Health officials confront COVID-19 testing capacity challenge as cases rise — 7/9/20

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

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A surge in COVID-19 cases has health officials worrying that the nation’s testing capacity won’t keep up, Mark Johnson reports for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

“The situation has led some to suggest the U.S. consider screening multiple samples at the same time, a method called “sample pooling,” Johnson reports. “…Using the process, a lab might pool five nasal swab samples together. If all five test negative, the results can be delivered faster and with less use of the chemical reagents that were in short supply early in the pandemic. This method does not involve changing the actual tests, just the amount of samples processed at one time.”

Wisconsin officials have discussed the idea, Johnson notes. 

Top Stories

Steve Apps / Wisconsin State Journal

Lindsay Hill-Batorski sets up a test to check the effect of a flu vaccine at FluGen in Madison. The company’s CoroFlu vaccine candidate against the new coronavirus is one of roughly 150 or more contenders to become an approved immunization against COVID-19.

As COVID-19 cases swell, health leaders debate effort to hasten testing by pooling samplesMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

State COVID-19 committee takes up school reopening, vaccine distributionWisconsin State Journal 

Face masks versus shields in schools: Doctors weigh inCap Times 

School bus companies wait in limbo to hear how they’ll need to handle fall transportationWPR 

No easy path forward: Closure of Barker Child Development Center impacts families, employersDoor County Pulse  

Robin Vos says he is OK with local COVID mandates, but mask requirements are unnecessary Journal Times 

Sheriff’s office seeing a few scammers targeting unemployment benefitsJanesville Gazette 

Republican, Democratic state conventions display differing attitudes toward COVID-19Wisconsin State 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 

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“It is well to remember that in 1918, millions sacrificed their individual wishes for the general welfare, and tens of thousands risked infection and possible death trying to alleviate the suffering of others. It was a “Wisconsin Idea” impulse driven by its active public university that helped reduce the destruction of the epidemic. We hope the state will call on this legacy, and the current immense talent pool in the University of Wisconsin System, to battle this 21st-century pandemic.”

Doug Bradley, Don Mash, and Kevin Reilly, who served various roles within the University of Wisconsin System, writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Data to note

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported 754 new cases of COVID-19, with 5.7% of tests returning positive. The department reported two new deaths in a pandemic that has reportedly killed 809.

Here are the latest visualizations of cases and deaths from our partners at WisContext.

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Domino’s delivery driver makes Washington Avenue storefront bloomJournal Times 

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