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Category: Top Stories

UW-Madison’s fall reopening: A story of success, failure or simply survival?

Wisconsin State Journal

When COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in early September, Chancellor Rebecca Blank knew she had to try something. So on Sept. 9, the fifth day of classes, when the university reported 404 infections of the nearly 5,300 it would accumulate by the end of the semester, she announced a two-week lockdown for two large dorms and a campus-wide pause on face-to-face instruction. “A lot of people thought that we would never recover from that,” she said in an interview on Friday, the final day of the semester. “More than one person has come up to me and said, ‘I thought we’d never get back to in-person classes. I thought you’d have to send everyone home.’ And, you know, we did recover from that.”

COVID-19 vaccination ramps up in Wisconsin but will take months

Wisconsin State Journal

UW Health expected to vaccinate 250 employees against COVID-19 by Wednesday and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital anticipated immunizing about 500, as a weeks-long effort to inoculate Wisconsin’s 450,000 health care workers and nursing home residents against the coronavirus before others can get the injections started to ramp up.

Report: Wisconsin’s public colleges are falling behind as state funds lag and enrollment drops

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A new report on the financial health of Wisconsin’s state universities and technical colleges found lagging state investment, enrollment challenges and — for University of Wisconsin schools — an ongoing tuition freeze as some of several factors threatening their competitiveness.

Wisconsin expects first batch of COVID-19 vaccines soon, general public may not see it until mid-2021

Wisconsin State Journal

St. Mary’s Hospital and UW Health, both in Madison, will operate as regional distribution hubs for the Pfizer vaccine. “These vaccines will be going to frontline healthcare workers first, and there are still uncertainties around the quantities we’ll get and the timing of their arrival,” Matt Anderson, senior medical director of ambulatory operations with UW Health, said in a statement. “The public must remain diligent as it will not be widely available anytime soon.”

UW-Madison has a new cutting edge home for sausage, bacon, steak and innovation

Wisconsin State Journal

No longer sequestered in an aging building in a space that was about equal to a garage with a few chest freezers, Bucky’s Varsity Meats, formally Bucky’s Butchery, has a shiny new home with a glistening meat counter, several glass doors for refrigerated and frozen products and bunkers filled with hot dogs, snack sticks and tubes of summer sausage.

Madison tops’s ‘Best Places to Retire’ rankings

Wisconsin State Journal

Money noted the benefits of UW-Madison, including that people 60 and older can audit courses for free; our “bustling restaurant scene and free events,” such as Concerts on the Square and the Dane County Farmers’ Market; the city’s art institutions, and attractions like the Madison’s Children Museum and Henry Vilas Zoo for entertaining young relatives.

‘We don’t want to repeat what happened’: CDC joins in probe of Badgers COVID-19 outbreak

Wisconsin State Journal

UW researchers are analyzing the viral samples to determine whether there was one point of introduction that led to the spread or if the outbreak included multiple clusters of the virus. That could take weeks to find out because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now involved in the analysis of the outbreak.

Inside UW Hospital’s growing COVID-19 unit, patient fates are uncertain

Wisconsin State Journal

As of Friday, 57 COVID-19 patients were at the hospital, including 16 in intensive care, quadruple the volume from six weeks earlier. If Wisconsin’s coronavirus surge doesn’t turn around, the hospital may soon have to place infected patients in pre-op waiting areas or operating rooms, said Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer for UW Health.

What went wrong at Wisconsin: Daily COVID-19 testing was supposed to protect Big Ten football from outbreaks

Wisconsin State Journal

University of Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst had completed his daily testing for the COVID-19 virus by early afternoon Oct. 23. Chryst’s result came back negative that Friday, as did every other rapid-response antigen test from a group that included his staff, players and other game-day personnel.

Dr. Deborah Birx meets with state legislators, UW system leaders, to discuss state of COVID-19 in Wisconsin


“We talked about whether the universities could work with us to test all of their students, the ones not only in residence halls but also all of their students across Wisconsin, and also bring in the vocational schools and test those students, and really get an idea of how much asymptomatic spread there is in the community,” Birx said.

‘You have to stop the silent spread’: Dr. Deborah Birx urges Wisconsin to learn from UW System, test to find young, asymptomatic spreaders


“Universities that required weekly testing of students, staff and faculty have extraordinary low community spread. What do I mean? There’s very little infection of the students because they’re constantly finding those cases early and isolating them for 10 days and that prevents community spread,” said Birx.

More than 3,000 UW-Madison students have contracted COVID-19. This is one student’s story

Wisconsin State Journal

More than 3,000 of UW-Madison’s 45,500 students have contracted COVID-19 since late July. Some of them gathered in large groups without a mask, desperate to make friends in a new place or reconnect with old ones after months away. Others came into contact with the virus through their roommate or fraternity brother or some other seemingly unavoidable way. There’s also students like Post, who tested positive despite all of their efforts to dodge it.

Daily testing the key for ‘drastically different’ Big Ten football season

The Capital Times

“There won’t be tailgates taking place around our stadium. There won’t be Badgerville. The Union won’t look like Union South normally looks,” McIntosh said. “We’ll come back in the fall of 2021 in a big way and get back to normal, but we all need to participate … We feel good about our chance to play right now, but there’s no guarantee, so we all need to play a role.”

Cap Times Idea Fest: Scientists always on the lookout for the next pandemic

The Capital Times

“It’s hard to know what’s going to be the next pandemic,” said Kristen Bernard, a UW virologist who studies animal-borne viruses, like the one that turned the world on its head this year. Bernard spoke with Kelly Tyrrell, an award-winning science writer and director of UW-Madison’s research communications, in a one-on-one session for the Cap Times Ideafest on preparing for the next pandemic.

Chancellor Blank speaks on ‘crises’ facing UW

Daily Cardinal

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank met with representatives of the school’s two student newspapers Tuesday afternoon to answer questions and share her views on the current semester. “We’re in the midst of three crises,” the Chancellor told the Daily Cardinal and Badger Herald, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university’s financial woes and the “social revolution” brought on by the killing of George Floyd and enduring cycles of racial injustice.

Finish in sight for new Badgers pool construction, Field House exterior renovation

Wisconsin State Journal

The Nicholas Recreation Center is scheduled to open Monday with limited capacity on the site of the former Southeast Recreational Facility near the Kohl Center and LaBahn Arena. The University Recreation and Wellbeing building includes the Soderholm Family Aquatic Center that will be home to the Badgers swimming and diving teams.