"It really is that uncertainty of going to a place that is a big gathering of a whole situation that you don't know about – masking, spacing, ventilation," Dr. Dan Shirley with UW Health said.
UW Health officials said the newest COVID-19 variant, omicron, could be more easily spread. However, if the omicron variant causes less severe disease and fewer hospitalizations, it could be a good thing.
"Kind of the end game for viruses is when it becomes more transmissible but less lethal overall. That could be what we’re seeing here," Hartman said.
It is the second year in a row that some families plan to keep their holiday celebrations smaller. Many Wisconsinites lined up to get tested in Milwaukee, and many others planned to travel for the holiday.
One way to boost immune systems over the holiday is vitamin D.
"Taking vitamin D supplement often times is very important to maintaining your overall immune health. Along with getting good sleep, having a proper diet," said Hartman.
The Milwaukee Health Department modified its hours for COVID-19 services over the holidays. The Northwest, Southside and Menomonee Valley health centers are closed through Dec. 26 with regular hours resuming Monday, Dec. 27.
Jurors in the fraud trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes returned to the courtroom Thursday to listen again to audio recordings that captured Holmes' brash promises about vaunted blood-testing technology that propelled her meteoric rise and scandalous downfall.
In those recordings from a December 2013 presentation to prospective investors, Holmes bragged about partnerships with established drug companies that hadn't panned out and potential U.S. military contracts that never materialized because of problems with Theranos' technology. She was unaware she was being recorded at the time.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group has qualified for nearly $30 million in Wisconsin tax credits.
That marks the first time the Taiwan-based electronics giant has secured state aid since breaking ground on its Wisconsin facility in 2018.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on Wednesday verified that Foxconn met job creation and investment benchmarks to qualify. That was based on documents provided to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Foxconn created 579 eligible jobs and made a capital investment of $266 million at the Racine County facility last year.
That qualifies the company for more tan $2 million in job credits and nearly $27 million in capital investment credits.
MADISON, Wis. - A former juvenile court judge was sentenced to nine years in prison and another 20 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges.
Brett Blomme, 39, resigned from his position in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in early September and pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of child pornography later that month. The former jurist appeared before a federal judge in a Madison courtroom Wednesday, Dec. 22, for a sentencing hearing.
"By viewing and downloading these images and videos, I re-victimized you, again," Blomme said, addressing the unidentified young children and toddlers abused in the downloaded files.
Blomme sat at the defense table dressed in orange prison-issued clothing, his ankles shackled together, addressing Chief Judge James Peterson. Blomme said his addictions stemmed from being a closeted gay man growing up, and that the pandemic contributed to his actions.
"I was drinking almost every night. I was obsessed by technology and social media," said Blomme. "I was filling my emptiness with these images and videos, in an attempt to make myself whole, and it did not work."
Blomme, a former assistant public defender and past president and CEO of a Milwaukee LGBTQ+ foundation, was elected to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in April 2020 and appointed to juvenile court. Less than a year later, Blomme would face state child pornography charges, accusing him of distributing child pornography – including while in the juvenile court facility.
Federal prosecutor Chad Elgersma did not address the court during sentencing, and declined to comment following the hearing, leaving the government's filings to speak for its position in the case – saying Blomme lived a "double life."
Prosecutors recommended Blomme be sentenced to more than a decade in prison, plus an additional 20 years of supervised release, based on federal sentencing guidelines that take into account the nature of the crimes and criminal history of the defendant. The penalty for a conviction on the charges calls for a 5-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Peterson departed downward, slightly, from the calculations – noting the mandatory minimum for child pornography crimes aren't based on historical decision-making and sentencing practices, compared to other crimes, but federal laws. Peterson said the guideline enhancement for using an electronic device essentially is a double count against a defendant, as virtually all present-day child pornography cases involve a computer device of some kind.
That said, Peterson called the nature of the child pornography downloaded and disseminated by Blomme the "roughest of the rough" and that it was a set of decisions by Blomme to select and distribute such virulent content.
MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has reported the death of a child under the age of 10 due to coronavirus-related complications.
As of Wednesday, Dec. 22, the child's death is the only one reported in the under-10 age group. There have been six deaths associated with COVID-19 in the next youngest age group – people who are 10 to 19 years old.
The DHS data does not specify the child under 10's exact age. It also does not specify where in the state the child was from.
Overall, the DHS has reported 9,804 total deaths in the state. In terms of seven-day averages, the DHS on Wednesday reported 28 new reported deaths and 3,417 confirmed cases.
STURTEVANT, Wis. - The Racine County Sheriff's Office arrested two persons in Sturtevant on Sunday, Dec. 19 who officials say are expected to face multiple drug charges.
A news release says shortly before 5 p.m. on Sunday, Racine County deputies conducted a crime prevention patrol at the Quality Inn on S. Sylvania Avenue in Sturtevant. While driving through the parking lot, a deputy saw a man who was sitting in a vehicle with the driver’s door open, making suspicious movements.
Due to past criminal activity in the area, deputies stopped and had a conversation with the man, who authorities identified as 49-year-old Paul Braun of Sturtevant. Braun told deputies he was trying to start his vehicle.
During this contact, one deputy utilized his K-9 partner and conducted an open-air sniff around the vehicle, the news release says. The K-9 alerted to the vehicle -- and the deputies searched the vehicle. During that search, deputies located methamphetamine and crack cocaine in a baggie behind the front passenger seat.
Officials say deputies determined Braun had been renting a room at the Quality Inn for several days with his girlfriend who authorities identified as Sara Domogalla, 40.
The deputies contacted Domogalla, who was the only person in the hotel room. Officials say a search of the room yielded additional methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. The deputies located a total of 33.6 grams of methamphetamine and 2.1 grams of crack cocaine – in both the vehicle and hotel room.
Braun and Domogalla were transported to the Racine County Jail and are being held on the following charges:
Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver as a Repeat Drug Offender
Possession of Cocaine as a Repeat Drug Offender
Felony Bail Jumping (six counts)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Braun is being held on a probation and parole hold. Braun also has multiple open felony cases in Burnett County and St. Croix County.
Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver as a Repeat Drug Offender
(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Photo by: AP
FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science -- and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has issued a Public Health Advisory on Monday with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 looming.
DHS says 19 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in the state and 5 percent of all positive tests are being sent to labs to detect the variant.
“This means that Omicron is here and spreading in Wisconsin” says DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake.
Governor Tony Evers (D) issued a statement following the advisory.
“I urge every Wisconsinite to take immediate action and get the COVID-19 vaccine and your booster dose if you haven’t received it already—this is critically important for mitigating surges in hospitalizations and deaths across our state… Please get the vaccine, continue following public health best practices, and do your part to help slow the spread of the Omicron variant” said Evers.
Hospital capacity is a concern as there are more people in the hospital with COVID than any other time in 2021.
“Our healthcare organizations have been pushed to the breaking point, and it is quite possible that omicron will push us past the breaking point” said Dr. William Melms, Chief Medical Officer at Marshfield Clinic Healthcare System.
Dr. Melms’ hospital system and others across the state have delayed elective surgery because of the need to use the nursing staff in other parts of the hospital. Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin says its had to delay deferrable surgeries that require beds in the hospital.
The state’s top infectious disease doctor says wearing a mask indoors, taking COVID tests before gathering with family this holiday weekend and keeping those gatherings small are ways to avoid spread. Most importantly, is getting the vaccine, says Dr. Ryan Westergaard.
“If you’ve been someone who’s decided to not get vaccinated at this point, please reconsider, please get vaccinated and get a booster dose for the sake of our collective public health," he said.
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