Wisconsin COVID-19: WI reports 2,712 new coronavirus cases, 42 deaths; new strain detected

GOP panel grills Evers' administration over vaccine pace
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin health officials on Thursday reported 2,712 new COVID-19 cases and 42 deaths.

In total, the state has seen 515,982 COVID-19 cases and 5,290 deaths related to the virus, since the pandemic began.

Wisconsin's seven-day percent positive by test is 8.9%.

GOP panel grills Evers' administration over vaccine pace

Assembly Republicans are grilling Wisconsin health officials about why they can't speed up COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Assembly's health committee held a hearing Thursday to investigate why vaccinations have been moving slowly.

The committee's chairman, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, says it's unacceptable that the general public has to wait until summer for shots. He demanded to know how Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' administration can speed up administering doses.

State Department of Health Services Assistant Deputy Secretary Lisa Olson says the pace is dictated by how much vaccine the federal government allocates to the state and it takes time to decide how to prioritize recipients.

New COVID-19 strain detected in Wisconsin

Wisconsin health officials say a new, more contagious form of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in the state. The Department of Health Services says the variant was detected through routine genome sequencing of a specimens collected from a positive COVID-19 test in Eau Claire County.

The variant form of the coronavirus was first discovered in England in November and December last year. The variant has since turned up in Colorado, California, Florida, Minnesota, New York and Georgia.

Health officials say the variant isn't any deadlier and vaccines should be effective against it.

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Wisconsin Senate approves COVID-19 relief package

The Wisconsin Senate has overwhelmingly passed a pared-down COVID-19 relief package. And Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has promised to sign it if it clears the Assembly.

Evers and Republican legislative leaders have been trying to hammer out a compromise package for weeks. Assembly Republicans passed a bill last week, but Evers opposes it.

Senate Republicans scaled the measure back. They removed provisions that would prohibit local health officials from ordering businesses closed for more than two weeks at a time and block mandatory vaccinations.

The body adopted it on a 29-2 vote on Tuesday and sent it back to the Assembly. An aide for Speaker Robin Vos didn't respond to a message asking about the bill's chances.

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WLS-TV contributed to this report
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