Morning Update: Tuesday, Jan. 25
Happy Tuesday, Madison!
Did you catch our live interview with two of UW-Madison's top student journalists last night? Madison Minutes' own Sam Hoisington sat down with Addison Lathers of The Daily Cardinal and Erin Gretzinger of The Badger Herald to talk about what campus stories we should all be watching this year. (In case you didn't know, spring semester starts today.)
Student journalists have their fingers on the pulse of the campus community and are often the first to report on happenings at the university.
You can check out the whole interview here, including the part where I messed up and moved the camera, whoops!
📉 Wisconsin's Covid-19 cases are finally trending down but we still may not have reached a peak in omicron cases.
- Wisconsin started to see slight decline in the number of daily reported Covid-19 cases last week but State Department of Health officials warn we aren't out of the woods yet. Even with the decline, case numbers are still incredibly high.
- The seven-day average for new Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin fell to 17,586 per day last Thursday, down from nearly 19,000 last Wednesday. This drop marked the first decline in the omicron surge.
- Wisconsin hospitals have also seen a slight decline in Covid-19 patients but health care workers are still stretched incredibly thin.
- Related: 'That's 27 family members that we lost': Wisconsinites share the ways COVID-19 has changed their lives (WPR)
- Dig deeper: 'The risk to our communities has never been more dire' as COVID-19 pandemic stretches on (WPR)
🍎 Schools across the state are scrambling to find substitute teachers.
- The return to classrooms during a pandemic has spiked the demand for substitutes but many longtime subs are hesitant to get back to class.
- As WPR reports, the number of substitute teaching license applications went up this year, with nearly 4,000 short-term substitute applicants from July 2020 to June 2021 — that's up from nearly 3,500 the year before and 3,200 in 2018-2019. But the number of long-term substitutes took a dip, falling to 461 applicants in 2020-2021 compared to 540 in each of the prior two years.
- It's more than just Covid-19, however, that's led to school staffing shortages. The passage of Act 10 a decade ago led to a mass exodus teachers and school staff that the state hasn't recovered from.
- Related: 49 MMSD staff out after religious exemption for COVID vaccine denied (Cap Times)
🚰 VP Kamala Harris and Wisconsin's lead pipes.
- The vice president was in Milwaukee Monday to promote a plan to accelerate the goal of removing and replacing all lead pipes in the United States in the next 10 years. Wisconsin currently has more than 170,000 lead pipes, of those, 70,000 are in Milwaukee.
- As part of the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, Wisconsin will receive more than $140 million this year for water infrastructure, including more than $48 million dedicated to removing lead pipes.
🗳️ Ballot drop boxes will be used in Wisconsin's February primary.
- Some context: Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren sided with the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty earlier this month banning the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin.
- Yesterday, a Madison-based appeals court judge ruled absentee ballot drop boxes will be allowed in Wisconsin’s Feb. 15 primary election.
- This isn't the end of the drop box battle. The most recent ruling only overturns the initial decision until Feb. 15. The Wisconsin Supreme Court will likely have the final word on whether drop boxes will stay or go.
🎮 Middleton-based Raven Software has officially announced its union.
- If you'll recall: The video game company made famous for smash hits like Candy Crush and Call of Duty recently made headlines after it announced the sudden layoff of 12 quality assurance testers, prompting a worker walkout.
- Workers in the quality assurance division at Raven Software officially announced their union last week as the Game Workers Alliance Union, a local of the Communication Workers of America.
- The union, which only represents the quality assurance workers, reportedly has support from 78% of eligible workers.
🤗 Recycle the warmth with St. Vinny's.
- St. Vincent de Paul is kicking off its 30th Annual Blanket Drive this week. The local nonprofit is collecting new and gently used blankets and bedding to distribute to those in need this year.
- Get involved: You can purchase or donate blankets at any St. Vinny’s Thrift Store in Dane County from Jan. 28-30. For more details and a full list of drop-off locations, click here.
📚 Your lunchtime read: UW-Madison campus divided over return to in-person classes amid omicron surge.
- From the Wisconsin State Journal: "The instructors’ perspectives highlight a divide on campus between some who say the university is again falling short in its pandemic response and others who feel UW-Madison is acting cautiously appropriate ahead of the school’s spring semester, which starts Tuesday."
- Related: What will spring semester at UW-Madison look like? (Cap Times)
🦠 Covid-19 Update
Source: Public Health Madison and Dane County
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 59%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 76.9%
Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
- Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.
- Do you still need your flu shot? Start here.
- Request an at-home testing kit from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
- Where to Buy N95s, KN95s, and Surgical-Style Masks in 2022 (Wirecutter)
- What to Do if You are Sick or Possibly Exposed (PHMDC)
📅 Events: Tuesday, Jan. 25
- Presentation: "The Story behind the Stories" with Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Bridgit Bowden. Part of Badger Talks series. 12 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- MLK Symposium: An Evening with Nikole Hannah-Jones at Wisconsin Union Theater. 6:30 p.m. Free. Virtual option. 🟠
- Indigenous Storytelling Series: Michael Laughing Fox Charette. "Poetry, flute, drum, and storytelling performances that weave Indigenous teachings into a modern day context." Organized by the Wisconsin Historical Society. 7 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- 90's Trivia at the Rigby. 7-9 p.m.
- Winter Restaurant Week through Friday.
Looking for more? Check out the full week's events lineup here.
Wondering what that 🟠 means?
That symbol next to an event listing means that Tone Madison’s team of writers and editors recommends checking it out. Tone knows Madison’s arts and music landscape better than anybody else.
Sign up for the Tone weekly newsletter here.