAUKEE — Michael Lovell, president of Marquette University, took to Twitter to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday night.

Dear Marquette community, I’m writing today to share some personal news. After experiencing mild cold-like symptoms, I took the responsible step of getting a COVID-19 test, and although I am fully vaccinated, the results came back positive this afternoon.

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Ascension Wisconsin employees are now required to roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine

BY Aly Prouty

MILWAUKEE — Ascension Wisconsin is going to require all of its employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19, becoming the first healthcare system in the southeastern Wisconsin region to do so, according to officials.

In a statement, Ascension said that employees must complete the COVID-19 vaccine series no later than Nov. 12, 2021. This applies to employees regardless of whether or not they provide direct patient care. Additionally, both on-site and remote employees will be required to be vaccinated.

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States scale back virus reporting just as cases surge

BY Associated Press

Several states scaled back their reporting of COVID-19 statistics this month just as cases across the country started to skyrocket, depriving the public of real-time information on outbreaks, cases, hospitalizations and deaths in their communities.

The shift to weekly instead of daily reporting in Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota marked a notable shift during a pandemic in which coronavirus dashboards have become a staple for Americans closely tracking case counts and trends to navigate a crisis that has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S.

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Tell us: What's your vaccine story?

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 3:00 PM ET Jul. 24, 2021

More than five million people in Wisconsin have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Are you one of them?

We're collecting stories about people's vaccine experiences for Spectrum News 1. If you're interested in sharing your story, fill out this form so our reporters can get in touch!

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Wisconsin doctor warns of delta variant in schools

BY Jorge Rodas

BROWN COUNTY, Wis.— A Green Bay area doctor warns the COVID-19 delta variant could impact schools this fall.

That’s why Dr. Ashok Rai, president and CEO of Prevea Health, said more people need to be vaccinated before the start of the school year, including children 12 and older.

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Unvaccinated in Wisconsin are ‘sitting duck’ for COVID-19

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s top health leaders on Thursday urged anyone age 12 or older who will be attending school in the fall to get vaccinated as soon as possible for COVID-19, as cases surge in the state due to the more contagious delta variant.

The call comes amid a growing concern in Wisconsin and nationally about growing numbers of COVID-19 cases. In Wisconsin, the seven-day average of new confirmed cases was 242 as of Thursday, which was three times as high as two-and-a-half weeks ago. There have been 7,393 deaths from the disease in Wisconsin since the start of the pandemic, with an average of one per day over the past week.

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WHO leader says virus risk is inevitable at Tokyo Olympics

BY Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics should not be judged by the tally of COVID-19 cases that arise because eliminating risk is impossible, the head of the World Health Organization told sports officials Wednesday as events began in Japan.

How infections are handled is what matters most, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech to an International Olympic Committee meeting.

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Doctors recommend more safety steps as COVID-19 cases climb

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE— As the more contagious and potentially dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, becoming the dominant strain in the U.S., and with more unvaccinated Wisconsinites taking fewer precautions, case counts have started to climb again.

"The numbers of newly vaccinated people are dropping dramatically," Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin told Spectrum News 1. "We've kind of run into a wall just in terms of the number of people that are comfortable being vaccinated right now..."

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UW Health doctor explains why COVID-19 cases are climbing

BY Jason Fechner



MILWAUKEE— As Wisconsin's COVID-19 case curve continues to climb statewide this week after dropping off significantly over the past few months, and as the vaccination rate statewide has now slowed to a crawl, frontline healthcare workers say they're frustrated.

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Research roundup: Here’s what we have learned about coronavirus recently

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 2:00 PM ET Jul. 05, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Over the past year and a half, the scientific world has seen a steady flow of research updating what we know about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and how it affects humans.

Because the virus is so new, researchers are still grappling with many questions about its function. And because of the nature of the scientific process, no single study can completely answer those questions. Instead, new research is constantly challenging our understanding of the pandemic.

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Wisconsin doctor helps find added blood donation benefit

BY Jason Fechner
UPDATED 8:18 AM ET Jul. 03, 2021

MILWAUKEE — As countless blood donation centers across the country and here in Wisconsin continue to call for more people to donate and restock the dwindling reserves, a Wisconsin doctor has helped to find an added benefit for COVID-19 survivors to donate their convalescent plasma, specifically to be used for blood cancer patients who'd also contracted COVID-19.

"[I]t showed a huge difference," Dr. Michael Thompson, an oncologist and researcher with Advocate Aurora Health told Spectrum News 1. "[T]he patients who got convalescent plasma had about a 50% reduction in death..."

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UW Health doctor addresses vaccine, variant concerns

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE — As the COVID-19 vaccination rate slows across Wisconsin and the rest of the country, Dr. Jeff Pothof, the chief quality and safety officer for UW Health, implored Wisconsinites to seek out a vaccine ASAP, especially as variants continue to spread around the world.

"We understand that these vaccines are incredibly effective, even against variants," Dr. Pothof told Spectrum News 1. "And the risk of adverse events are remarkably low-- single digits per million doses, compared to if a million people got COVID-19, 18,000 of them would die."

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Doctor blasts Wisconsin senator’s COVID vaccine skepticism

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a vocal critic of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, announced plans Friday to hold a news conference bringing together people who claim to have had adverse reactions to the vaccine.

His plans drew renewed criticism from doctors who have been accusing Johnson for months of advancing conspiracy theories and putting people’s health at risk.

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UW Health weighs in on new COVID-19 guidance for 'long-haulers'

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE — As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors and scientists worldwide continue to study the impact and effects of COVID-19, most admit there's still a lot to learn about the virus and complications tied to it.

"Other post-viral syndromes do exist and we don't necessarily know a lot about those either," Dr. Matt Anderson, UW Health's senior medical director of primary care, told Spectrum News 1. "A lot of it is supportive treatment management. Why it occurs? How specifically [can] we best address it in a way that offers more immediate relief? It's something we're still needing to get more information about going forward."

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Wisconsin DHS is tracking B.1.617.2 variant

BY Aly Prouty

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed Wednesday that another variant of the coronavirus was detected in Wisconsin.

The variant strain, referred to as B.1.617.2, is believed to have originated in India and was first detected there in October 2020. Wisconsin DHS said in a statement that the B.1.617.2 variant is responsible for the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom.

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Wisconsin bill forbids requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination

BY Spectrum News Staff and Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly planned to vote Wednesday on a Republican-backed bill that would prohibit businesses, colleges and universities, governments and anyone else in the state from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The measure banning so-called vaccine passports must also pass the Senate and be signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law. Evers has signaled that he will veto the bill.

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COVID-19 vaccine news: Here are the latest updates to know in Wisconsin

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — As we’ve made it into June, Wisconsin’s summer is quickly heating up. But across the state, enthusiasm for getting the COVID-19 vaccine seems to be cooling off.

Demand for the shots is lagging, even as health officials work to make vaccines easier to get — and piling on more freebies for vaccinated Wisconsinites. Still, trends in the state’s infection rates are continuing to improve, and lots of residents are shedding their masks as local mandates end.

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UW-Madison dorm outbreaks didn’t spill over into the community, new study finds

BY Maddie Burakoff

MADISON, Wis. — As students returned to UW-Madison’s campus last fall, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, tensions were high.

Cases quickly started to rise, especially in Sellery and Witte residence halls — the two biggest dorms on campus. With hundreds of students testing positive each day, residents feared the outbreaks would leak out into the surrounding community.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations at their lowest level in Wisconsin

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 virus hit their lowest recorded levels in Wisconsin this week before inching back up on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association said that as of Monday, there were 186 people reported as hospitalized statewide due to the virus. The previous low was 192 people on April 2, the first day that the dashboard tracking hospitalizations reported data. The high was 2,277 patients on Nov. 17, 2020.

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Nearly half of Wisconsin prison inmates are fully vaccinated

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Nearly half of the people in custody in Wisconsin prisons and youth facilities are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The rate of vaccinations in prisons exceeds the vaccination rate for Wisconsin as a whole, after initially lagging behind. Data from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections shows that as of Tuesday, 8,972 people, or 47.2% of the eligible prison population, have been fully vaccinated. That’s compared with 41.7% of eligible state residents overall, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

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Meeting Milwaukee where it's at: Health department deploys mobile clinics

BY Dan Molloy

MILWAUKEE — With COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates on their way out, the Milwaukee Health Department is sharpening its focus to reach more people with vaccines. The city is in a new phase in its vaccination efforts, bringing vaccine directly into neighborhoods, including free clinics at three Milwaukee Public Library branches.

It is a targeted strategy, as the health department zeroes in on neighborhoods with lower vaccination rates compared to the city as a whole.

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Fiserv Forum lifts capacity restrictions for Bucks playoff games starting June 1

BY Aly Prouty

MILWAUKEE— It's about to get a lot easier to get a ticket to a Milwaukee Bucks playoff game this year.

In a press release, the Bucks announced on Wednesday that they are increasing capacity at Fiserv Forum from 9,100 fans to 16,500 fans for the rest of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The 100% capacity allowance will go into effect on June 1 for a potential Game 5 matchup against the Miami Heat.

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Here's what you can expect at American Family Field starting June 1

BY Aly Prouty

MILWAUKEE— The Milwaukee Brewers announced new "fan-friendly" policies that will take effect Tuesday, June 1.

Fully vaccinated fans will no longer have to wear masks to American Family Field. However, officials are asking those who are not fully vaccinated to continue to mask up. This is in line with CDC guidelines.

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DHS official: Herd immunity may come this fall in Wisconsin

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 11:58 AM ET May. 23, 2021

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin may not reach herd immunity from COVID-19 until fall if vaccination rates continue to trend downward, a key state health department leader says.

Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said earlier this spring that 70% of Wisconsin’s population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity and the state could reach that benchmark by July.

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A Wisconsin county is one of the top vaccinated areas in America

BY Savanna Tomei

MADISON, Wis.— It’s a humid Saturday morning inside the Alliant Energy Center pavilion. The space that would once test over 1,000 people per day is now a mass vaccination site.

Turns out, Wisconsin is home to one of the most vaccinated counties in the country.

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Wisconsin small businesses weigh-in on mask guidance

BY Alyson Bruner
UPDATED 1:30 PM ET May. 19, 2021

WISCONSIN — From Milwaukee to Eau Claire, more Wisconsin municipalities are dropping their mask mandates.

Spectrum News 1 checked in with a few different small businesses to see what plans are in place following the new guidance announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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CDC director: Mask guidance turnaround based solely on science

BY Associated Press

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday defended the decision to ease mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, stressing that increasing political pressure had nothing to do with the abrupt shift in guidelines.

“I’m delivering the science as the science is delivered to the medical journals. And it evolved,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on FOX News Sunday. “I deliver it as soon as I can when we have that information available.”

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Grocers review mask mandates as guidelines change

BY Dan Molloy

MILWAUKEE — While the CDC announced this week vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks, grocery shoppers may want to hold onto a mask for their next trip.

The announcement Thursday by CDC director Rochelle Walensky led many state and local governments to reconsider their own mask mandates. Within 24 hours, many Wisconsin grocers had already amended or reiterated their mask requirements.

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Research roundup: Here’s what we have learned about coronavirus recently

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 10:36 AM ET May. 14, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Over the past year, the scientific world has seen a steady flow of research updating what we know about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and how it affects humans.

Because the virus is so new, researchers are still grappling with many questions about its function. And because of the nature of the scientific process, no single study can completely answer those questions. Instead, new research is constantly challenging our understanding of the pandemic.

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Wisconsin doctor expects shots in arms for 12-15 age group this week

BY Courtny Gerrish

WISCONSIN — Children as young as 12 are expected to be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as Wednesday.

The FDA extended its emergency use approval Monday for Pfizer's shot. A CDC advisory committee meets today, and a full recommendation is expected as early as Wednesday. If the CDC recommends it, 12 to 15 year olds could start getting shots before the end of the week.

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Bellin Health doctor urges vaccination to combat COVID-19 variants

BY Jorge Rodas

GREEN BAY, Wis.— Dr. Michael Landrum says the best way to prevent the spread of five known variants of COVID-19 in Wisconsin is to vaccinate the public.

Landrum is an infectious disease physician for Bellin Health in Green Bay. He says it’s urgent the state vaccinates as many people as possible because what the variants are known to do to those who get them.

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Wisconsin health officials order fraction of vaccine doses

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin health officials said Thursday that they’ve ordered only a fraction of the COVID-19 vaccine doses the federal government had set aside for the state for next week, another sign of plateauing interest in the shots.

Interest in the vaccine has been waning across the country. President Joe Biden’s administration announced Tuesday that it would shift doses from states with lower demand to states with more interest.

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“Step by step”: Patients and providers tackle long-haul COVID-19 cases, one day at a time

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 5:00 PM ET May. 03, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Before the pandemic, Cynthia, a 27-year-old Milwaukee resident, enjoyed camping and being outdoors. She loved her job as a neonatal ICU nurse, where she got to care for others and be a shoulder to lean on in people’s toughest moments. And she spent her free time leaping across the stage as part of a local Irish dancing company.

But seven months after she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in September, Cynthia — who asked to be identified by first name only — is still struggling with the virus’s lasting effects, including fatigue, chest pain and a heart condition known as pericarditis, an inflammation in the tissue around the heart, she explained.

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Doctor advises staying calm about COVID-19 "breakthrough" cases

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE – A new report from the Wisconsin State Journal this week shows that since vaccinations against COVID-19 began in Wisconsin several months ago, 605 people who've been vaccinated have subsequently tested positive for the virus.

"The goal of all of these vaccines is to prevent the worst outcomes," Dr. Jim Conway, an infectious disease pediatrician with UW Health, told Spectrum News 1. "The vast majority (of breakthrough cases) have very mild cases or asymptomatic cases."

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COVID-19 vaccine news: Here are the latest updates in Wisconsin

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — Four months into the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, providers across the state have gotten more than four million shots into arms, according to Department of Health Services data.

Anyone 16 and older is now eligible to schedule their appointments. And every day, more Wisconsinites are rolling up their sleeves for the vaccines that will protect them as well as their communities.

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While the Bucks shoot hoops, fans can get COVID-19 shots

BY Aly Prouty

MILWAUKEE — While the Milwaukee Bucks shoot hoops, fans can get shots in their arms on May 2.

The Milwaukee Health Department and the Bucks are teaming up to host a mobile vaccine site on Sunday at Fiserv Forum. The site will open in the Panorama Club, located in Fiserv Forum, at 1 p.m. and remain open through the end of the game against the Brooklyn Nets. Any fan 16 and older can visit the site to receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

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Wisconsin DHS replaces vaccine provider map with CDC's VaccineFinder

BY Aly Prouty
UPDATED 7:43 PM ET Apr. 22, 2021

WISCONSIN— In May, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services plans to utilize VaccineFinder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the service back in March to help people across the nation find nearby coronavirus vaccine providers. According to a news release, Wisconsin DHS will replace their current map highlighting vaccine providers with VaccineFinder.

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Supply of COVID-19 vaccine nearing demand in Wisconsin

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The supply of COVID-19 vaccine in Wisconsin is nearing the point of exceeding demand for the first time, with more than 50% of the eligible population having received at least one dose and nearly 30% of the total population fully vaccinated.

State health leaders said Thursday that while the gap between supply and demand is closing, there is an increasing emphasis on reaching those who may have difficulty getting vaccinated or who have been hesitant to receive the shot to date.

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Kids and COVID-19: What parents should know about the case uptick

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE— The number of children testing positive for COVID-19 across the country is on the rise, with the American Academy of Pediatrics confirming more than 88,000 cases a week ago alone.

"There's no question that as things improve, we hear about people who are in government who think masks are perhaps not so important for kids in schools because things [overall] have gotten better," Dr. Ellen Wald, chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin school of medicine and public health and pediatrician-in-chief of the American Family Children's Hospital, told Spectrum News 1. "But that's just the kind of activity that sets us back once again."

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Your pets can catch coronavirus but probably don’t spread it, research finds

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 3:45 PM ET Apr. 21, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Since COVID-19 started spreading last year, its impacts have stretched across oceans and borders — and even across species.

“People don’t live in a vacuum,” said Keith Poulsen, the director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at UW-Madison. “When you have an infectious disease come through, we have households of mammals, and that includes people, dogs, cats.”

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Wisconsin schools receiving $175 million for COVID-19 tests

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin schools will receive more than $175 million in federal funding to pay for school-based COVID-19 testing for teachers, students and staff, Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday.

The money is coming to Wisconsin as part of $10 billion the U.S. Department of Health Services announced in March it was targeting to help schools reopen across the country. The tests would be voluntary.

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Pharmacists hold onto paused J&J vaccine with fear of pending shortage

BY Kathryn Larson

FITCHBURG, Wis.— A Fitchburg pharmacist, like countless other state-immunizers, being told by officials to hold onto stockpiles of the paused Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccines are refrigerated at Fitchburg Family Pharmacy's where they remain "quarantined."

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COVID-19 vaccine hunters chase down appointments

BY Alyson Bruner

MILWAUKEE— Several volunteers are working together to help thousands of Wisconsinites book COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

“I can do this in our town in Germantown and get our teachers vaccinated and the senior citizens and the next thing you know it blew up quickly,” Bob Orech told Spectrum News.

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After the shot: What you need to know about post-vaccine immunity

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin’s vaccine rollout is in full swing.

As of earlier this month, everyone over 16 is eligible to sign up for an appointment. And each week, hundreds of thousands of people across the state are getting their shots — in pharmacies and doctor’s offices, football stadiums and churches.

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Wisconsin suspends use of J&J vaccine amid investigation

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin joined other states Tuesday in suspending the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine while federal agencies investigate six cases in which women who received the single-dose drug later developed blood clots.

State health officials made the move after the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration recommended the course of action, saying the pause could last days.

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'We Are Not Out of the Woods': Rock County Seeing COVID-19 Cases Double in Children with New Strain

BY Megan Marshall

ROCK COUNTY, Wis.— With the Badger State now at two million vaccinated Wisconsinites, things seem to be looking up, but a recent spike in cases has health officials thinking otherwise.

The B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus is likely the leading strain across the state. It’s more contagious and health officials are saying the biggest age group affected in the most recent spike is kids.

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Wisconsin DHS Shares Information on Two More Variants in the Badger State

BY Aly Prouty

WISCONSIN— Wisconsin Department of Health Services started sharing information on two additional coronavirus variants in the Badger State on Thursday, April 8.

Variants B.1.427 and B.1.429 were first identified in Wisconsin in Dec. 2020. These variants are believed to have started circulating in California, and were first discovered in California in May 2020.

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Kids Make Up Largest Group of Wisconsinites with COVID-19 for First Time

BY Savanna Tomei

MADISON, Wis.— Children are testing positive for coronavirus more than any other age group in Wisconsin right now.

Earlier on in the pandemic, the thought was that kids can’t spread the virus as much as adults. While the answer isn’t perfectly clear yet, evidence seems to dispute the idea that kids aren’t as contagious. However, kids are overall less severely impacted by the virus symptoms.

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Top ER Doctor Tries Out COVID-19 At-Home Testing Kit

BY Kathryn Larson

JANESVILLE, Wis. — Instead of driving to a COVID-19 testing site, you might be curious how you can take it from the comfort of the couch.

Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin asked Mercyhealth ER Dr. Christopher Wistrom to give the new technology a try.

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Need a COVID-19 Vaccine in Wisconsin? Here Are Local Resources To Schedule Your Shot

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 2:28 PM ET Apr. 07, 2021

MILWAUKEE — As COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out across Wisconsin, it can be hard to know where to turn to schedule an appointment.

As of April 5, every Wisconsinite who is 16 or older is eligible to get their vaccine. Here, we’ve collected information from vaccine providers to help you get your shot.

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Appeals Court Sides Against Businesses in Virus-Related Case

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin appeals court ruling clears the way for names of businesses that have had outbreaks of COVID-19 can be made public, but the decision is expected to be appealed to the state Supreme Court before any information is released.

The ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeals, based in Madison, came Monday in a case brought by the state’s largest business lobbying group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, against Gov. Tony Evers’ administration. The lawsuit attempted to block the release of the names of more than 1,000 businesses with more than 25 employees where at least two workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

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COVID-19 Variant Outbreak Tied to Wisconsin Childcare Center

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE – A COVID-19 outbreak of the variant first identified in the U.K. (B.1.1.7) has now been tied to a childcare center in Dane County where 21 children and staffers tested positive, followed by 16 of their relatives and "dozens" of people in the community since.

"We have been in close contact with them, they had been doing everything right," Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County said, adding that the center remains open right now. "They have strong protocols in place, continue to do so and we hope to not see much further spread."

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Research Roundup: Here’s What We Have Learned About Coronavirus Recently

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 5:10 PM ET Apr. 01, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Over the past year, the scientific world has seen a steady flow of research updating what we know about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and how it affects humans.

Because the virus is so new, researchers are still grappling with many questions about its function. And because of the nature of the scientific process, no single study can completely answer those questions. Instead, new research is constantly challenging our understanding of the pandemic.

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FDA Authorizes 2 At-Home COVID-19 Tests Without Prescription

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press

As COVID-19 testing numbers continue to slide in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized two at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 tests that can get rapid results – without a prescription.

The FDA said Wednesday that Abbott’s BinaxNow and Quidel’s QuickVue COVID tests can be sold without a prescription.

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Heading to a Brewers' Game? Read Their New Rules First.

BY Aly Prouty
UPDATED 8:50 AM ET Apr. 01, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Now that you can finally catch a baseball game at American Family Field for the first time in 18 months, many Brewers fans are probably rounding up their merchandise and on the hunt for tickets. But this season there's one more thing you're going to need before hitting up a game: A rundown of all the new rules.

The new guidelines are implemented with one thing in mind: Safety. The ballpark worked with MLB and the City of Milwaukee to create a set of standards to protect fans and staff from health risks posed by the pandemic.

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Madison Area Teen Wants Pfizer Vaccine as New Study Touts 'Well-Tolerated' Results for 12-15-Year-Olds

BY Kathryn Larson

MADISON, Wis.— A Madison-area teen is thrilled to hear Pfizer’s new younger age vaccine safety announcement — the survivor battled her own deadly disease — the Oregon girl hopes her constant fear of catching COVID-19 will one day also become a thing of the past.

In 2019, Phoebe Yancey learned she had a successful battle with a malignant stage IV brain tumor. Spectrum News 1 Wisconsin shared her Emmy award-winning story that same year. It highlighted her positive spirit and a special 'miracle cure' non-alcoholic cocktail made in her honor.

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Wisconsin DHS Identifies Third COVID-19 Variant in the State

BY Aly Prouty

WISCONSIN— Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed Friday that another variant of the coronavirus was detected in Wisconsin.

The variant strain, referred to as P.1, is believed to have originated in Brazil. P.1 was first detected in January 2021 in four travelers coming from Brazil to Tokyo, Japan.

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COVID-19 Vaccine News: Here Are the Latest Updates in Wisconsin

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 1:09 PM ET Mar. 26, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Most Wisconsinites are now eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. And every day, life-saving shots are going into arms, bringing us closer to the end of the pandemic.

Over a year after the coronavirus first showed up in the state, and with more than three months of the vaccine rollout now behind us, we take a look at the latest news to know here in the Badger State.

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A Hollywood-style End to the Pandemic? Think Again

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE – In the movies, the blockbuster comes to a close just before the credits roll: the Death Star blows up and the Star Wars rebels celebrate; Andy Dufresne and Red reunite on a beach after getting out from behind bars in The Shawshank Redemption; Bogart bids Ingrid Bergman adieu at the end of Casablanca.

So how might the pandemic's story end?

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Are You Experiencing Side Effects After Your COVID-19 Vaccine? Report Them to the CDC

BY Khyati Patel

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A new online tool to record COVID-19 vaccine side effects is gaining more attention. It's called V-Safe Health Checker, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people to sign up to help improve vaccination safety.

With more Americans getting the vaccine, the CDC is stepping in to help continue with the research.

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Could Another Sickness Jump From Animals to Humans? “We Can Bet On It”

BY Jeff Dahdah
UPDATED 1:13 PM ET Mar. 25, 2021

MADISON, Wis. — The coronavirus originated in animals before making the jump to humans. It's a type of sickness called a zoonotic disease. Tony Goldberg, a professor of epidemiology at the UW-Madison veterinary school and an expert on zoonotic diseases spoke with Spectrum News about how the coronavirus came around, and why we should be prepared for another pandemic.

Spectrum: I'll just start off with zoonotic diseases, can you tell me a little bit about them and how the coronavirus is one?

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Wisconsin GOP Leaders Praise State’s Vaccination Efforts

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called on the state’s business community to “step up” and return workers to offices around the Fourth of July, joining Wednesday with the state Senate’s top Republican in praising the state’s coronavirus vaccination efforts.

Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu offered rare praise for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration, giving it credit for increasing vaccinations. During the virtual event hosted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobbying group, they also pushed for a return to pre-pandemic work routines.

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When to Expect a COVID-19 Vaccine for Children

BY Adam K. Raymond
UPDATED 5:33 PM ET Mar. 24, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Three months into the U.S. vaccination effort against COVID-19, nearly 84 million Americans have received at least one dose. None of them are under 16.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three vaccines for emergency use, none for anyone younger than 16. Vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson may be administered to those as young as 18. Pfizer's vaccine is available for those as young as 16.

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Next in Line: Wisconsinites With High-Risk Conditions Up for COVID-19 Shots

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 11:13 AM ET Mar. 22, 2021

MILWAUKEE — A broad group of Wisconsinites with high-risk medical conditions have been added to the COVID-19 vaccine list.

On March 11, the Department of Health Services released a list of 20 different medical conditions that would qualify residents for the next vaccine phase, set to start on March 29. Days later, the eligibility date was pushed up to March 22.

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'My Senses Were Gone': UW La Crosse Community Reflects on 2020

BY Megan Carpenter

LA CROSSE, Wis.— Three women are preserving first-hand accounts of how the pandemic altered countless lives. A student, professor, and archivist at UW-La Crosse have made it their mission to ensure this past year is forever documented.

It began with Professor Kate Errthum, who taught her English class virtually last year.

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'We’re Doing Things Right': Milwaukee Eases Some Restrictions on Restaurants

BY Andrew Havranek

MILWAUKEE — Matt Roman Lopez, the director of operations at BelAir Cantina on Milwaukee’s Water Street believes the new guidance from the City of Milwaukee on restaurants shows things are headed in the right direction when it comes to COVID-19.

“It’s a sign that we’re doing things right, that the city as a hole is doing things right and people are staying healthy,” Roman Lopez said.

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Sister Jean Gets the Vaccine and Seat at the NCAA Tournament

BY Associated Press

CHICAGO — The best COVID-19 vaccine shots in America just might be the two that went into Sister Jean’s arm.

The breakout star and model for the most coveted bobblehead of the 2018 NCAA Tournament is now eight months beyond her 101st birthday and still serving as chaplain for the Loyola of Chicago basketball team. It took two vaccinations and some serious wrangling, but Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt was back on the scene Friday in Indianapolis watching her beloved Ramblers in person, sporting brand-new, brick-red kicks but the same radiant smile — a fresh reminder for a pandemic-weary fan base that a little perseverance still goes a long way.

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Official: Herd Immunity Possible in Wisconsin by July

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — There will be enough coronavirus vaccine in Wisconsin by the end of June to immunize 80% of those age 16 and over in the state, hitting a key target to achieve herd immunity for COVID-19, a top state health official said Thursday.

“Wouldn’t that be a wonderful 4th of July celebration, to hit 80% community immunity in the state of Wisconsin?” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

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Study: We’ve Lost More Than 20 Million Years of Life to COVID-19

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 9:39 AM ET Mar. 18, 2021

MADISON, Wis. — As the pandemic has dragged on, we’ve lost a year of “normal” life — of hugs, celebrations, family time, unmasked smiles.

But in terms of those gone too soon to COVID-19, we’ve lost much more time. According to a recent study, deaths from the coronavirus have cost more than 20 million years of life.

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Wisconsin Agency ‘Woefully Behind’ on Virus Data Cleanup

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin is “woefully behind” in cleaning up COVID-19 data and a renewed emphasis it has placed on making sure its case counts are more accurate has resulted in swings in previously reported numbers, state health officials said Wednesday.

There’s a concern the public won’t understand why the numbers are changing, state Department of Health Services officials told The Associated Press, even though they said it’s part of a routine process that fell behind in the fall as COVID-19 cases were spiking.

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FEMA to Handle Wisconsin Center Vaccinations Moving Forward

BY Jason Fechner
UPDATED 10:11 AM ET Mar. 16, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Consider it a booster shot to Wisconsin's ongoing efforts to get more Wisconsinites vaccinated against COVID-19 as FEMA stepped in Monday to take over Milwaukee's mega-vaccination site at the Wisconsin Center.

"This represents a whole of government effort and a whole of government partnership-- FEMA is coming in with a number of our federal partners to help support the State of Wisconsin's vaccination efforts," Dan Shulman, External Affairs Specialist with FEMA Region 5 told Spectrum News 1 on Monday. "For people in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, they're not going to notice any difference besides the fact thtat the people inside giving the shots are going to be federal employees instead of state and city employees."

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From “Safer at Home” to Shots in Arms: A Timeline of Wisconsin’s Pandemic Year

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — One year ago, the threat of COVID-19 was creeping into the national consciousness.

The novel coronavirus, at first a seemingly distant danger, started hitting home for the Badger State in March 2020. Wisconsinites hunkered down, stocked up on toilet paper, hosted Zoom hangouts, maybe tried their hand at a nice sourdough.

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Everyone in Wisconsin Will be Vaccine Eligible May 1

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Everyone in Wisconsin will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine on May 1, in according with President Joe Biden’s call, Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday.

State health officials had said Thursday that everyone in the state would be eligible sometime in May. Hours later, Biden said he wanted states to make everyone eligible by May 1.

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Year of COVID-19: Explore the Past and Future of Wisconsin​

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 9:48 AM ET Mar. 11, 2021

MILWAUKEE — A year ago, for many Americans, COVID-19 got real.

What started as a faraway threat quickly started hitting close to home. As March rolled around, we saw a rapid succession of scary events: Cases grew stateside, the World Health Organization called the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and the U.S. declared its own national emergency.

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LOCAL RESOURCES
Symptoms

The 2019 novel coronavirus may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms like:

  • cough
  • fever
  • trouble breathing and
  • pneumonia

The CDC believes symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.

(Source: CDC)