Pandemic forces 85-year-old Uber driver to step on the brakes — 6/9/20

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

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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. 

Today we highlight the latest installment of our Outbreak Wisconsin collaboration with WPR, which chronicles peoples’ lives as they navigate the pandemic. Meet Beverly Blietz, 85, whose life has quickly transformed. Before coronavirus arrived, she spent time chatting with folks as she drove around Door County as an Uber contractor. But now she is cooped up in an independent living facility that dramatically restricts her movement. 

“I’m a hugger. I hug trees, animals, strangers. And, I tell people I love them because loving others is something that makes me feel loved,” she told Wisconsin Watch’s Coburn Dukehart.

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service also offers this reminder: The U.S. census is continuing even as the pandemic does. And getting a complete count is crucial for Wisconsin communities — for political representation and federal funding. Ana Martinez-Ortiz explains how the pandemic has changed outreach efforts surrounding the once-per-decade counting exercise.

Top Stories

John Hart / Wisconsin State Journal

Traffic barrels create a separate lane for bicyclists who traveled along Atwood Avenue Friday. City officials decided to test the design this spring when automobile traffic volumes plummeted during the coronavirus response.

Introducing 85-year-old Beverly Blietz: ‘I Grieve For The Time That’s Being Wasted’Wisconsin Watch/WPR 

Why the 2020 census should continue to matter to youMilwaukee Neighborhood News Service 

The pandemic response slashed traffic; what did it teach us about transportation planning?Wisconsin State Journal 

Wisconsin hospitals say they’re not worried about running short of ventilators. The state still plans to more than double the number.Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

COVID-19 concerns delaying sentencing in former federal agent’s sexual assault caseMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Amid continued COVID-19 concerns, Green Bay schools using parent survey to plan Green Bay Press Gazette 

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing scheduled in Stevens Point after outbreak tied to graduation partyStevens Point Journal

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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


“In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world … And it isn’t over yet.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, referencing the pandemic which has killed more than 110,000 Americans, as quoted by The New York Times.

Data to note

The state Department of Health Services reported 270 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with just 1.9% of daily tests returning positive. That is the lowest daily rate of positive tests during the pandemic. 

But the department reported 15 additional deaths, bringing the state’s total to 661. 

Here is a look at daily testing trends from 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:

Some Wisconsin dairy groups find ways to celebrate amid COVID-19 pandemicWPR 

94-year-old recovered from coronavirusBeloit Daily News

Bristol woman recovers from COVID-19, begins rehabKenosha News

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