Local leaders encourage vigilance to help our community
Crandon, Wisconsin- We are now seeing cases in Forest County because of people attending gatherings and socializing outside of their normal family activities. Community members can assume that anywhere they go in public they have a chance of becoming infected with COVID-19, especially at establishments or events where recommendations to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet and take safety precautions, such as wearing a face covering, are not widely observed.
During this pandemic, there is greater risk for individuals who come into “close contact” with each other. This generally means they are within 6 feet or less with others for 15 minutes or longer. The closeness of contact with another person not from your immediate household and the greater the length of time spent near each other are key factors that increase the opportunity of the virus to spread.
“We know people are tired of being told to limit their contact with people outside their household and limit their travel. However, COVID-19 remains very contagious, and physical separation is the best way to keep people safe and healthy,” said Jacee Shepard, Director/Health Officer of the Forest County Health Department. “Our goal is to support a healthy community and a vibrant economy by providing our community with the tools needed to prevent and respond to the spread of disease in Forest County.”
As a community we all must work harder and together to keep COVID-19 from spreading out of control while businesses safely increase employee and customer capacity. In Forest County, our contact tracers hear from about 1 in 5 people with a positive test that they don’t know where they could’ve gotten it from. This means that people in our community are passing it to others because they have the virus but no symptoms, do not yet have symptoms, or are working or socializing while sick. This underscores the importance of all of us taking actions to prevent the spread of the virus.
You can enjoy the beautiful fall weather by getting outside, but make sure to do it safely. Fall won’t be the same without attending your usual large festivals, but hiking on the trails, taking bike rides, and enjoying the fall colors with your family are a few alternatives to support our mental and physical well-being as we learn how to protect ourselves and our community from COVID-19.
Staying home is best way to prevent the virus from spreading without control. When you do go out, you can follow these “safer” practices to reduce risk for you, and your family and community:
Prevent spreading COVID-19
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Avoid touching your face in public
- Stay home when sick
- Practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet from people not in your immediate household
- Avoid large gatherings
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Wear a cloth face covering in situations where physical distancing can’t be maintained
Watch for symptoms of COVID-19
- Fever and chills
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Fatigue and body/muscle aches
- Diarrhea, vomiting and nausea
Help contain COVID-19
- Track the places you visited and how long you were there
- Make a note (if possible) of who you were with if they are not a member of your living unit
- Write down if someone may have coughed/sneezed around you, shared a drinking glass, food, or other personal item
- Talk to public health professionals if they call to help identify close contacts which helps to limit the spread of disease and provide support to those who may need it
- Get tested when encouraged by a health professional or you have COVID-19 symptoms
The Forest County Health Department, Forest County Potawatomi Community, and Sokaogon Chippewa Community continue to work together to flatten the curve using testing and contact tracing, sharing information with the public, and are preparing for additional surges. Everyone in our community can help slow the spread of the virus by taking precautions whenever you leave the place where you live. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, we are still learning a lot about it. Until there is a vaccine, the best thing to do is to adopt proactive public health measures as we get back to our Wisconsin way of life. The actions you take today will determine our future. We encourage the public to frequently monitor the Forest County Health Department web page, and Facebook page, the WEDC website, 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.