First responders struggle for protective gear — 4/14/20

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

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Today we highlight a Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Watch report on the struggles of rural emergency medical services — already strapped for cash and short on volunteers — to secure personal protective equipment for first responders. 

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Assembly met in person — and virtually — to pass a COVID-19 relief bill aimed at supplementing $2 billion in expected federal government aid. 

Read on to see a photo of the tiniest victory party and shortest acceptance speech following Wisconsin’s April 7 pandemic election. Results were (finally) posted on Monday.

Top stories

Golden E. Dairy Farm / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Elbe family of West Bend watch as their milk is being dumped because there was no market for it last week.

Rural EMS providers scramble to keep responders safeWPR/Wisconsin Watch

Assembly passes COVID-19 response legislation in unique virtual sessionWisconsin State Journal

Trump administration set to unveil $15.5 billion in coronavirus aid for farmers, sources sayMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

‘No matter when they call, I pick up’: Mental health workers see increased demand for treatment, supportMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

First federal lawsuit filed following Wisconsin’s April 7 electionWPR

‘I just feel completely helpless’: Wisconsin parents with shared custody confused, concerned about placementWPR

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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 reporters

Live blog from Wisconsin Public Radio reporters

Live blog from Wisconsin State Journal reporters


“If I don’t keep my people healthy, we’re not going to have anybody to respond to a call.”

Jim Aanstad, fire and ambulance chief of Iola, Wis., commenting on the lack of protective equipment for first responders, as told to WPR/Wisconsin Watch

Stats to note

Wisconsin and neighbors, state-by-state comparison of COVID-19 cases: 

Michigan 27,001 

Illinois 23,247

Wisconsin 3,555

Iowa 1,899

Minnesota 1,695

Source: State health department totals, April 14, 2020

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:

Here’s how to celebrate winning a Supreme Court seat during a pandemic. In the driveway. With just the kids. And neighbors at a safe distance. Dylan Brogan of Madison’s Isthmus newspaper captured this smallest of victory parties by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Jill Karofsky.

And here’s perhaps the shortest ever acceptance speech by Katie Rosenberg, who upset incumbent Robert Mielke to become mayor of Wausau on Monday.

The Wisconsin Assembly met for the first time virtually and in person to approve a COVID-19 relief bill on a bipartisan 97-2 vote.

Screenshot from

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