Racine health officials stretched thin as pandemic rages — 6/11/20

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

Wisconsin Watch is a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues, and we always provide our news for free.

You can read all of our coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage by signing up for our Wisconsin COVID-19 Update newsletter, and please consider becoming a member to support our nonprofit journalism. 

Much of Wisconsin is seeing lower rates of diagnosed COVID-19 cases, but not Racine. Salaried workers in the city’s under-resourced health departed are working up to 17 hours on some days in response to a pandemic that won’t let up, Christina Lieffring reports for the Journal Times. 

Racine County is the state’s biggest virus hotspot, with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people, according to the state Department of Health Resources. That’s more than 2.5-times the state average. The county of roughly 200,000 people has recorded 51 COVID-19 deaths — with 20 of those deaths inside the city of Racine. 

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is drawing widespread condemnation for blaming immigrant “culture” for the region’s outbreak. 

“I know the reason at least in my region is because of a large immigrant population where it’s just a difference in culture where people are living much closer and working much closer,” Vos said on a call secretly recorded by a staffer for Gov. Tony Evers, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, accused Vos of “scapegoating and trying to appeal to racism and bigotry against immigrants in order to absolve himself of his lack of leadership,” the Journal Sentinel reported.

Top Stories

Danielle Kaeding / WPR

Volunteer Lisa Luttinen brings food boxes out to Charles DeFoe at the Bayfield Food Pantry on May 28, 2020.

Racine’s understaffed health department pushed to limit; city positive rate at 14.3% of those testedJournal Times 

28 Wisconsin nursing homes report COVID-19 deaths, federal data saysWisconsin State Journal 

Governor Evers announces $40 million in funding to hospitals to help with COVID-19 lossesWTMJ-TV

‘Food is always last on my list’: Pantries pivot to meet demand during coronavirus pandemicWPR 

Petition calls for officials to drop citations for violating Green Bay’s emergency curfewGreen Bay Press Gazette 

How one Milwaukee artist is documenting the voices of health care workers who must care for COVID-19 patientsMilwaukee Neighborhood News Service

‘We’re not kidding around’: Wisconsin tribal businesses require face masks amid COVID-19Green Bay Press Gazette

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

[ad number=”1″]

Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization


“People are tired. People want to get life back to normal. People want to get out in summertime. They don’t want to think about this. That’s why it’s important that we do everything we can to not let people forget that the pandemic is still here. It’s human nature to say ‘let’s ignore the bad stuff, and let’s deal with the good stuff.’’

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, responding to a question Thursday about how Milwaukee County has seen an alarming drop in people being tested for COVID-19 as the pandemic continues.

Data to note

The state Department of Health Services reported 11 new COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, pushing Wisconsin’s total to 682. 

Here is a look at the state’s biggest hotspots for cases of the virus and deaths, courtesy of our partners at WisContext.

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.

Community Heroes: Making a difference, one garbage bag at a timeMilwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Access to some stories listed in the Wisconsin COVID-19 Update may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing.

Comments are closed.