(Image via Shutterstock)
(Image via Shutterstock)

OSHA fines meatpacking plant for outbreak. UW poll shows a wider Biden lead in Wisconsin.

It took nine-and-a-half months for Wisconsin to go from one person infected with the coronavirus to 100,000 cases of COVID-19. It took 36 days to double the number of infections to 200,000.

Monday’s daily report from the state Department of Health Services shows 201,049 people in Wisconsin have been infected with the virus that has killed at least 1,788 people. The figures reflect 2,883 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday and 10 deaths. For the calendar week ending on Saturday, a record 196 deaths were recorded.

Once again, Wisconsin’s already packed hospitals are seeing a record number of COVID-19 patients. There are 1,350 people needing hospital care for the respiratory illness, and 329 of them are in intensive care units, according to a daily dashboard maintained by the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

More News from Around Wisconsin

OSHA Fines Meat Packer for Lack of COVID-19 Precautions – JBS Packerland was fined almost $14,000 for failing to protect workers from the coronavirus as the illness ravaged meatpacking plants in Brown County last spring. 

The Green Bay Press Gazette reported on Friday OSHA issued the $13,494 fine on Oct. 9, months after it launched an inspection into the plant on Green Bay’s east side. The agency found JBS employees worked in close proximity to each other in April, allowing the virus to spread, and said the company “did not develop and implement timely and effective measures to mitigate the spread.”

“Employees working at tables 1-6 of the fabrication department worked in close proximity to each other during the COVID-19 pandemic,” OSHA stated in its findings. “These conditions allowed the perpetuation of an outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility.”

HARIBO to Begin Factory Construction – Manufacturing will be on the upswing in southeastern Wisconsin, but the region’s workers won’t be pumping out LCD screens. Instead, many of them will be making gummy bears. 

HARIBO, best-known for its “Goldbear” gummy bears, said Monday it will start building a nearly 140-acre North American manufacturing facility in Kenosha County “as soon as possible.” It tapped Milwaukee-based Gilbane Building Company, the general contractor for Foxconn’s alleged factory, for construction and work-site management.

The German candy maker says it will spend $300 million on its new factory in Pleasant Prairie. The facility will employ 385 people, according to HARIBO.

Gov. Tony Evers and Missy Hughes, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., offered praise for HARIBO, less than two weeks after they told Foxconn it won’t get any tax credits until it renegotiates its contract with the state.

“We warmly welcome HARIBO to a long list of family-run enterprises that form the economic backbone of our state, making best-in-class products that reach every corner of the globe,” Evers said in a statement.

UW Poll: Biden Lead Grows in Wisconsin – According to a poll released Monday by the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, former Vice President Joe Biden has extended his lead over President Trump among registered Wisconsin voters, in part because a larger share of formerly undecided or third-party voters have decided to support Biden. 

In Wisconsin, Biden polled at 51% while Trump polled at 43%. The same poll found in September that among registered voters, Biden polled at 49% and Trump at 44%.

Biden likely has a massive lead among those who have already voted, as 51% of self-identified Democrats said they have already voted, compared to only 18% of Republicans. Although Trump is certainly favored by the 68% of Republican respondents who say they’ll vote on Nov. 3, the margin may not be large enough to compensate for Biden’s advantage in the early vote. Among self-identified Independents, 31% said they have already made their choices by mail or in-person absentee ballot.