WISCONSIN CORONAVIRUS: THE LATEST

Wisconsin Adds Adults 65 And Up To COVID-19 Vaccine List

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — A broad group of vulnerable Wisconsinites will soon be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health Services announced that any Wisconsinites 65 and older would be able to get their shots starting next week.

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Following Coronavirus Numbers Across Wisconsin

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 3:17 PM ET Jan. 19, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin is continuing to see high numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 1,525 new cases on Tuesday.

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Biden Lays Out Ambitious Vaccination Push: "I Am Convinced We Can Get it Done"

BY Rachel Tillman

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday laid out his detailed plan to ramp up the pace that Americans receive critical COVID-19 vaccinations, slamming the Trump administration's vaccine rollout plan as a "dismal failure."

Biden has long promised the ambitious goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses during his first 100 days in office, but until Friday had not specified what steps his incoming administration will take to do so. Biden on Thursday released plans for a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, legislation aimed at economic recovery and financial assistance for needy Americans.

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

BY Maddie Burakoff

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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No Additional Positive COVID-19 Cases for Green Bay Packers on Thursday

BY Andrew Havranek

GREEN BAY, Wis.— Green Bay Packers’ head coach Matt LaFleur said there were no additional positive cases of COVID-19 among the team as of Thursday, after tackle Jared Veldheer was put on the reserve list Wednesday.

Veldheer learned he tested positive for COVID-19 after he practiced with the team on Tuesday.

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COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant US Strain by March, CDC Says

BY Erin Billups - National Health Reporter and Ryan Chatelain

The highly contagious coronavirus variant first detected in England could become the predominant strain in the United States by March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday.

As of Wednesday, 76 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant had been found in 10 states, the CDC said. But the agency said its modeling data show the variant spreading rapidly, which would place an even greater strain on hospitals, many already overwhelmed as case numbers continue to soar.

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Milwaukee Pharmacy Ready to Roll Out the First Phase of COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

BY Marti Glaser

MILWAUKEE— It's one of the most anticipated days of the year for frontline workers. And no, it's not a holiday.

Dr. Dimmy Sokhal is a pharmacist at Hayat Pharmacy in Milwaukee. Dr. Sokhal and her team at the pharmacy's Layton Avenue location are prepped and ready to begin administering the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations as early as next week.

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Wisconsin Launches Mobile Vaccination Plan

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin is launching a mobile coronavirus vaccination program next week to be operated by the Wisconsin National Guard and health officials, Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday.

Nine mobile labs will be dispatched across the state starting on Tuesday, Evers said. They will be staffed by members of the National Guard as well as pharmacy and nursing student volunteers through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin System.

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Biden Unveils $1.9 Trillion Rescue Plan: "The Very Health of our Nation is at Stake"

BY Spectrum News Staff and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 8:15 PM ET Jan. 14, 2021

"The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there's no time to waste,” President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday night, laying out in detail his plans to help Americans survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restart the lagging economy.

Thursday’s address marks the first of Biden’s two-part plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis in the country, saying he will roll out the “Rescue” portion on his first day in office. The second part — which Biden referred to as the “Recovery” effort — will be implemented in February.

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What Wisconsinites Should Know About the New COVID-19 Variant

BY Jason Fechner
UPDATED 2:45 PM ET Jan. 14, 2021

MILWAUKEE — As doctors and health departments across Wisconsin track a more contagious variant strain of COVID-19 after it was first discovered here in Eau Claire this week, Dr. Nasia Safdar with UW Health says that so far, there's no additional reason to be concerned.



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Wisconsin Pharmacies Ready to Roll Out COVID Vaccine

BY Alyson Bruner

KENOSHA, Wis.— In the race to get everyone vaccinated, Wisconsin hits a new milestone.

Local pharmacies are now getting the COVID vaccine. Alex Berce, CEO and managing pharmacist at Good Value Pharmacy said the state called him Tuesday morning to inform him that his pharmacies would be getting the COVID vaccine Wednesday morning.

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Who’s In 1B? A Breakdown Of Wisconsin’s Next COVID-19 Vaccine Group

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — As COVID-19 vaccines keep rolling out across the Badger State, officials are still trying to figure out who exactly should be next in line for the shots.

Wisconsin is for now focusing its doses on Phase 1A — health care workers and long-term care facilities. But the next wave, Phase 1B, is right around the corner.

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More Of Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Answered

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — Throughout 2020, scientists raced to develop a vaccine that could protect people from the threat of COVID-19.

They succeeded in developing life-saving shots and in record time. But that wasn't the finish line: As a new year has kicked off, the world is now faced with the unique challenge of getting those shots into people's arms.

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Dippin' Dots Freezers Vetted by HHS, FEMA to Store COVID-19 Vaccines

BY Khyati Patel
UPDATED 1:52 PM ET Jan. 10, 2021

PADUCAH, Ky. — A Kentucky-based ice cream company is gaining a lot of attention as an unlikely hero in the fight against COVID-19.

Dippin’ Dots has been contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services and FEMA for information about their chest freezers. With storage temperatures ranging from -40 to -122 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezers could soon be used to store COVID-19 vaccines.

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Milwaukee ER Doctor Details His COVID Vaccine Experience

BY Andrew Havranek

MILWAUKEE— Ben Weston, an emergency room doctor at Froedtert Hospital, has seen a lot in the last nine months.

“I’ve seen those infected with the virus become sick, struggle for air, be put on ventilators, and I’ve seen and cared for many who have died, died in this hospital that I sit in now, and in hospitals across this country and around the world,” says Weston, the director of medical services at the Milwaukee County office of emergency management.

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FDA Warns New COVID Variant May Cause False Negative Results

BY Rachel Tillman

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that newly emerging variants of the coronavirus may impact the outcome of some molecular COVID-19 tests.

In a statement released on Friday, the FDA said it alerted clinical laboratory staff and healthcare workers that more contagious variants of the coronavirus may not be detectable in some tests, resulting in false negative results.

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How Wisconsin Scientists Are Tracking COVID-19 Through Your Toilets

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 9:03 AM ET Jan. 08, 2021

MILWAUKEE — When a person catches COVID-19, they can shed the virus that causes it in a few different ways. Mostly, this happens through the respiratory system: Sneezing, coughing, breathing, talking.

But scientists have learned that the SARS-CoV-2 virus also exits out of another end of the body — the back end, to put it delicately.

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UW Health Doctor Says to Avoid Alcohol with COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Kathryn Larson

MADISON, Wis.— If you are lucky enough to receive a COVID-19 vaccine soon, don't drink. That's the latest finding from a new report out of the United Kingdom.

UW Health lead vaccine trial investigator Dr. William Hartman says the study revealed some interesting results.

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UK PM Boris Johnson Imposes New National Lockdown: "The Weeks Ahead Will Be the Hardest Yet"

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 4:04 PM ET Jan. 04, 2021

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown for England on Monday until at least mid-February to combat a fast-spreading new version of the coronavirus.

"That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home," Johnson said, urging people to hunker down in order to "protect the NHS and save lives"

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Wisconsin Hospital Worker Arrested for Spoiled Vaccine Doses

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 8:15 AM ET Jan. 01, 2021

MADISON, Wis. — Authorities arrested a suburban Milwaukee pharmacist Thursday suspected of deliberately ruining hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine by removing it from refrigeration for two nights.

The Grafton Police Department said the former Advocate Aurora Health pharmacist was arrested on suspicion of reckless endangerment, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property. The department said in a news release that he was in jail. Police did not identify the pharmacist, saying he has not yet been formally charged.

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365 Days Of COVID-19: The Year In Pandemic Science

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — One year ago, no one had ever heard of COVID-19.

That’s because, technically, it didn’t exist. Even as reports of a mystery illness started to pop up in China on New Year’s Eve, it would be days before scientists figured out a new coronavirus was the cause; weeks before they gave the disease its name; and months before they declared COVID-19 a pandemic, putting the whole world on high alert.

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DHS Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Data Page

BY Aly Prouty

WISCONSIN— The Wisconsin Department of Health Services launched a new data page on Tuesday, Dec. 29. This visualization tool focuses on a completely different set of numbers: It's all about coronavirus vaccine data.

“We are committed to providing the public with timely COVID-19 vaccine information,” says DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Even though we’re in the early stages of the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program, it is important for Wisconsinites to know where we stand and highlight the unprecedented work being done by COVID-19 vaccinators across the state.”

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Wisconsin’s Pandemic Year: A COVID-19 Timeline

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — On New Year’s Eve of 2019, the news still seemed distant: In the Wuhan province of China, dozens had fallen ill with a mysterious disease.

That puzzling outbreak, of course, would soon make its way across the globe. The novel coronavirus would become the central crisis of 2020, leading to devastating losses and turning our ways of life upside down. It would give us new habits (“mask up!”) and new vocabulary (“social distancing,” “quaranteam,” “zoombombing”).

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Coronavirus Relief: How Will The Bill Affect Wisconsinites?

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 11:45 AM ET Dec. 28, 2020

MILWAUKEE — More than nine months after March’s CARES Act provided a first round of pandemic relief, President Trump signed off on a new $900 billion stimulus bill Sunday night.

The package — which was tied up with a $1.4 trillion government spending bill — includes a wide range of funding measures for a country struggling with both a public health crisis and an economic downturn.

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Rural Wisconsin Hospitals Navigate Pandemic with More Patients, Fewer Staff

BY Nathan Phelps

STURGEON BAY, Wis. — The pandemic has been a challenge for hospitals in every corner of Wisconsin. From large cities to small communities — staff needed to be flexible to meet a challenge never before encountered.

Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay is like hundreds of other small hospitals around the state. Through flexibility, planning and dedication from employees, it’s overcoming the hurdles of COVID-19.

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Janesville ER Doctor Helps Develop New Five-Second COVID Breath Test

BY Kathryn Larson

JANESVILLE, Wis.— A Janesville Mercyhealth ER doctor and a team of medical and engineering minds are part of a potentially groundbreaking and non-invasive five-second COVID breath test.

Dr. Christopher Wistrom learned a machine developed by the Pennsylvania based environmental services company RJ Lee, could smell better than a dog’s nose.

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What’s at Stake in Congress Next Week: Defense Bill, Federal Funding, Stimulus Checks

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press and Rachel Tillman
UPDATED 4:40 PM ET Dec. 24, 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, the final week of the year may be a decisive one for the American people, as Congress will take up a series of measures intended to fund the government, the military, and provide COVID aid to working families.

The penultimate week of the year was no less chaotic. Lawmakers on Monday night finally agreed to an omnibus coronavirus relief and stimulus package, which came after months of fighting between parties.

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More Of Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Answered

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — After a massive global scientific effort, distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is now underway.

Over 10,000 high-priority Wisconsinites have gotten their shots as of Monday, according to the Department of Health Services. And, with 100,000 Moderna doses starting to arrive in the state, we’ll soon have shots for more of the health care workers and long-term care residents at the front of the line.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: Wisconsin Receives First Shipments of Moderna Vaccine

BY Spectrum News Staff
UPDATED 12:53 PM ET Dec. 22, 2020

WISCONSIN — Wisconsin healthcare workers all over the state are continuing to get their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and now Moderna's vaccine.

The long-awaited vaccines enter the Badger State as its caseload begins to dip. Nevertheless, Wisconsin's positivity rate is still at more than 26%, and the state is still seeing thousands of new cases every day

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Wautoma Doctor Gives Tips for Healthy Gathering During Holidays

BY Jorge Rodas

WAUTOMA, Wis.— With Christmas fast approaching, a Wisconsin doctor is urging people who plan to hold family gatherings to follow some guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Long Nguyen is a family physician for ThedaCare in Wautoma.

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What General Vaccination May Look Like in Wisconsin

BY Nathan Phelps

MILWAUKEE— The launch of vaccinations in Wisconsin is bringing excitement and optimism, but it’s also bringing questions.

A pair of doctors from the Medical College of Wisconsin took dozens of questions from people around the state Friday in the first of two webinars. A second event is scheduled for Monday.

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'Avoid it at All Costs': A COVID Long-Hauler Opens Up About His Long-Term Symptoms

BY Megan Carpenter

WAUWATOSA, Wis.— Dan Storey recovered from COVID-19 in August. His road to feeling like himself again, however, is a long one.

“Before I had COVID, I could run seven to 10 miles without a problem,” he said. “After I started to feel better, I would go for a run and get about a quarter-mile and couldn’t get enough oxygen and I’d feel dizzy and see stars.”

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Redlined Areas Have Worse Health And More COVID-19 Risk, Study Finds

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — In the 1930s, at the request of the federal government, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation divided up America’s cities.

The goal was to help stabilize the housing market in the midst of the Great Depression. These HOLC maps provided a guide to where offering mortgages would be a safe bet — and which areas, shaded in red, were to be avoided.

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Wisconsin Says It’s Getting Shorted on COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Add Wisconsin to the list of states told by the federal government that it will be receiving less COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech than initially expected.

Gov. Tony Evers said on Friday that the state was told on Thursday it will be receiving 35,100 doses of the vaccine, less than expected after 49,725 arrived this week. The Department of Health Services did not respond to messages about how much vaccine was expected.

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

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 11:13 AM ET Dec. 18, 2020

MILWAUKEE — In recent months, 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.

Here, we explore some recent studies that have shed new light on the virus.

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Experts Say Children Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine, Just Not Yet

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine last week, it came with an important caveat: the vaccine, the agency said, is only for those 16 and older.

That leaves tens of millions of American children without the ability to be vaccinated against COVID-19. But it won’t be that way forever. Pfizer, which currently has the only approved COVID-19 vaccine, and Moderna, which is expected to see its vaccine approved soon, have both started trials on children as young as 12. Spectrum News 1 spoke to experts in pediatric medicine about what needs to happen prior to vaccine authorization for children, why children need to be vaccinated at all, and the questions doctors still have about how young people will respond.

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Rural Areas Preparing for the COVID-19 Vaccine

BY Nathan Phelps

STURGEON BAY, Wis.— Applause and clicks of camera shutters ushered in the first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations in Wisconsin at a number of the state’s larger healthcare systems.

For smaller and rural facilities, the wait, and preparations, continue.

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A COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Participant is Speaking Out

BY Alyson Bruner

WISCONSIN— As the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine rolls out across the country, and here in Wisconsin, trial participants are sharing their experiences with the vaccine in hopes to encourage others to get vaccinated.

Spectrum News 1 talked with a California pediatric nurse who was part of the trial for Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine.

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CDC Panel To Vote Sunday on Who Should Get COVID-19 Vaccines Next

BY Austin Landis

The independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines will vote Sunday on who to recommend for the next wave of doses.

According to the group’s proposal, the next in line for the vaccine would be other essential workers – such as those in the food industry, police, firefighters, transportation workers and prison staff – followed by Americans over 65 years old and those with underlying health conditions.

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COVID-19 Vaccines Are In Wisconsin. Here’s What You Need To Know

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 6:25 PM ET Dec. 14, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Monday marked a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19: The first Wisconsinites have now gotten the highly anticipated coronavirus vaccine, bringing us one step closer to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

Tina Schubert, a respiratory therapist at UW Health, became the first known Wisconsinite to get her shot Monday afternoon. Tens of thousands of health care workers are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

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Critical Care Nurse from NYC Receives the First COVID-19 Vaccine in the US

BY Shannon Caturano and Elina Tarkazikis
UPDATED 12:45 PM ET Dec. 14, 2020

A nurse in Queens became the first person in the nation Monday morning to receive the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine, in an extraordinary moment of hope after a devastating year.

After more than nine months of battling the coronavirus and tirelessly working to save lives, high-risk physicians and nurses directly treating patients infected with the virus will be the first outside of clinical trials to get the Pfizer vaccine, which arrived in the state this morning.

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First Wisconsinites Set To Receive The COVID-19 Vaccine Today

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 12:03 PM ET Dec. 14, 2020

MADISON — A bright spot in this pandemic winter has arrived: The first Wisconsinites are expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine today.

UW Health said in a statement Monday that it received its first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and plans to start vaccinating employees Monday afternoon.

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A Christmas Miracle: 84-Day COVID-19 Patient Discharged

BY Jon Fuller

APPLETON, Wis.— Family and hospital staff cheered on a Kaukauna woman as she left the hospital on Friday. It had been 84 days since she was first admitted to Ascension St. Elizabeth in Appleton for COVID-19.

Staff including Dr. Nicholas Freeman lined the halls to say goodbye to Nancy Van Dyn Hoven, who they’ve gotten to know well.

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Gearing Up to Vaccinate Wisconsin

BY Nathan Phelps

WAUSAU, Wis.— It’s a day many have been awaiting for months: The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A vaccine from Pfizer just received emergency approval which means vacations for high-risk groups could begin in the next few days. But getting a broad swath of the state vaccinated is going to take months.

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Women Look to Affect Public Health for the Better Through Communication

BY Nathan Phelps

MADISON, Wis.— Malia Jones never thought the email she sent earlier this year would spark a team effort attracting more than 70,000 readers.

But that’s what happened after the associate scientist in health geography at the University of Wisconsin - Madison offered some practical pandemic advice to family and friends in late winter.

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Smaller Wisconsin Businesses Get Boost for Innovating during Pandemic

BY Jason Fechner

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- $3 million was up for grabs in Wisconsin over the past few months, all to benefit businesses successfully navigating their way through the "new normal" of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed "We're All Innovating," the program-- a partnership between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Technology Council-- ended up awarding funding to 231 businesses statewide.

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COVID-19 In Wisconsin: Cases Trend Down In December, But Deaths Still High

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Over the course of the fall, Wisconsin saw its COVID-19 cases shoot up dramatically as officials warned the state was in crisis.

Recent trends have offered more of a mixed bag. There’s been some relief as case rates have slowed and a life-saving vaccine appears close on the horizon. Still, health care workers are stretched thin and many Wisconsinites are losing their lives to the virus.

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There's a COVID-19 Vaccine on the Horizon. Can Your Employer Force You to Get It?

BY Alyson Bruner

MILWAUKEE — As we wait for the Food and Drug Administration to give the go-ahead on a coronavirus vaccine we wanted to know if an employer could require you to get one.

We found out that employers are allowed to mandate the vaccine for their employees, with certain exemptions and the vaccine must be fully licensed. There are exceptions if you have a medical issue or if it’s against your religion.

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Feds Passed Up Chance to Lock in More Pfizer Vaccine Doses

BY Associated Press

The Trump administration opted last summer not to lock in a chance to buy millions of additional doses of one of the leading coronavirus vaccine contenders, a decision that could delay the delivery of a second batch of doses until manufacturer Pfizer fulfills other international contracts.

The revelation, confirmed Monday by people familiar with the matter, came a day before President Donald Trump aimed to take credit for the speedy development of forthcoming coronavirus vaccines at a White House summit Tuesday.

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Vaccine Updates: News To Know As Wisconsin Gets Closer To COVID-19 Shots

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — In the worldwide race for a vaccine to protect against COVID-19, some candidates are nearing the finish line in the U.S., and in record time.

There’s a lot to understand, and a lot still to be determined, as the first shots may be on their way to high-priority Americans within weeks. Here, we round up some recent developments in the vaccine world and what they might mean for the Badger State.

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Years of Research Laid Groundwork for Speedy COVID-19 Shots

BY Associated Press

How could scientists race out COVID-19 vaccines so fast without cutting corners? A head start helped – over a decade of behind-the-scenes research that had new vaccine technology poised for a challenge just as the coronavirus erupted.

“The speed is a reflection of years of work that went before,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press. “That’s what the public has to understand.”

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Coronavirus Vaccine Questions, Explored: How Does it Work, and Are There Side Effects?

BY Austin Landis

As the U.S. watches and waits for a COVID-19 vaccine, the most promising candidates — from companies Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna — could be approved within a matter of days to weeks, prompting questions about what Americans can expect from the shots and how safe they are.

Spectrum News spoke with vaccine experts across the country to dig deeper on the most common questions about the vaccines.

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Wisconsin Has Seen More Car Crash Deaths During The Pandemic — Even With Less Driving

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — As pandemic restrictions have brought a lot of activity to a halt, roadways have been emptier than usual in 2020. But that drop in traffic hasn’t translated into safer streets: In fact, the state has seen a tragic uptick in fatal car crashes this year, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The researchers took a look at traffic patterns starting March 14 — right after Gov. Evers ordered schools to close and President Donald Trump declared the pandemic a national emergency — up until July 31, and compared the numbers to the same period last year.

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Your COVID-19 Bubble Might Be Stretched Thin. Here’s How To Keep It From Popping

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE — How many connections does it take to get to Kevin Bacon?

It’s the age-old question at the heart of a classic parlor game. And it’s also a bit of a lesson in why an interconnected world means COVID-19 “bubbles” can be precarious, especially with the high infection levels we’re seeing across the country, says Ashley Z. Ritter, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and chief clinical officer at Dear Pandemic.

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Side by Side, These Sisters are Fighting the Pandemic

BY Asal Rezaei

MADISON, Wis.— Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontlines has been a long battle for healthcare workers. At St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, two nurses, who happen to be sisters, are fighting the pandemic together.

Andrea Jarstad and Michelle Davis have both been nurses for over 20 years. They come from a family of health care workers and say they’ve faced a lot together in the past. Although they admit that it's safe to say they haven't tackled anything quite like this pandemic.

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Health Care Workers, Nursing Home Residents Should Be Vaccinated First, CDC Panel Recommends

BY Austin Landis

On Tuesday, a CDC advisory panel voted to prioritize health care workers and Americans living in long-term care facilities for a vaccine when one is approved, which is now likely by mid-December.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices held a four-hour long, virtual discussion about the U.S. populations that would be vaccinated in Phase 1 of the vaccine’s rollout, voting to approve the recommendation for Phase 1a. One panel member voted against the motion.

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First US COVID-19 Immunizations Could Arrive on Dec. 12

BY Rachel Tillman and Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The head of the U.S. effort to produce a coronavirus vaccine says the first immunizations could happen on Dec. 12.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is set to meet Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer Inc.’s request for an emergency use authorization for its developing COVID-19 vaccine.

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FDA Allows Emergency Use of Regeneron Antibody Drug

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press

U.S. health officials Saturday agreed to allow emergency use of a second antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental medicine that President Donald Trump was given when he was sickened last month.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. drug to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Keep Moving Along At UW Health, Encouraged By Other Results

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 9:05 AM ET Nov. 21, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) — The race for a vaccine that can stop COVID-19 in its tracks has rallied scientists from across the world into action. That includes researchers at UW Health, who are busy testing out the candidate vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Two other companies released promising results for their own vaccine trials this week: Moderna announced its preliminary data showed a 94.5% efficacy rate, and Pfizer, whose latest results found a similar 95% rate, said Friday it was seeking authorization from the FDA.

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At First Briefing in Months, Coronavirus Task Force Addresses COVID-19 Vaccine, Surge in Cases

BY Austin Landis
UPDATED 6:54 PM ET Nov. 19, 2020

In their first official briefing since July, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force addressed the nation on Thursday, publicly acknowledging the current surge in coronavirus cases as a group for the first time.

A number of familiar faces spoke in the briefing room, including Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronovirus Response Coordinator, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

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Doctors Discuss COVID-19 Surges Ahead of Holidays

BY Dan Molloy

WISCONSIN— Four northeast Wisconsin doctors said hospitals are filling up with COVID-19 patients and their medical teams are working long hours to ensure every patient who needs care can get it. As the pandemic roars on past the nine-month mark, those on the panel expressed their frustration, too.

“When people say to me, ‘I’m really tired of hearing about COVID,’ I always say, ‘You’re not half as tired of hearing about COVID as I am,’” said Dr. James Heise, the chief medical officer at Door County Medical Center.

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Coronavirus Test Accessibility is Expanding Across Wisconsin

BY Asal Rezaei

WISCONSIN— By now, many people know where to get tested for COVID-19, but some testing sites are being overwhelmed.

One family physician with Ascension Wisconsin says if you need to get tested, it’s best to start with who you know.

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Now You Can Get Swabs on Saturdays: Miller Park Extends Coronavirus Testing Times

BY Aly Prouty

MILWAUKEE— If you snagged a WE Energies Cookie Book at Miller Park last Saturday, you have a new reason to head Brewers Way this weekend. Although, this trip may be a little less cheerful.

The Miller Park COVID-19 testing facility is expanding its hours. Wisconsinites can now get a drive-thru or walk-up test on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday testing kicks off on Nov. 21.

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Here's What Wisconsin DHS Says Its Vaccination Plan Will Look Like

BY Dan Molloy

MADISON, Wis.— The deputy secretary of Wisconsin Department of Health Services put the state’s coronavirus vaccination plans in simple, yet striking terms Tuesday.

“It will be the most extraordinary public health intervention our state has ever undertaken,” Julie Willems Van Dijk said. “This COVID-19 vaccination planning and dissemination plan is even more complicated than we had ever imagined.”

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

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — In recent months, 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.

Here, we explore some recent studies that have shed new light on the virus.

Read More

Evers Unveils New Coronavirus Relief Measures

BY Associated Press
UPDATED 4:40 PM ET Nov. 17, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers released a package of proposals to tackle the surging pandemic Tuesday as Wisconsin announced a daily record 92 deaths from the coronavirus and health officials cautioned that even when a vaccine becomes available it will be months before most people receive it.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also outlined Republican priorities, but did not release specific proposals, while pledging to find common ground with Evers. Republicans have fought Evers nearly every step of the way over his virus response, including suing him over his “safer at home” order this spring and the statewide mask mandate.

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How Can We Communicate Better About COVID-19?

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — In February, Gov. Tony Evers issued a statement on a “new disease threat” — the first case of COVID-19 reported in the state of Wisconsin.

More than nine months later, Evers and other officials have been tasked with communicating constantly about coronavirus. But what makes for effective messaging in the midst of a pandemic and an overwhelming flow of information?

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A Look At Some Of Wisconsin’s Alarming COVID-19 Trends

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — It was another record-shattering week for Wisconsin.

On Friday, one week after the state first surpassed 6,000 daily cases, it set a new high with 7,777 infections. Cases are increasing at exponential rates; the White House coronavirus task force referred to the steep uptick as an “unrelenting rise.”

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CDC Director is Impressed with UW Coronavirus Testing

BY Anthony DaBruzzi

LA CROSSE, Wis.— CDC Director Robert Redfield recently visited Madison to see how the UW-System was doing with COVID-19 testing, and it turns out he was impressed.

Now, with resources from the federal government, a new partnership is expanding testing on campuses to the public.

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Healthcare Workers are Nearing Critical Shortage in Wisconsin

BY Aly Prouty

WISCONSIN— As Wisconsin continues to see rising coronavirus case numbers, the state is seeing an alarming downward trend in another critical area: Healthcare workers.

“Our hospitals are overwhelmed, our health care workers are exhausted, and too many families have lost a loved one. Wisconsin is at a critical juncture right now,” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services deputy secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

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Wisconsin Is Facing Exponential COVID-19 Growth — And That’s Bad News

BY Maddie Burakoff

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — On Wednesday, Wisconsin set another record for new daily coronavirus cases, adding 7,073 infections to its count.

The previous high, which was reported just this Saturday, had shattered the earlier record of 6,141 cases, which was set the day before. Overall, the state has broken its own case record six times in the past two weeks.

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Here's Wisconsin’s Plan For COVID-19 Vaccination

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 12:06 PM ET Nov. 09, 2020

MILWAUKEE — As the race to develop a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine continues, states are planning out how they’ll get these doses into the arms of their residents.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services published a summary of its vaccination plan at the end of October, laying out some additional details on how the vaccine will be distributed — and who will get priority. Here, we break down some of the information included in their plan.

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Even With a Vaccine, Health Officials Say Coronavirus Precautions Need to Be in Place for Months

BY Dan Molloy

WISCONSIN— Since the onset of the pandemic, health officials across Wisconsin have focused on three things to minimize the spread of coronavirus: Washing hands, maintaining physical distance and, eventually, wearing masks. Initial protocols centered on limiting large public gatherings like sporting events and festivals, but as fall turns to winter, health departments are adjusting their messages. As COVID-19 numbers continue to skyrocket, experts are now advising against even small indoor gatherings.

“Those can add up to be just as dangerous, just as problematic, with even more collective transmission than those single large events,” said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services at the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management. “Unfortunately this is a time when we must be avoiding large as well as small, indoor, non-distanced gatherings among family or friends.”

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Dane County Officials: One in Three COVID-19 Cases Coming From Outside Household

BY Jeff Dahdah

MADISON, Wis. — Madison and Dane County public health officials are urging people not to gather together as community spread in the area continues to intensify.

In a press conference on Thursday, Public Health Madison and Dane County director Janel Heinrich said that most of the spread in the area is coming from people having contact with people who live outside of their own household.

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Here's Where Coronavirus Stands Across the U.S. Right Now

BY Austin Landis

As states across the U.S. count votes amid a close election, COVID-19 counts continue to break records. As of Thursday morning, more than 52,000 Americans are hospitalized with the virus, and more than 100,000 new cases were reported Wednesday, the highest single-day total so far.



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Teens, Politics, and Fatigue: Why Midwest COVID Cases Have Surged

BY Maddie Burakoff , Adam K. Raymond and Pete Grieve

The first wave of COVID-19 swept through the Northeast this spring and the second wave, over the summer, was concentrated in the Southeast. Now, as temperatures drop, the Midwest has become the latest frontier for the coronavirus, with five states among the top 10 nationally for new infections.

Wisconsin’s recent numbers have turned the state into one of the nation’s hottest COVID-19 hotspots. Cases more than doubled in the past month and a half, hospitals are filling up, and deaths are setting new record highs.

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'Doctors Have a Hard Time Differentiating It Without a Test': What to Know About Coronavirus vs. Flu

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 7:00 AM ET Oct. 28, 2020

MILWAUKEE— COVID-19 is still spreading far and wide through Wisconsin, as the state on Tuesday reported record-high numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Soon, the virus will be joined by another, more familiar public health foe: The seasonal flu. As influenza cases are expected to start ramping up in the coming months, here’s what to know about how the different viruses stack up, and what you can do to stay safe.

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Coronavirus Deaths Are Rising Again in the US

BY Associated Press and Spectrum News Staff

Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every state, despite assurances from President Donald Trump over the weekend that “we’re rounding the turn, we’re doing great.”



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COVID-19 Continues to Devastate Native American Population

BY Jorge Rodas

ONEIDA RESERVATION, Wis.–– Wisconsin’s Native American population continues to see high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases during the most recent surge of the pandemic.

Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill says as of Friday there are 68 active cases of the virus on the reservation. He says that’s roughly three times higher than at any other point of the pandemic.

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FDA Gives Gilead’s Remdesivir Stamp of Approval as COVID Treatment

BY Spectrum News Staff & Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday approved Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug Remdesivir as an effective treatment against coronavirus.

The move makes Remdesivir, also known as Veklury, the first and only fully approved COVID treatment in the country. The drug will be used “for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization,” a statement on Gilead’s website read.

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Coronavirus Cases Jump Among Wisconsin’s American Indians

BY Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Coronavirus cases among American Indians in Wisconsin have tripled since Sept. 1, far surpassing the growth rate among other races.

Data from the state Department of Health Services as of Wednesday showed 59 new cases and one additional death among American Indians in Wisconsin. That raised the total to 2,333 Native Americans testing positive, up from 775 cases as of Sept. 1. Twenty-three American Indians have died due in Wisconsin to COVID-19 this year, the agency said.

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As Coronavirus Worsens, Evers Calls for Federal Relief Package

BY Jeff Dahdah

MADISON, Wis. — Governor Tony Evers called on federal lawmakers to pass more coronavirus aid on Tuesday during a coronavirus update press conference.

“One package passed months ago is just not enough for our communities, our workers, our business owners, and our Wisconsin families who continue to struggle to make ends meat as this pandemic wears on.”

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“Wisconsin is in Crisis”: State’s COVID-19 Numbers are Reaching New Heights

BY Maddie Burakoff

Over the course of the past few weeks, Wisconsin’s coronavirus numbers have shot up at alarming rates. Record-breaking infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have turned the state into one of the worst hotspots in the U.S. and sent health systems scrambling to keep up.

At a media briefing last week, state leaders painted a dire picture of the state’s pandemic response.

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Here's What a Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Means

BY Adam K. Raymond

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last month, not long after President Donald Trump said the U.S. military will help distribute millions of doses of a forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine, a conspiracy theory quickly went viral. Stories falsely claiming that the government “plans to force a vaccine on everyone” were quickly debunked by fact-checking websites, but the idea took hold in some of the more paranoid corners of Facebook and YouTube.

For months, conspiracy theories surrounding compulsory COVID-19 vaccination have bounced around social media. The contours of the claims are generally the same, involving forced injections of an unsafe, or in some cases, actively dangerous vaccine. They’ve spread like the virus itself, first within the strident anti-vaccination community and then migrating well outside of it, with fear of “forced” vaccines raised by the likes of tennis superstar Novak Djokovic and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, father of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

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New COVID-19 Outbreaks Flare Up In Wisconsin Prisons

BY Maddie Burakoff
UPDATED 7:15 PM ET Oct. 14, 2020

MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — As a record-breaking surge of coronavirus cases continues to sweep through Wisconsin, outbreaks in two state prisons have infected hundreds of inmates and employees.

Cases in correctional facilities have more than doubled in the past month: On Sept. 8, there had been 899 positive tests among those in DOC facilities, according to the department’s COVID-19 dashboard. By Thursday, Oct. 8, that number had risen to 2,157 positive tests, with 1,000 of those cases still active.

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Cows To COVID: How A Veterinary Lab Became Key To UW-Madison’s Pandemic Response

BY Maddie Burakoff

MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) — In his time as director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Keith Poulsen says he’d never seen the lab perform a test on a human sample — until the pandemic landed on their doorstep.

The lab, which sits on UW-Madison’s campus, mainly serves the agriculture industry, checking animal samples for disease. But as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world and loomed large over back-to-school plans, Poulsen and his team took up the call from campus leaders, adding humans to the herds and flocks they work to keep healthy.

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Wisconsin Grocery Stores Look to Fill Openings During Pandemic

BY Jeff Dahdah

MADISON, Wis. — There's been a noticeable shift in what it looks like to go to a grocery store. Someone wiping down carts at the front of the store, markings on the floor detailing social distancing guidelines, a clear barrier between checkout clerks and customers.

“We take sanitation specifically in our stores very, very serious,” said Kevin Metcalfe, who runs Metcalfe's Market with his brother.

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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)