It’s been a hard year and a half for a lot of people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant high stress and fewer healthy outlets for that stress.

During those stretches of hopelessness, there are some that turned to drugs and alcohol.

“We come out of one pandemic and go right into another one,” said John D. Johnson Sr., President of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

He said drug overdoses are taking their toll on the community.


You may have found yourself or someone you know reaching for the box of tissues or cold medicine lately.

You’re not alone.

Wisconsin is one of many states reporting a rise cold and flu cases in the last couple of weeks.

While not nearly as deadly as COVID-19, the rise is giving medical professional concerns for two major reasons.

One, we don’t usually see these types of seasonal respiratory illnesses in June. They usually peak in the winter months.


Michigan will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and mask requirements next week, 10 days sooner than planned amid vaccinations and plummeting COVID-19 infections.

The state’s main coronavirus order will expire at the end of Monday instead of on July 1, ending 50% occupancy limits inside restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues and at indoor events like weddings and funerals.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the announcement Thursday.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is tracking a new variant of COVID-19 with more than two dozen cases in the state.

The Delta strain has been elevated to a “variant of concern” in Wisconsin. The strain is fueling the coronavirus surge in the United Kingdom and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is more contagious and more resistant to vaccines.

DHA says the vaccines currently available in the U.S. have been shown to provide some protection against the Delta strain.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that local health departments do not have the authority to close schools due emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.

The conservative majority of the court, in a 4-3 decision, also ruled that a school closure order issued last year by Public Health Madison & Dane County infringed on religious rights.

The ruling is yet another victory for conservatives who challenged both state and local orders issued during the pandemic to close schools, limit capacity in buildings and require masks to be worn.

Wisconsin DHS

Wisconsin is experiencing COVID-19 levels not seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state is averaging about 130 new cases a day.

Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said during Tuesday media briefing that it’s great progress in fight against the virus, but more still needs to be done.

More passengers are moving through Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

The airport saw the most passengers in April since the pandemic began.

The airport saw 344,791 passengers that month.

That's 9,550 more passengers than in March.

Passenger traffic at the airport still hasn't rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, however.

April 2019 saw more than 585,000 passengers move through the facility.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

When restaurants closed and concerts were canceled last year, many people turned to outdoor activities to keep busy.

“2020 was record year for us out at the golf course as it was for probably every golf course in the country,” said Pinewood Country Club Owner Chip Bromann.

Bromann said golf was one of the activities people could stay busy with and safely social distance while still seeing people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His Hazelhurst golf course saw a lot of people who had stepped away from golf pick it back up again.


Hospitalizations due to the COVID-19 virus are at their lowest recorded levels in Wisconsin, a 92% drop from the peak less than seven months ago.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association said that as of Monday, there were 186 people reported as hospitalized statewide due to the virus.

The previous low was 192 people on April 2, the first day that the dashboard tracking hospitalizations reported data.

The high was 2,277 patients on Nov. 17, 2020.

The good news comes as mask mandates ended Tuesday in Milwaukee and in state buildings, including the Capitol.


COVID-19 can present itself in a wide variety of symptoms.

Some people have a headache and a mild cough, other are hospitalized struggling to get enough air.

An estimated 10 to 30 percent of COVID-19 patients are what’s dubbed ‘long-haulers’.

They’re still feeling the effects of the virus months after first being diagnosed.

Speech language pathologist with Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital Megan Luttrell says even within the COVID long-haulers there’s a wide range of symptoms.

A key state health department leader is hedging on whether Wisconsin can attain COVID-19 herd immunity by mid-2021.


Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk has previously said that 70% of Wisconsin's population would need to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity and the state could reach that benchmark by July.


But vaccination rates have slowed dramatically and are now growing at only about 1% a week.



Michigan is lifting a mask requirement for fully vaccinated people and says the unvaccinated don't need to wear one outdoors.

A broad indoor face covering mandate will expire in July.

The announcement Friday from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people.

Michigan’s order takes effect at 9 a.m. Saturday.

People outside won't have to wear a mask regardless of whether they have gotten a shot.

Gov. Tony Evers is praising new guidelines that allow people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to shed their facemasks in most situations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines Thursday saying the fully vaccinated can resume normal activities and don't have to wear masks outdoors or indoors except in crowded environments such as on public transportation or inside hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

Wisconsin's conservative state Supreme Court struck down Evers' statewide mask mandate in March.


Coronavirus vaccinations for 12- to 15-year-olds are beginning in Wisconsin after an advisory committee for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on the inoculations for younger children.

The Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses for full protection, is the first and only vaccine available for the age group.

The coronavirus accounted for 1.3% of all deaths among adolescents between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 30, or 127 deaths overall. In Wisconsin, there have been three deaths from COVID-19 of people age 19 and under.

Office of the Secretary of Defense

Now is the time to get your COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t already done so, according to Governor Tony Evers.

In a COVID update with the Department of Health Services on Wednesday, the Governor urged people to get vaccinated.