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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he tested positive for the coronarivus. Johnson’s office announced the diagnosis in a statement Saturday morning.

He’s the third Republican senator to report a positive test this week, joining Utah Sen. Mike Lee and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and adding to tension in Washington since President Donald Trump announced his positive test Friday.

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Wisconsin has hit a new record for COVID-19 deaths as the disease continues to surge unchecked across the state. Health officials reported 27 deaths on Wednesday.

They reported 2,319 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 122,274. A total of 1,327 people have died.

Wisconsin hospital officials report they're close to being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, forcing doctors to transfer patients to other facilities and build waiting lists.

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Less than 2 percent of Wisconsin residents had antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 as of July, based on early results of a new study.

The study was conducted by the state Department of Health Services, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, or SHOW, and the Wisconsin Sate Laboratory of Hygiene. Preliminary results were released Tuesday.

The study tested 1,056 people and of those, 1.6% were positive for the antibodies, indicating that they had been previously infected, even if they didn’t have symptoms.

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Data obtained by The Associated Press shows Postal Service districts across the nation are missing the agency’s own standards for on-time delivery as millions of Americans prepare to vote by mail.

The lag times are especially pronounced in key regions of some battleground states, where delivery times are below the national average.

That raises the possibility that scores of mailed ballots could miss deadlines for reaching local election offices if voters wait too long.

A federal judge said Wednesday he won’t rule before the election on a lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring college student IDs to have an expiration date in order for them to be used for voter ID.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson canceled a hearing he had scheduled Thursday morning in the case, less than six weeks before the election in the hotly contested battleground state.

Peterson said he didn’t want to cause “chaos and confusion” by ruling in the case so close to the election, noting that absentee voting is already underway.

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay

Gov. Tony Evers has extended Wisconsin’s mask mandate until November 21, citing a surge in coronavirus cases across the state, particularly on college campuses.

The order has been in effect since August and was scheduled to expire on Monday.

Evers on Tuesday extended the order even as his authority to issue the mandate is being challenged by conservatives in court.

Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases have been soaring and the state now ranks third in the country for new cases per capita. A month ago, Wisconsin ranked 26th.

Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin wildlife officials estimate the number of wolves in the state has increased by about 13% from last year.

The state Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that surveys put the overwinter population between 1,034 to 1,057 wolves. The 2018-19 estimate was 914 to 978 wolves. The number of packs detected increased from 243 to 256.

The agency believes that based on modeling the actual wolf population is 1,195 wolves.

Associated Press

President Donald Trump is stepping up his rhetoric on cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters.

He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016.

He called for a statute to ban burning the American flag in protest — a freedom protected by the Supreme Court — and criticized sports players and leagues for allowing demonstrations against racial inequality.

Tommy Bartlett Show

The coronavirus pandemic has forced an iconic Wisconsin Dells-area water ski show to shut down forever.

Tom Diehl, president and co-owner of the Tommy Bartlett Show, said Wednesday that the show can't recover from the revenue loss this summer and will have to close down permanently after 69 years in business.

The show didn't operate at all this summer due to the pandemic and Diehl says it couldn't recover from the loss of revenue or risk investing in the summer of 2021 because of the uncertainty the pandemic has created.

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A Merrill man with a history in state politics has been charged in federal court with fraud and with storing and disposing of hazardous electronic waste without a permit.

The charges against Kevin Shibilski were announced Thursday. Shibilski served in the state Senate from 1995 to 2002 and was briefly the state tourism secretary in 2003.

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Wisconsin health officials confirmed an additional 567 cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 81,760. 

There were no new deaths reported in the state. A total of 1,168 people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Officials say that nearly 89%, or 72,478, of people who had COVID-19 in Wisconsin have recovered, while 8,096 people have active cases of the virus.

Here are the county totals according to the state Department of Health:

Oneida County: 230

Vilas County: 128

Forest County: 107

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

A 55-year-old restaurant manager died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall, police said.

Suffolk County police identified the man who died as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.

Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.

The stakes were high and the vote was close as Boeing production workers agreed to concede some benefits in order to secure assembly of the new 777X airplane for the Puget Sound region.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Boeing hailed Friday's vote, which proponents said solidifies the aerospace giant's presence in the Seattle area.

"Tonight, Washington state secured its future as the aerospace capital of the world," Inslee declared.

Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, died Saturday in a car crash that killed one other person north of Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 40.

Walker died Saturday afternoon, Ame Van Iden told the Associated Press.

A statement on the actor's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

"We ... are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news," the statement said.

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