New testing protocols at UW-Madison: Pool your drool — 3/3/21

Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Today we highlight the latest installment of our Outbreak Wisconsin series, a collaboration with WPR. In this segment reported by WPR’s Bridgit Bowden, University of Wisconsin-Madison third-year student Azul Kothari describes how he and others navigate the campus during the pandemic. New this semester: Required spit-based COVID-19 tests every few days. “Saliva testing is something that feels really weird to do,” Kothari said. “It’s literally the grossest thing.” In a separate story, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank tells the Associated Press that a normal fall semester is possible if enough faculty, staff and students get vaccinated.

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Azul Kothari, a junior and house fellow at the University of Wisconsin Madison, on campus on Feb. 27, 2021. Credit: Will Cioci / Wisconsin Watch

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“I think we have evolved and we have learned more about what are the metrics we need to use to respond. If we continue on this path, we may see a summer this year that feels more like 2019 than 2020.”

Janel Heinrich, director of Madison Dane County Public Health, announcing new ways to gauge when COVID-19-related restrictions should be lifted.

Data to note

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Wednesday that 56.6% of Wisconsinites ages 65 and older have gotten at least one dose — as have 16.3% of the state’s overall population. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain significantly below that of white residents. The disparity between Native Americans and white residents, however, has narrowed in recent weeks.   

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed. 

DHS reported 18 new deaths and 539 new cases Wednesday. WisContext offers this visualization of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections and deaths. Wisconsin’s seven-day average for daily infections ticked up Wednesday after reaching its lowest point since early July.  

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS has this interactive map of vaccine providers across Wisconsin. Vaccinations are generally by appointment only and it may take time to schedule appointments with providers due to limited supplies of vaccines. 

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Voting deputies cleared to return to Wisconsin nursing homes Associated Press

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New testing protocols at UW-Madison: Pool your drool — 3/3/21 is a post from, a non-profit investigative news site covering Wisconsin since 2009. Please consider making a contribution to support our journalism.

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