Why Wisconsin doctors are rethinking ventilator use during the coronavirus pandemic — 5/4/20

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

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Health experts early in the COVID-19 crisis feared running short of ventilators, tools that can treat the life-threatening buildup of fluid in the lungs of patients with severe cases. But Wisconsin now has plenty of ventilators, and doctors say they are trying to avoid using the equipment, reports Bram Sable-Smith, a WPR fellow embedded in the Wisconsin Watch newsroom. Today we highlight Sable-Smith’s examination of how thinking on ventilators has evolved.

Top Stories

John Minchillo / AP

A nurse pulls a ventilator into an exam room where a patient with COVID-19 went into cardiac arrest April 20, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. Some experts say the jury is still out about how effectively ventilators treat COVID-19, particularly for patients with less severe symptoms.

‘Almost a death sentence’: How Wisconsin doctors, peers are rethinking ventilators for coronavirusWPR/Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin’s confirmed cases of coronavirus surpass 8,000 as Evers pledges to test all nursing home residents and staffMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

How do we safely reopen Wisconsin’s and the nation’s economy?Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

COVID-19 testing is more widely available in Wisconsin, but some doctors and patients haven’t gotten the messageAppleton Post-Crescent

Global race for COVID-19 vaccine includes Madison contendersWisconsin State Journal 

Tough choices: Wisconsinites facing unemployment amid COVID-19 pandemic delay bills, goalsWPR 

How Wisconsin was able to get 10,000 masks, 1,000 medical outfits in a donation from ‘sister state’ in ChinaThe Journal Times 

Sixth sister at Our Lady of the Angels Convent in Greenfield dies from the coronavirus Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

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New resource

The Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has launched a desktop and smartphone app called COVID-19 Wisconsin Connect designed by government, business and academic experts from Wisconsin.

“It’s the first locally-designed app, allowing users to both receive and give help to others in their communities while correcting state-specific misinformation trending on social media,” the university said in a press release Monday. “In addition, free meditations by Healthy Minds Innovations allow users to stay ‘in app’ to get vital relaxation exercises.”

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 coverage from USA Today-Wisconsin reporters 

Live coverage from Wisconsin State Journal reporters


“My dad was ready to go to heaven and he did, and she followed right behind. …They did it on their own terms. They got their final wishes.”

Corinne Feider, youngest of two daughters of Glenn and Beverly Wefel, a Milwaukee-area couple who died two days apart from COVID-19, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Data to note

Three Wisconsin metro areas were among the country’s 15 fastest growing hotspots for confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday, according to tracking by The New York Times. They are:

  • Green Bay (1,167 recent cases, cases doubling every 8.6 days)
  • Janesville-Beloit (188 recent cases, cases doubling every 8.7 days)
  • Racine (267 cases, cases doubling every 8.9 days)

On a statewide basis, the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests over the past 14 days has kept a relatively flat trajectory, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services data.

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: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

Amber Arnold / Wisconsin State Journal

Andy Quandt, owner of the BikeMobile, travels to southern Wisconsin fixing and maintaining bicycles and has seen his business more than double compared with last spring. Customers can place and pay for their orders through his website and are not required to interact in person.

Bikes, booze, banners and board games profitable amid COVID-19 pandemicWisconsin State Journal 

Animal adoptions up at Wisconsin shelters amid stay-at-home requirementsWPR 

South Beloit teachers parade through communityBeloit Daily News

A reddit user details adaptation efforts at the Buckhorn Bar in the Douglas County town of Gordon. 

When things like eggs and toilet paper were impossible to get, our small town bar used it’s food service delivery to set up a makeshift market. This is my Wisconsin. from r/wisconsin

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