Epic Systems staff share COVID-19 fears after being called back to office — 8/4/20

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

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Today we highlight a story by Anna Werner of CBS News. She reports on tumult inside Epic Systems, Dane County’s largest private employer, as the medical software company prepares to send its 9,000-plus employees back to its campus during the pandemic. 

The company is requiring even workers with high-risk health conditions to return this fall, Werner reports. Epic executives say the company has retrofitted offices to make them safer and that workers will be more productive after returning from remote work. 

But internal surveys show hundreds of staff have voiced objections, Werner reports, with one employee writing: “There will be people who die because of Epic’s insistence on people returning to campus.” 

Top Stories

Amber Arnold / Wisconsin State Journal

Roman Brandner, 7, left, and Finn Weichelt, 8, play in the gym during a summer camp session at Lussier Family East YMCA. With the upcoming school year starting all-online, the Madison School District is aiming to provide child care for up to 1,000 elementary students this fall.

Employees concerned over tech company’s reopening amid pandemicCBS News 

Latino businesses among most vulnerable in pandemic as entrepreneurship continues to grow in communityMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Nearly half of low-income communities have no ICU beds in their areaSTAT 

La Crosse School District navigates hurdles coming with virtual startLa Crosse Tribune 

Madison School District aims to provide 1,000 child care spots during online start to yearWisconsin State Journal 

No COVID-19 surge in Milwaukee from Wisconsin’s April 7 election, CDC saysWisconsin State Journal 

Waukesha County one of the latest Wisconsin suburbs to be hit hard with COVID-19WPR 

Pandemic disrupts traditions for Madison’s Muslims on the holy day of Eid al-AdhaMadison365

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State Poison Center issues hand sanitizer warning 

“As the use of hand sanitizers has increased during the COVID 19 pandemic, so has the number of calls to poison centers related to possible toxic alcohol exposures. More hand sanitizer is being produced, either at home or in other countries, and it can contain a variety of chemicals and alcohols that can be dangerous, if not deadly,” the Department of Health Services said in a Tuesday news release.

Read more here

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“We want everyone’s vote to count, so complete and mail your absentee ballot as soon as possible… The post office advises it may take a week for mail to get from you to your clerk’s office, so don’t wait.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe, as quoted by Spectrum News

“Oh, and the mask. I feel so bad for the door greeters. One already quit because of the customers. I don’t feel safer from COVID-19, but what can you do? I have bills, and they need to be paid. I just wish people would think about how they treat retail workers. We try and keep the store clean and safe for everyone but get yelled at, spit on and treated badly. Kindness goes a long way.”

Maria, a Walmart worker and tax preparer, speaking to Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service 

Data to note

Here are the latest visualizations of COVID-19 cases and deaths 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: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

Madison Public Library bundles books for CSA-style pick-upThe Cap Times

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