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Author: WisContext

Debate continues over if police can serve and protect communities where they are not a resident

The killing of George Floyd, a Black resident of Minneapolis, reignited ongoing protests against police brutality — a movement fueled in part by a widening breach between law enforcement and the local communities they are charged with serving. In Wisconsin, the most persistent demonstrations have been in its largest cities, Milwaukee and Madison, but protestors have taken to the streets across the state, including many smaller communities. They’re demanding justice for Floyd and many other people killed by police and seeking to confront racism in policing and American life more broadly. The sentiments of this movement have ranged widely,...

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R. Richard Wagner recalls how AIDS challenged Wisconsin on its approach to public health

In the early 1980s, a new mysterious malady captured the attention of public health professionals. Initially labeled GRID, which stood for Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, these clusters of illnesses seemed to largely be an issue only on the East and West coasts. But Wisconsin’s government was taking action, laying the groundwork for a public health response for what would come to be known as AIDS. R. Richard Wagner served as the first out gay Dane County Board commissioner and was co-chair of the Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues, convened in 1983 by Gov. Tony Earl, a Democrat. The group...

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A shortage of everything: Wisconsin is racing to roll out more COVID-19 Tests

Within two months of the day COVID-19 was first identified in Wisconsin, the state saw a sustained surge of new cases, racing past 1,200 lab-confirmed infections by the end of March 2020. The true number of people with COVID-19 in Wisconsin is undoubtedly much higher than the official tally, and continues to climb, though no one knows by exactly how much. “It’s fair to assume that … as high as 10 times as many people have been infected compared to what’s diagnosed,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer and state epidemiologist for communicable diseases at the Wisconsin Department...

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By The Numbers: Tracking the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic sweeping across Wisconsin

The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping across Wisconsin. The outbreak is having major ramifications for public health and hospital systems, which in turn affects the ongoing spread of the disease. Understanding where, when and how rapidly COVID-19 arises around Wisconsin — and how badly its effects are felt — is a matter of constantly moving targets. It can be difficult to keep up with and make sense of the information related to COVID-19 infections and fatalities being shared by state and local health departments on an almost hourly basis. Tracking data related to the pandemic can help clarify this torrent...

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2019-nCoV in Wisconsin: Local public health officials prepare for potential cases of new respiratory virus

Public health authorities and medical professionals in Wisconsin are preparing for potential cases of a respiratory virus that’s new to humans, having emerged in China and subsequently spreading around the world. The 2019 novel coronavirus, also called 2019-nCoV for short, is related to viruses that cause the common cold. It also has similarities to viruses responsible for more serious respiratory illnesses, such as the deadly outbreak of SARS in 2002 and 2003. As of the beginning of February 2020, the newly identified virus that first appeared in the city of Wuhan in central China, has killed hundreds and sickened...

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Wisconsin expects levels of refugee resettlements to continue decline in 2020 over limit restrictions

Following two years of steep drops, the number of international refugees who resettled in Wisconsin leveled off in 2019. In all, resettlement agencies helped 480 refugees find new homes and reunite with loved ones in the state over the course of 2019, a slight uptick from the 472 refugees who arrived in 2018. The small increase in Wisconsin was modest compared to an upswing in refugee arrivals reported nationally in 2019. More than 27,500 refugees resettled across the United States over that period, 20% more than in the year prior. Still, resettlements in Wisconsin — and nationally — remain...

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