Report: Wisconsin meatpacking plants linked to more COVID-19 infections than previously disclosed — 11/25/20

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

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Today we highlight a story by Maria Perez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

She reports that Wisconsin food processing plants have been linked to more COVID-19 infections and deaths than previously disclosed. That includes four deaths linked to the JBS Packerland plant in Green Bay.

Through an open records request, Perez found that JBS Packerland was associated with at least 417 infections — 69 more than authorities had previously reported. And 366 cases were linked to the American Foods Group plant in Green Bay — more than the 241 cases previously made public. Smithfield Foods in Cudahy has been associated with 105 infections —  more than the 86 previously disclosed, Perez reports.  

“The data, obtained through a public records request to Brown County, lists names of long-term care facilities, schools, restaurants, bars and other businesses linked to outbreaks or suspected outbreaks investigated by the state through June 1,” Perez reports. “The dataset represents the most detailed account of COVID-19 outbreaks in Wisconsin facilities and businesses in the early months of the pandemic.”

Top Stories

Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Demonstrators block a car from entering the grounds of the governor’s mansion following a news conference and protest to draw attention to the large number of COVD-19 cases among inmates and staff in state prisons Tuesday, November 24, 2020 in Maple Bluff, Wis.

Meatpacking plants tied to more COVID-19 cases than known before, new business outbreak data shows — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

‘Am I dying?’: A nurse describes acting as family to COVID-19 patients who worry and suffer alone — Appleton Post-Crescent

Eleven Wisconsin prisoners are dead from COVID-19. Protesters say Gov. Tony Evers should use clemency to reduce prison populations. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

COVID-19 crisis spills over into Wisconsin’s nursing, veterans homes — Wisconsin State Journal 

I’m a medical writer who just got vaccinated against COVID-19, maybe. You can still join the clinical trial. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Mayo research shows masks help protect both wearer and those around them from COVID-19 — La Crosse Tribune 

Wisconsin hopes to clear unemployment backlog within weeks, as thousands await payments — Wisconsin State Journal 

COVID outbreak at Dover veterans home appears over, but not until after it took 10 lives — Journal Times 

Experts: A negative COVID-19 test isn’t a ‘free pass’ for a big Thanksgiving — Leader-Telegram 

Inmates’ loved ones fear they’re being left in the dark as COVID-19 spreads behind bars  — WPR 

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“I was sentenced to do time, I was not sentenced to death.”

— Andrew Moore, a New Lisbon Correctional Institution inmate, speaking to Channel 3000 about COVID-19 risks in Wisconsin prisons

Data to note

WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Calculate your exposure risk

In Wisconsin, even small gatherings this holiday season can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here.

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How do you make music in a pandemic? A Lawrence University alum designed masks music students can wear while they play  — Appleton Post-Crescent 

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