RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released a list Wednesday with the names of skilled nursing facilities that have active COVID-19 facility-wide public health investigations.
As of May 13, 2020, there are 38 nursing homes with active public health investigations in Wisconsin.
Health officials say people who live in nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19 infections. Long-term care facilities are proactively informing residents, family members, and local & state health departments about positive cases in their facilities. Listing nursing homes provides additional transparency about where infections may be occurring.
"As we continue to see cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes, it is important to be transparent and list the locations where they are occurring," said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. "We have opted to publish the names of nursing homes in order to provide peace of mind to families who cannot visit or check on their loved ones during these unprecedented times."
Palm says they are grateful for the important work that nursing homes do when aiming to prevent spread, while facilitating communication among families, loved ones and the residents in their care.
In Wisconsin, a single case of a resident or staff testing positive for COVID-19 leads to a facility-wide public health investigation in the nursing home. Weekly updated will be provided on Wednesdays and is subject to change as new investigations are initiated and resolved.
Representatives from DHS says detecting COVID-19 in a nursing home indicates the nursing home is following proper procedures and working with public health experts to test and protect their residents and employees by using appropriate isolation and infection control practices. Proactive testing helps address outbreaks early on while they're easier to isolate and manage.
DHS has released various data about COVID-19 in Wisconsin, including:
TOMAHAWK - The Tomahawk Fall ride concluded Sunday. The three day motorcycle festival had less attendance than in previous years due to COVI-19, but it did not stop local businesses from enjoying the visitors from all over the country.
Local and small businesses were out in full force trying to make profits for the season with Fall ride concluding the festival season. The town of Tomahawk had less attendees than last year but the hotels had no problem filling their rooms. The owner of the Four Seasons Motel, Andy Wadia, said September is their busiest time of year.
"So many people came from Chicago, Minnesota, Iowa, some from California so it's good," said Wadia. "Good for the business good for the town, you know local business is good for local business you know."
Not only were there visitors from all over the country but business vendors like Eli Villarreal, Owner of Marie's Famous Headbands drove all the way from Corpus Christi, Texas to keep his business alive through the pandemic.
"We didn't hit our numbers like we did last year," said Villarreal. "This year we're probably like 40 percent down, but like I said with everything being cancelled across the US we'll take it right now. I mean we need it, that's our bread and butter."
Tomahawk businesses love when fall ride comes for the three day weekend as it is the last push for businesses to make their final profits before the off season takes over and the influx of tourism grinds to a halt.
FLORENCE - We have updates from Florence, Onconto, and Shawano Counties on the identification of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer species which attacks and kills all true ash species. They have been found in 57 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin.
Public Lands Forester, of Florence County, Tyler Wood explained how the Emerald Ash Borer likes to travel on firewood, to reduce the spread to other places, burn the wood in the same place you bought or gathered it.
"The Emerald Ash Borer can fly easily about a half a mile, and up to maybe 5 miles away from a host tree to find another tree in order to infect that tree," said Wood.
Though there won't be a significant impact on the environment in Florence county, not knowing if your tree is infected could lead to safety concerns around your property or for people with streets lined with the trees, dangerous roadways could occur during storms.
Forest Health Specialist, Linda Williams, spoke about how the future extinction would affect more than just the forest. The MLB uses ash trees to make their baseball bats, as well as the local Native American tribes whos culture traditions create baskets from ash.
"The Emerald Ash Borer will kill the Ash Trees. And we've seen that happening in southern Wisconsin as well as other states that have had it for much longer than us. Other species of trees tend to come into those sites sometimes they are desirable species and some are not," said Williams..
If you are a concerned ash tree owner some signs that your tree has been infested is the outer bark removed by woodpeckers, and D-shaped holes where the insects have emerged.
For people with 10 plus acres you can file a request with the DNR to have a walk through to understand how to manage the Emerald Ash Borer at mywisconsinwoods.org.
MADISON - The state Department of Workforce Development's top leader resigned Friday after failing to find a way to address a massive backlog of unprocessed unemployment benefit claims sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' office said Caleb Frostman stepped down after the governor called for his resignation. Republicans have peppered Evers with criticism for months over the department's inability to process tens of thousands of benefit claims that have been flowing in since the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. in March.
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women's rights champion who became the court's second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.
Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said.
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students' standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.
School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.
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