Waukesha County’s Ill Use Of The First Amendment

This is just a short take on something that appeared in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel…journalists Daphne Chen and Rory Linnane wrote a telling article about COVID-19 and Wisconsin nursing homes. I am not going into that topic directly…but a little aside that appears in the text.

But when trying to find out information about COVID-19 issues with nursing homes in Waukesha County…this transpired:

In Waukesha County, where nine people have died from coronavirus, health officials confirmed “more than one outbreak in long-term care” but would not specify the number of cases or whether the positive individuals are staff or residents.

You are asked to not contact me, or any other Waukesha County Public Information Officer, or our Health Officer, with additional questions,” wrote county health department spokesperson Linda Wickstrom in an email last week.

WTF? The first amendment provides for freedom of the press and that particularly includes the right and necessity to ask questions of public officials…and to get accurate responses on the behalf of the general public…who on their own wouldn’t have access to the information.

And what exactly is a Public Information Officer for but to provide information to the public including the press?

So given the lack of testing nationwide…and the attitude expressed by an county official…can we trust the numbers for COVID-19 from Waukesha County? or anywhere?


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4 thoughts on “Waukesha County’s Ill Use Of The First Amendment

  1. No you can’t trust them. The problem is everyone has a political agenda. If you want to make public health policy, put your name on it. Vos, Fitzgerald, Supreme court; if you go against medical experts, put your name on it. Then every person who gets sick or dies will be hung around your neck.

  2. Waukesha is a strongly republican county and will follow the lead of the republican governor of Florida, Ron Desantis, and not comply until legally forced to do so. They will probably, wrongly, site HIPPA, but HIPPA applies to an individuals medical records. Trumptards and republicans hate telling the truth.

  3. Covid19 is definitely in WaukCo. I work with a person whose husband was told by his HC provider that he had the virus, but wouldn’t be tested unless he needed ICU care. Of course you won’t hear about these cases from the staunch WaukCo Republican officials towing the party line that you don’t have to report what you don’t test for.

  4. Not only reporters but any citizen may file an open record request. As you know it has to be somewhat specific or it can be rejected as being too vague for county staff to fulfill, but that kind of response by Ms Wickstrom should have her and her department supervisors on the unemployment line fairly soon.

    I just filed an open record request from the county wherein resides a huge local employer, a US Navy shipbuilder as residents witness daily, numerous carloads of transient workers coming into the area, 3-5 people to a vehicle from serious distances traveled for their jobs and after hearing union worker reports of little enforcement of on-the-job Covid-19 worker safety protocol practiced as described by WEDC.

    Back to the MJS article however, which also reflects and emphasizes the larger problem with the entire for-profit health care denial system in our country. Yes, I said HC Denial instead of provider system.

    Universal Health Care is unquestioningly demanded now (sadly, it will never gain traction calling it single-payer health insurance). Don’t expect Representative John Nygren or any of his WI GOP Congressional cronies to introduce or expand any version of it. Trillions to finance and Wall St., with next to nothing in trickle-down for the rest of us.

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