Morning Update: Tuesday, Jan. 11
Good Morning, Madison!
It's Tuesday. Have you taken an at-home COVID-19 test recently? If so, Public Health Madison and Dane County wants to remind you to report any positive test results.
Positive PCR tests are automatically reported but it's on you to report positive results from rapid tests. PHMDC says this helps them better understand the level of the virus' spread in the community.
You can self-report positive test results by filling out this form here.
🏥 Dane County hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients.
- Public Health Madison and Dane County reported Monday the county had 184 patients in hospitals with COVID-19, the highest number since the pandemic began.
- The State Journal reports the previous high was 179 on Nov. 18, 2020, before vaccinations were available.
- Because of this increase in hospitalizations, many hospitals have postponed many non-emergency procedures and health care officials are begging people to stop going to the ER for COVID-19 tests.
- Related: Alliant Energy Center testing site reopens, Public Health adds 1,000 appointments for the rest of this week (Channel 3000)
- Dig deeper: 'We're just a sitting duck': UW Health pediatrician says child COVID-19 vaccination rates are too low (WPR)
🎒 The Madison School Board approved additional COVID-19 sick leave for teachers.
- In a special meeting Monday night, the school board approved a plan that provides five days of COVID-19-specific leave and two mental health days to all district employees who are already eligible for sick leave.
- Superintendent Carlton Jenkins said staff can expect more in-depth information regarding COVID-19 leave within the next week.
- Madison Teachers, Inc., the Madison teachers' union, included the restoration of COVID-19 leave in its list of requests before students returned to the classroom.
"Right now, our staff is hurting. We need to do something, we need to do something now." — Nicki Vander Meulen, school board clerk
🎭 So, totally, not fetch.
- The national touring production of "Mean Girls" has canceled its Madison run, scheduled Tuesday through Sunday at Overture Center, because of COVID-19. The show has been rescheduled for Aug. 30 - Sept. 4.
🚑 The city's ninth ambulance is now in service on the southeast side.
- The new ambulance is housed at Fire Station 14 on Dairy Drive, which first opened in 2018, but has not had an ambulance until now, WORT reports.
- The addition is expected to alleviate some of the strain on other ambulances in the city and surrounding communities. Residents have advocated for an ambulance in the area for years.
🧪 Exact Sciences has acquired a Marshfield genetics lab to test hereditary cancers.
- Who is Exact Sciences? The Madison-based cancer testing company is best known for making Cologuard, an at-home colon cancer screening test.
- Exact Sciences acquired Marshfield-based genetic testing laboratory PreventionGenetics in a $190 million deal. According to Cap Times, PreventionGenetics currently makes thousands of tests, from cancer risk screenings to genome sequencing.
📚 A UW-Madison professor's book is up for a national prize.
- A book of literary philosophy by John Baldacchino was a finalist in the Literary Nonfiction category for Malta’s National Book Prize. “Sejjieħ il-Ħsieb: Limitu u Ħelsien” (Rubble Walls of Thought: Limits and Freedom) is Baldacchino’s first book of philosophy and written in his native language, Maltese.
- Baldacchino is a professor of art and education UW-Madison.
🐆 Your lunchtime read: How the Henry Vilas zoo cares for animals in Wisconsin winter.
- From WORT: "Madison’s Henry Vilas Zoo, one of the nation’s only free zoos and one that is open year round, holds animals from across the world, including giraffes, lions, and seals. I spoke with Beth Peterson, the zoo’s General Curator, and the one in charge of staff and animal operations, about how the zoo deals with the animals during the freezing winter months. It turns out, this is a topic that the zoo has to deal with every time a new animal is brought into the zoo."
🦠 Covid-19 Resources
Of Note: Starting today, Madison Minutes will use case count data from Public Health Madison and Dane County, our local public health authority. Our previous charts used figures reported by the state’s Department of Health Services (DHS). The above graph represents new COVID-19 cases in Dane County.
Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 58.5%
Dane County Vaccination Rate: 76.4%
Links you can use
- 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. 11
- Coffee with a Cop at Pinney Library. 10 a.m. Virtual option.
- Networking blitz with Middleton Chamber of Commerce. 3 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- Get to know your native plants: Elder, Echinacea, and Boneset with Olbrich Botanical Gardens. 6 p.m. Virtual. $20 members, $28 non-members.
- Trivia at Wisconsin Brewing Company. 6:30 p.m. $1.
- People, Pipelines, and Water Protectors: Native American Sacrifice Zones. Part of Conversations about Conservation series from the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association. 6:30 p.m. Virtual. Free.
- National Geographic Live: The Secret Life of Bears with Rae Wynn-Grant at the Overture Center. 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.
(Header image via City of Madison)