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The Wisconsin Department of Corrections disclosed Friday that five inmates in state custody have died from COVID-19 after previously refusing to release the information, Emily Hamer of the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Hamer, a former Wisconsin Watch intern, reports that DOC will now report inmate deaths as COVID-19-related “if the virus was an underlying cause of death or a significant condition that contributed to death.”
Criminal justice reform advocates have pushed Gov. Tony Evers for more transparency and to fulfill a campaign promise to cut the prison population, which they say could reduce the spread of COVID-19.
DOC had previously cited medical privacy laws in its efforts to keep inmate death figures secret — a rationale that open-records experts rejected. As of Friday, DOC reported 4,329 inmates have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 953 staff reporting positive.
Wisconsin’s coronavirus surge continues to accelerate outside of prisons as well. The Department of Health Services reported 5,096 new statewide infections on Friday — the second highest daily count on record. DHS also reported 24 new deaths from infected residents, bringing the state’s toll to 1,972 during the pandemic.
Wisconsin DOC releases data on COVID-19-related inmate deaths for first time; 5 are dead — Wisconsin State Journal
Five days in Wisconsin: More than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests, nearly 200 deaths — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
One boy with COVID-19 likely led to 116 positive cases at a Wisconsin summer camp, CDC report shows — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee contact tracers face backlog of nearly 1,600 cases as state reports 4,870 new cases and 51 deaths — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Badgers football COVID-19 outbreak up to 16 players, staff members — Wisconsin State Journal
As health officials raise alarm, Trump returns to Green Bay for campaign rally — Green Bay Press-Gazette
How virus politics divided a conservative town in Wisconsin’s north — The New York Times
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
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin’s startling trends in COVID-19 infections and deaths.
People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: email@example.com.
Election 2020: Pandemic forces groups to adapt get-out-the-vote efforts in Milwaukee neighborhoods — Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service