Prisons face scrutiny as coronavirus spreads — 3/19/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Of note: Today we highlight stories about how the pandemic is affecting the state’s vulnerable inmate population. Emily Hamer, a former Wisconsin Watch intern now with the Wisconsin State Journal, reports that criminal justice advocates are calling for broad changes to state policy to protect inmates from the fast-spreading virus. Meanwhile, reports that an employee at Waupun Correctional Institution has contracted COVID-19.

Top stories

Barry Adams / Wisconsin State Journal

An employee at Waupun Correctional Institution has become the first person in the state prison system to test positive for COVID-19.

Criminal justice advocates call on Wisconsin prisons to protect inmates from COVID-19 Wisconsin State Journal

Waupun prison employee tests positive for coronavirus

Despite coronavirus concerns, local leaders push participation in 2020 census — Appleton Post-Crescent

Possible coronavirus treatment could be in clinical trials within weeks, using plasma from recovered patients, if doctors get FDA approval Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

‘More high-tech than high touch’: Youth-serving organizations are getting creative amid pandemic Milwaukee Neighborhood News

As cities around the world go on lockdown, victims of domestic violence look for a way out Time

Wisconsin Republicans all vote against bipartisan paid leave bill responding to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic Medill News Service

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Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Live updates

Live blog from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and USA Today-Wisconsin reporters 

Live blog from Wisconsin State Journal reporters


“One of the most profound ideas I learned in Australia came from a presentation from the founder of the Resilience Project. Their cornerstones of gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness would likely be helpful to many of you in this unprecedented situation, as they have been very helpful to me.”

David O’Connor, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us:

Food cart chefs cook free meals for hungry families through new FEED to Go The Cap Times

COVID-19 got you down? Let these words from the community lift you up. Milwaukee Neighborhood News

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Looking for housing for immunocompromised person from r/UWMadison

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