Health Department Asks Public for Help Controlling Covid Spread

Door County reported 35 new positive tests for Covid-19 Monday, a total that includes positive tests from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. That brought the county’s total to 346 and led the Door County Public Health Department to issue a press release imploring the public to help keep the local outbreak under control. 

“There is significant uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in our community,” reads the statement issued Monday night. “We have seen exponential growth of cases the past few weeks. The number of new cases continues to accelerate upwards and is exceeding the ability of testing and case investigation to control the spread of illness. Contact tracing capacity is significantly strained. Our goal remains to reach out to all confirmed cases within 24 hours of being reported to the health department, but due to the current surge in cases we are days behind this goal.”

As a result of that strain, the department will no longer be calling  individuals who are close contacts of a positive case. The department is asking people who test positive to notify their employer and those people they have come in close contact with and remain isolated while waiting for test results.

“We simply don’t have the capacity to do [make those contacts],” said Public Health Manager Sue Powers in a Facebook Live session Monday night. “We are asking the community to assist with this to allow us to spend more time guiding employers and school nurses.”

On Monday Wisconsin Public Health reported 640 people hospitalized with Covid-19, the most since the pandemic began, including 89 in Northeastern Wisconsin. The state’s hospital beds are now at 80 percent capacity. Hospitals typically operate at about 65 percent of beds full. 

While most local patients have experienced mild cases of Covid-19, according to Dr. Jim Heise, the Chief Medical Officer at Door County Medical Center, there are currently two people hospitalized with the virus in Door County, and there were three hospitalized over the weekend. Heise said that 25 percent of tests have come back positive over the last two weeks. 

Powers said the majority of cases are coming from people who reported going to parties, reunions, weddings, family gatherings and schools as they reopened. She also confirmed that there is community spread in schools, meaning they are unable to trace where some students or staff have come in contact with the virus. 

Heise said the medical community continues to learn more about the virus every day, and that while people should live their lives as normal as they can, he urged people to stay at least six feet from others, wear masks and practice good hygiene.  

“The droplet spread is the chief thing for spreading the virus,” Heise said. “When you go out wear a mask. I am really convinced, even if virus gets through this mask, the amount that gets through will be significantly reduced if you wear a mask, and even more if the other person is wearing a mask. We know that if you get a lower dose of virus, you’re not going to get as sick.” 

Powers said everyone should expect to come in contact with the virus if you go out in public and should take precautions assuming that risk.

“Everything we do comes at some risk,” she said. “And the more people you interact with, the higher the risk.”

In Kewaunee County there have now been 540 confirmed cases of Covid-19. At 2,615 cases per 100,000 people, Kewaunee has one of the highest rates in the state. Door County reports 1,212 per 100,000 people, while neighboring Brown County, at 3,451 per 100,000 people, has the highest infection rate in Wisconsin. 

The Door County Public Health Department urges people to do the following if you test positive:

  • Stay Home and isolate for a minimum of 10 days after symptom onset of symptoms. If you did not have symptoms and were tested, remain isolated for 10 days from the date of testing. For detailed instructions click here>>
  • Notify your employer. Guidance for Business 
  • Notify your close contacts asking them to quarantine for 14 days from last contact with you. Full instructions found here>>

The department asks the community to follow these guidelines to reduce further spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

  • Stay Home, wear a face covering and physical distance (at least 6 feet) Stay at home as much as possible and especially if you are sick. Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates, and nonessential appointments. 
  • Avoid unnecessary activities and travel within the community that puts you in contact with others and stay away from group gatherings. Cases are resulting from a variety of situations in which people move about the community and gather, including parties, reunions, weddings, places of work and schools. 

Please see Door County Website or Wisconsin Department of Health Services for additional information and resources. 

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