Madison resident River Horn, 6, drops the absentee ballot belonging to her father, Brad Horn, into a ballot drop box on Williamson Street in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 24, 2020. Madison is among hundreds of Wisconsin communities that have installed drop boxes to ensure absentee ballots arrive on time for Tuesday’s election. Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch
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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Wisconsin is running short of hospital beds and nurses as the state fails to control the COVID-19 pandemic, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The state on Thursday had just 179 of 1,469 intensive care unit beds available at a time when the volume of infections is surging, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Bill Melms, chief medical officer for Marshfield Clinic Health System, said the state could run out of ICU beds within two to six weeks, Guy Boulton reports.

“Hospitals across the state already are straining to respond to the crisis, with exhausted staffs picking up extra shifts and working long hours,” Boulton reports. “Some hospital systems have begun to line up temporary nurses, including from out of state, to fill shifts in the coming weeks.”

Wisconsin on Thursday was averaging 4,128 new daily infections over the past seven days — a record high — according to the Department of Health Services. The state is averaging 35 new deaths over the past week.

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Wausau, Wis. Mayor Katie Rosenberg says one of her first acts in office was adding a shiny, blue behemoth outside of City Hall: a drop box that can hold up to 3,000 absentee ballots. Katie Rosenberg via Twitter

As the crush of COVID cases continues, Wisconsin is on track to run short of ICU beds in two to six weeksMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Ballot drop boxes offer ‘a safe place’ for voting in Wisconsin’s electionWisconsin Watch 

Wisconsin to open 71 new community testing sites as COVID-19 cases continue to riseWisconsin State Journal

Coronavirus is spreading on Wisconsin reservations as some surrounding communities ignore health mandatesGreen Bay Press-Gazette

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Wisconsin prison system; nearly 1,200 active casesWisconsin State Journal

Small social gatherings increase COVID-19 cases In La Crosse CountyWPR  

City of Racine says it will ‘begin proactive enforcement’ of mask ordinance, Safer RacineJournal Times 

‘If we don’t change course there will be issues’: La Crosse hospital capacity at risk as COVID-19 affects older peopleWKBT 

‘So frustrating’: Grave missteps seen in US virus responseAssociated Press 

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“If things do not change, if they continue on the course we’re on, there’s gonna be a whole lot of pain in this country with regard to additional cases and hospitalizations, and deaths.”

— Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaking to CNBC 

“We make this assumption, and maybe it’s a middle-class assumption: go home and you’ll be safe at home … But what if your home (includes) three or four families, three or four generations, not three or four people? What if you live in a small apartment in a concentrated part of the city? Which is related to poverty and related to race, and we can’t ignore that.”

— Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as quoted by WPR

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.

Data to note

WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin’s startling trends in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us:

NNS Spotlight: UpStart Kitchen feeds the dreams of entrepreneurs while nourishing the Sherman Park community Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service 

City of Milwaukee launches Financial Navigator Program to help those struggling amid pandemic WTMJ-TV

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