What nurses see on the front line in the intensive care unit dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients at Ascension St. Francis Hospital in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Friday, 384 Wisconsinites had died from the coronavirus.
Almost all had at least one underlying health problem such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, lung disease or obesity, according to state data analysis and a spreadsheet Created by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to track COVID-19 deaths across the state.
More victims were men, representing 59% of the balance sheet. And at least 39 percent of the deaths occurred in people who resided in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, according to state data.
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Also on Friday, confirmed cases of Wisconsin coronavirus jumped 375 – the second largest increase since the state began testing – for a new total of 9,590.
The Wisconsin single-day record for confirmed cases occurred on May 1, with more than 460 new positives.
More than 4,600 new test results were released on Friday – the second record to date after the state summit of more than 5,500 on Thursday.
Saying he saw no reason to extend his home stay order beyond May 26, Governor Tony Evers and the state’s economic development agency unveiled a plan on Friday for businesses to resume operations. safely once the order has expired. (It could be quashed earlier by the state’s Supreme Court, which is considering prosecution by Republican lawmakers to block it.)
The guidelines suggest removing as many customer-worker interactions as possible and forcing workers in all industries to wear masks if possible.
“This is a very delicate thing that you have to decide,” said Abdur Chowdhury, professor emeritus of economics at Marquette University and former chief economist of the United Nations Economic Commission. You have to be very careful here. You want to reopen the economy, but … not to increase the number of cases.
Meanwhile, a second Wisconsin meat packaging worker died from COVID-19. At least 835 food workers have tested positive in 16 factories in Wisconsin, according to a tally from Sentinel Journal as part of its ongoing facility investigation.
The actual number is unknown. The state, many companies, and some local health authorities do not release figures.
Hospitals have capacity for non-COVID patients
Hospitals around Milwaukee are also moving towards scaling up operations, starting to perform elective procedures and other delayed care since mid-March.
About eight weeks ago, health systems stopped performing procedures such as knee and hip replacements, cataract surgery, and radiology tests as they prepared for a planned flare-up of patients. COVID-19. They also limited visits to their clinics to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Aurora Health Care, Children’s Wisconsin and other health systems are now encouraging patients to seek the care they need. Hospital officials are more confident that their intensive care units will not be overwhelmed by an attack of patients with coronavirus, although maintaining adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, remains a concern.
“Although COVID-19 is still in our communities, we understand that individuals in our local communities have emergency and health care needs outside of COVID-19, many of which cannot be delayed or postponed without risk serious for health, “Bernie Sherry, the executive department market for Ascension Wisconsin, said in a statement.
The change comes during National Nursing Week, which started Wednesday and ends May 12, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
“We don’t necessarily see ourselves as heroes in this pandemic,” said Ascension Wisconsin head nurse Heather Schimmers. “What we consider ourselves is called to serve in such a way that it is our vocation. That’s what nurses do. It’s our job. This is what we do all the time. “
Unemployment problems continue
On Saturday, the state of Wisconsin was supposed to be processing the additional $ 600 in unemployment benefits provided by the federal government to help deal with the pandemic. But many people said that they were still waiting to get the money and that it was almost impossible to reach anyone at the Ministry of Workforce Development.
Adrian Shiddell of Brookfield is a paraprofessional for the Waukesha School District. So far, Shiddell and all of his colleagues are still awaiting a response on their unemployment benefits. (Photo: Zhihan Huang / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Since March 15, the department has seen nearly 1.5 million weekly jobless claims, totaling more than $ 384 million, according to the department’s data. Over 966,000 of the claims made as of May 2 have been resolved.
But half a million complaints have yet to be processed – a number that does not include people who have not even been able to file a complaint, either due to difficulties connecting with the department or navigating the ministry. online application system.
For people like Aaron Thorson of Madison, these delays have led to difficult choices.
Thorson, 23, said he was already living from paycheck to paycheck while working in construction before COVID-19 hit Wisconsin. Now, after more than a month without regular work, he is in dire straits because his unemployment insurance has still not been approved by the state.
“I had to ask my boss embarrassingly if he could cover a tank of gas for the week so that I could try to keep making just enough money to cover the rent and bills, as well as the food for my wife and son, “he wrote in a submission to an online ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for unemployment experiences.
“I went a few days without eating, so I would have enough money to make sure they could be well fed. “
Law enforcement is not immune
The criminal justice system continues to be severely affected by the coronavirus.
Thirty-six members of the Milwaukee Police Department tested positive Thursday evening, Sgt said. Sheronda Grant. Many have recovered and returned to work, while others remain isolated.
“Currently, our agents respond to more than 500 known positive locations for COVID-19 each week, in addition to countless traffic stops, contact with citizens and other interactions with the public that put our members at significant risk of contracting the virus, “said Grant in a statement. declaration.
In the meantime, the Department of Corrections has announced plans to test all inmates and workers in two minimum security prisons in Milwaukee.
The tests will take place Tuesday at the workplace, Felmers O. Chaney and Marshall E. Sherrer, according to a press release. People in these facilities are tested because half of the 20 statewide inmate positive tests to date have occurred there, the statement said. The Wisconsin National Guard will help conduct the tests.
“The expansion of testing at these two centers is the first step in the DOC’s extensive testing plan to more widely test the staff and people in our care in all institutions,” the statement said.
Offenders return to Marshall E. Sherrer Correctional Center after release from Union Group at Menomonee Falls in April. (Photo: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Inmates at Chaney and Sherrer may have been at increased risk for coronavirus because work placement programs were allowed to continue even after most work stopped due to the pandemic, reported the Sentinel Journal last month.
As of Friday afternoon, the DOC had only tested 156 of its approximately 22,000 detainees. Among correctional staff, 24 had positive self-reported tests.
Sentinel Journal staff Rick Barrett, Molly Beck, Guy Boulton, Sophie Carson, John Diedrich, Laura Schulte and Joe Taschler contributed to this story.
Contact Gina Barton at (414) 224-2125 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @writerbarton.
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