Alder Keith Furman
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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District 19 Blog
COVID-19 Update: Gov orders 10 person limit, voting, new website, community spread, and most meetings canceled
Gov. Evers Directs DHS to Limit Gatherings to Less Than 10 to Slow Spread of COVID-19
Measures also being taken to manage testing capacity in Wisconsin
MADISON -- Gov. Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue an agency order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order makes exceptions for transportation, educational institutions, child care, hotels, military, law enforcement, food pantries, hospitals, long-term care facilities, restaurants and bars can only offer take-out or delivery, grocery stores and convenience stores, utility facilities, job centers, and courts. See full order and list of exemptions here. Additionally, schools will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency.
"Our top priority at this time is to keep Wisconsinites safe and healthy by reducing the spread of COVID-19, especially for those who are considered high-risk. With limited tests available nationwide and continued community spread, we have to take every precaution to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors," said Gov. Evers. "I know what this means for our small business owners and the struggles they and their workers will face in the coming weeks, but we are committed to working with our federal partners, state officials, and stakeholders to ensure we are doing everything we can to assist during these uncertain times."
We are seeing community spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. This means that there are people who have tested positive who have no exposures to a known case nor did they travel to a location where there is known community spread. Today, we have cases in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties indicating that there is community spread happening in Wisconsin. Social distancing will help keep you, your family, and our community from increased risk of exposure.
DHS and Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene to move to tiered COVID-19 testing to manage capacity
Despite The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) significantly increasing their capacity for COVID-19 testing, the number of testing specimens being received far exceeds their daily capacity. In order to conserve supplies for testing, WSLH and DHS are now prioritizing two tiers of cases for testing:
Tier One (Individuals who):
- are critically ill and receiving ICU level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure
- are hospitalized (non-ICU) with fever or signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness (cough, shortness of breath) and either known exposure to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient or travel to an area with sustained community transmission
Tier Two (Individuals who):
- are hospitalized (non-ICU) with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness
- are health care workers with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of a lower-respiratory illness, regardless of hospitalization
Test requests that do not meet these criteria will be sent to other labs in the state and country for testing, resulting in longer wait times.
Information for healthcare providers on the testing tiers is available at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm. Patients without symptoms and patients with mild upper respiratory symptoms who are not health care workers should not be tested in order to ensure that there is capacity to test ill people.
People should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:
- Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
- Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
- Covering coughs and sneezes;
- Avoiding touching your face;
- Staying home when sick.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.
Please consider voting by absentee ballot. My wife and I have both requested our ballots. You can receive your ballot by e-mail or by mail. Lots more information here: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/VoteAbsentee and https://cityofmadison.com/clerk/elections-voting/voting/vote-absentee
All City employees, residents and visitors should get the latest health information on COVID-19 from Public Health Madison and Dane County.
A new website that focuses on information about City services and operations that impact City of Madison employees, residents and visitors is now online. City employees will be committed to keeping residents informed with updates on this website as the City responds to the impacts of COVID-19:
Community Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Occurring in Dane County
Community members should stay home as much as possible
Public Health Madison & Dane County is announcing several new cases of COVID-19 that indicate community spread of the virus. The term "community spread" means there is no known source of the disease, such as recent contact with an infected person or travel from an area with a high number of cases. Seventeen people in Dane County have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
"We have reached the level where community spread of COVID-19 is happening," says Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. "Given this level of spread, we are directing community members to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible. People should also continue everyday prevention strategies like washing hands frequently."
Community spread of the virus means there is an urgent need for people to restrict movement and stay at home as much as possible. Avoid groups, gatherings, playdates, and nonessential appointments.
"We expect the number of people with COVID-19 to continue to rise in Dane County. This is why we issued our order to limit gatherings to under 50 people, including closing schools. It's possible these orders will need to be amended to be more restrictive as the situation evolves," said Heinrich.
Due to community spread of the virus, Public Health directs community members to:
- Stay home whenever you can, especially when you are sick. If sick, isolate yourself from other members of your household, including pets.
- Limit contact with others. This includes canceling events, gatherings, playdates, and nonessential appointments. Minimize trips in public, avoid traveling, and work from home as much as possible. If you must go out, stay at least six feet from people whenever possible.
- Order necessities online for delivery. If possible, order supplies you need so you can stay home.
- Use virtual visits with your doctor. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your doctor's office before going in. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested. If your symptoms are too severe to be managed at home, call 911 or call ahead to the emergency department. Use virtual visits if possible to avoid coming in contact with others.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Do this often because it's the easiest, most effective way to keep from getting sick.
- Follow other everyday prevention strategies. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, avoiding shaking hands or being in someone's personal space, get your flu shot, avoid touching your face, and cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
Note: Given that we anticipate more positive tests, we are no longer issuing news releases for each person diagnosed with the virus. Instead, we will be putting an updated number of positive cases on our website each day.
Tonight's Council Meeting will go on as scheduled. Tonight's 3/17/20 Council mtg there will be limited seating in the Chambers (Rm 201). Rm 354, City-County Building will be an overflow room if needed. Both spaces will be situated to practice social distancing recommendations. 3/17/20 Consent Agenda
Two big items (3630 Milwaukee Street - Amazon-related and Tourist Rooming House ordinance) will both be referred to a future meeting. New legislation is on the agenda to enable future meetings online and the on phone. More information in the near future.
All stormwater-related meetings, including public information meetings and focus groups, are canceled.
Julia St, Julia Circle, and Baker Avenue public information meeting is canceled.
Next week's community meetings on Westgate and 5567 Odana Road is canceled.
Next week's Plan Commission Meeting is canceled. All items referred to the next meeting.
As always, if there is anything I can do to help, feel free to reach out: email@example.com
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