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Today we highlight a USA TODAY/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting investigation about lax scrutiny and a rising COVID-19 death toll at meatpacking plants.
About 45,000 American meatpacking workers have contracted the coronavirus and at least 239 have died, a team of reporters found. But the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration has failed to inspect 26 of the 65 meatpacking plants where at least one worker died.
“Experts say that’s in large part because the agency weakened reporting requirements during the pandemic,” the reporters write. “Even fewer deaths triggered the kind of robust investigation OSHA typically conducted before the pandemic. Worker advocates say that’s also a consequence of a hands-off approach from OSHA.”
OSHA has cited just five meatpacking plants for violations during the pandemic. Among them: a JBS plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to the report.
COVID-19 deaths go uninvestigated as OSHA takes a hands-off approach to meatpacking plants — USA TODAY/Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting
Low staffing numbers still a concern as Veterans Home at Union Grove endures second outbreak, 12 total deaths — Journal Times
Evers asks feds to release more COVID-19 vaccine to Wisconsin as state officials move closer to picking next group to get shots — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
What we know about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, what groups will get it and when — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Vaccine rollout confirms public health officials’ warnings — Associated Press
Differences over masks highlight divide over COVID-19 measures in Wisconsin Legislature — Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin Senate Republicans release slimmed-down COVID plan — Cap Times
Health care workers at small or private organizations get vaccinated after weeks of hurdles — Janesville Gazette
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Data to note
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Monday reported a seven-day average of 40 new daily COVID-19 deaths.
Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed.
Calculate your exposure risk
In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here.
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Iced by pandemic, Middleton High School hockey players build rinks to share with community — Wisconsin State Journal
UW Hospital set transplant records in 2020 despite COVID-19 — Wisconsin State Journal
Beloit College’s Boynton leads conference on COVID-19 approach — Beloit Daily News
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The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.