Door County Medical Center Enacts Covid Surge Plan

Fourth Door County death reported. Evers limits public gatherings statewide.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have surged in northeastern Wisconsin and throughout the state during the past two weeks, prompting Door County Medical Center to enact its surge plan.

“Our healthcare partners in Brown County are reporting being overwhelmed,” according to a Public Health Emergency alert issued by Door County Public Health on Wednesday.

After holding at three deaths since the start of the pandemic, Door County recorded a fourth on Sept. 26.

Case activity of Covid-19 has been elevated to “very high” in Door County as “significant uncontrolled spread” of the virus continues within the community, according Wednesday’s public health alert.

The surge in positive cases across the state caused Gov. Tony Evers to issue a new emergency order on Tuesday. It limits the size of indoor gatherings in public spaces to 25 percent of the occupancy limits for rooms or buildings, and to no more than 10 people for events at a private residence that are open to the public. 

The order – in effect through Nov. 6 – does not apply to child care settings, schools, churches, colleges and nonpublic workplaces. 

As of Oct. 6, 149 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in northeastern Wisconsin. Statewide, 853 people are now hospitalized with the virus, which is up from 293 a month earlier. The spike led Door County Medical Center to join hundreds of medical professionals statewide in urging the public to wear masks, avoid large gatherings and take measures to alleviate the pressure on the state’s health care system. 

The Green Bay Packers announced they will not be hosting fans at home games for the foreseeable future.

“In order to host fans, the area will need to see a marked improvement in the rate of hospitalizations, as well as the community infection rate and positivity rate,” said a release from the team.

The new emergency order comes as Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald – Republican leaders of the Wisconsin State Legislature – filed a brief on behalf of the legislature in support of a lawsuit seeking to overturn Evers’ mask mandate. First District Rep. Joel Kitchens said that although he believes Evers’ order was illegal, Kitchens “was not in favor of the legislature getting involved in that lawsuit.”

Locally, the Fall 50 run, which hosts more than 2,000 participants each October, was canceled Tuesday. 

“Despite our best efforts to make our event COVID safe, the recent surge in COVID cases in northeast Wisconsin prevents us from proceeding,” director Sean Ryan said Tuesday in an email to participants. He wrote that the Door County Public Health manager, medical partners at Door County Medical Center and local government officials all urged him to cancel the event. 

“Disregarding these appeals could result in our permits being revoked at the last minute – a scenario we must avoid,” he said. 

LISTEN: On last week’s Door County Pulse Podcast, Myles Dannhausen Jr. spoke to Dr. Jim Heise, chief medical officer of Door County Medical Center. They had a wide-ranging discussion about COVID-19, why our community is affected by the coronavirus status in Green Bay and what we’ve learned during the pandemic.