Wisconsin’s Native Americans saw early success in containing COVID-19. Now cases are surging. — 10/22/20

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

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Today we highlight a story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about a dramatic growth of COVID-19 cases among Wisconsin’s American Indian residents. 

After largely avoiding the coronavirus early in the pandemic, American Indians on and outside of tribal reservations have seen a 201% increase in cases since Sept. 1, Cary Spivak reports. 

“Through the summer, several Wisconsin tribes reported just a modest effect from the disease. Some were able to count the number of cases on one hand. The low numbers were attributed to the location of the tribes in rural or remote areas, and steps taken by leadership to protect their reservations,” Spivak reports. “The numbers in Indian country started jumping in the fall, when the number of COVID-19 cases started skyrocketing throughout northern Wisconsin.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services launched a dashboard this week to track racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. You can find that here

Top Stories

Aspirus Wausau Hospital

Melissa Resch, a nurse who works on the coronavirus medical unit at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, talks with a colleague.

American Indian COVID-19 numbers in Wisconsin stayed low until Sept. 1. ‘Then all of a sudden, boom.’Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

After a college town’s coronavirus outbreak, deaths at nursing homes mountThe Washington Post 

The coronavirus has claimed 2.5 million years of potential life in the U.S., study findsThe New York Times 

‘Close contacts’ refuse to quarantine as central Wisconsin health workers plead for compliance with safety measures to stop COVID-19Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune

‘This is going to be a long haul’: Local taverns close for the winterCap Times 

The pandemic made Wisconsin’s April election rough. Many of the same obstacles remain in November.WPR 

With seasons looming, Marquette men’s and women’s basketball teams will halt for two weeks after positive COVID testsMilwaukee Journal Sentinel

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“The story you’re telling here today about the hospital in Milwaukee is one that most people think won’t happen to our community … And what unfortunately is going to happen in so many communities across our country is stretching the system beyond anything that we’ve had in modern history.”

— Dr. Michael Osterholm, epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, speaking to CBS News

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.

Data to note

Wisconsin continues to set daily records for COVID-19 hospitalizations as the state fails to control the coronavirus. The Wisconsin Hospital Association on Thursday reported 1,230 hospital patients with COVID-19 — up from 1,190 a day earlier. Here are the latest trends from WHA’s dashboard.

Resilient Wisconsin

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Appleton sanctions hours for trick-or-treating but recommends against person-to-person contact Appleton Post-Crescent 

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