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When the pandemic struck, Patty Schachtner was glued to the news — she watched closely for updates coming out of coronavirus-ravaged China and Italy. She thought about what she would do if the virus hit her corner of the world in rural Wisconsin.
Her interest was a result of her unusual dual role. She was both a Democratic member of Wisconsin’s State Senate and chief medical examiner for St. Croix County.
Patty tried to remain several steps ahead of the spread, preparing for the worst. It was an approach that met with pushback from some in her conservative community.
Now the worst-case scenario has arrived — cases and deaths are on the rise in the state.
Over the course of the pandemic, Patty spoke with The New York Times. We chart her journey through those months and what happened when the pandemic reached her family.
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Julie Bosman contributed reporting.
The Daily is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Alix Spiegel, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano and Soraya Shockley. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.