April 6, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

Top news:

  • A recorded video of the online memorial for Dr. Beth Potter and Robin Carre that occurred on Sunday is available. Additionally, the family has informed us that, though they appreciate the thought, they would prefer not to receive financial contributions at this time. The family is anticipating establishing a memorial fund in the future that will provide resources for community activities that were important to Beth and Robin. Details will be announced when available.
  • Donors sought for COVID-19 convalescent plasma clinical trial at UW–Madison: The clinical trial involves use of antibodies from people who have recovered completely from COVID-19 as an experimental treatment for seriously ill patients. To be eligible to participate, potential donors must have received a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 but be symptom-free for at least 14 days. Potential donors will be re-tested for COVID-19. If those results are negative, they will then be allowed to donate their plasma, which will be directly assigned to a specific patient in need. Individuals interested in donating plasma to the project can learn more by calling 608-262-8300 or e-mailing uwcovid19project@hslc.wisc.edu. Physicians treating people with COVID-19 at any hospital can register their patients at uscovidplasma.org for potential inclusion in the plasma trial. Physicians with patients at University Hospital with COVID-19 who may be candidates for convalescent plasma should contact Joseph Connor, MD, assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, at JConnor@UWHealth.org.

Additional information:

  • Cloth face coverings may be used by essential employees working on site, but are neither recommended nor required by the UW–Madison Office of Human Resources. Social distancing and good hygiene remain the most effective measures to use in the workplace. Employees required to work on site who need to work in close proximity to others should contact their supervisor to identify measures that can be taken to maintain appropriate social distancing. If you feel that your concerns cannot be resolved, please contact UW Occupational Health at occmed@uhs.wisc.edu or 608-265-5610. Employees who have symptoms or who have a documented risk of exposure should not report to work. Cloth face masks do not reduce risk in such instances.


  • Please send kudos about your colleagues. Honor someone at go.wisc.edu/shoutout and we’ll share the stories. Visit this page to see a collection of shout-outs to date. Stay tuned tomorrow for more!

“The preventive medicine residents were reassigned to the Department of Health Services, and they have been doing an extraordinary job in helping to organize the response and keep the people of Wisconsin safe. Sabrina Murphy, Margaret Nolan, Collin Pitt and Richard Crawford have demonstrated exceptional leadership and have gone above and beyond of what is expected of a resident in any setting. This battle will be won in the public health field, and I am grateful that they are leading the charge.” – Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS,  Postdoctoral Trainee, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

“Early last month the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics came to the realization that a large number of our staff might have to telecommute. Additionally, we came to a larger conclusion that our computational systems which we maintain would likely be much harder to physically lay hands on should a problem occur. Our group needed to order computational components to prevent failures and keep our large High Throughput Computational systems and storage infrastructure running for an undefined time period. Financial Specialist Desmond Rogers was able to turn around many of our needed purchases usually within an hour, and he helped support our departmental infrastructure in a time of need. Additionally, Biomedical Computing Group Leader and Systems Analysis William Annis was able to approve many of our purchases rapidly and respond to a quickly changing situation by making sure our group had what we needed to get the job done. The Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Department works better because of these two.” – Christopher Harrison, Senior Systems Programmer, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics



Staying strong & supporting one another: 

  • Grand Rounds lecture: On April 10, Mariah Quinn, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor (CHS) and Director of Provider Well-Being in the Department of Medicine will give a Grand Rounds presentation titled “Alone: The Psychological Effects of Quarantine, and Strategies for Mitigating Them.” It will be available online.