Dealing with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak

The outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

For more information visit: https://www.cdc.gov/…/…/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, anxiety or depression, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517), or call the Human Service Center Crisis Line 888-299-1188.

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COVID-19 Update: Gov. Evers Orders Scaling Down of all Child Care Settings

Gov. Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to restrict the size of all child care settings. Centers may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time. This order can be found here.

The restriction in size goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, 2020 to give child care providers and families time to make plans for care moving forward. The closure will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared by Executive Order #72.

“Child care is an essential service for many of the folks working on the front lines to provide healthcare and vital services to our communities during the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Gov. Evers. “This is another step forward to ensure that service continues, while protecting our child care providers who are going above and beyond their regular duties to support our families, communities, and state.”
Providers are being asked to prioritize families of healthcare and essential service providers, using good faith to determine who those families are. Those using care who can keep their children at home are being asked to do so. The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) and DHS have updated guidance for providers to implement this emergency order.

“I know many Wisconsinites are looking for ways to help during this crisis,” Gov. Evers continued. “If you are able, keeping your kids at home is one of the actions you can take to have the most impact. I also want to recognize the child care providers around the state who are stepping up to support our communities– we appreciate your service during this challenging time.”

Additionally, the Administration is working with healthcare providers, child care providers, and the National Guard to explore options to serve healthcare workers through on-site care. It is important that these facilities are able to provide the same level of care and health precautions for staff and children. More information on this effort will be available in the coming days.

“We in Forest County can rally together. If you have capacity to care for kids whose parents are on the front line of COVID-19 response, especially health care providers, please consider helping your neighbors during this difficult time,” said Jacee Shepard, Forest County Health Officer.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and frequently monitor the DHS website https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm, the Forest County Health Department Facebook page, and additional information can be found on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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Forest County Health Department Recognizes Community Spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin

On Tues., March 17, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that community spread of COVID-19 has occurred 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. Currently, there is no community spread in Forest County. Updated numbers of positive cases per county and locations where community spread is being seen are updated on the DHS Outbreaks website daily at 2 p.m. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm

Social distancing is a strategy to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel (new) coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. This is a conscious effort to reduce contact between people to slow the spread of the virus. Social distancing will help keep you, your family, and our community from increased risk of exposure.

“Even if you are symptom free and not part of an at-risk group, you still need to change your lifestyle starting today,” said Jacee Shepard, Forest County Health Officer. “The number of confirmed cases in Wisconsin reminds all of us about the importance of social distancing and maintaining good hygiene to prevent the spread of disease.”

According to DHS, avoid public places. If you cannot avoid public spaces, stay six feet away from other people. Stay home as much as possible. And think about how you can decrease close contacts and crowded environments while COVID-19 is spreading through our communities.

The Forest County Health Department is keeping track of this outbreak. We are working with our local, state, and federal partners to deal quickly and effectively in the event people have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around people who have been infected with the new coronavirus.

The health department wants everyone know that while the risk of getting the illness remains low, people should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:

• Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.
• Cover coughs and sneezes.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Stay home when sick.
• Practice social distancing.
• Avoid large public gatherings and crowds.

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March 17th, 2020 update. Gov. Evers Directs DHS to Limit Gatherings to Less than 10 People to Slow Spread of COVID-19

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. Additionally, schools will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency.

Violation or obstruction of this order is punishable by imprisonment, fines, or both under Wisconsin State Statute § 252.25.

“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.”

Community Spread
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.

You can view the full order here: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/WIGOV/2020/03/17/file_attachments/1403535/Gov.%20Evers_DHS%20order_3.17.20.pdf

 To read the latest information about COVID-19 please follow the Forest County Health Department Facebook page and visit the Department of Health Services website at: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/ and the CDC website at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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COVID-19 Update: DHS Issues Order Prohibiting Mass Gatherings of 50 People or More

Under the authority of Wisconsin State Statute § 252.02(3) and at the direction of Governor Tony Evers, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm has ordered a statewide moratorium on mass gatherings of 50 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. March 17, 2020, all public and private mass gatherings are prohibited in the State of Wisconsin. This order will remain in effect for the duration of the public health emergency declared in Governor Evers’ Executive Order #72, or until a superseding order is issued.

 “Mass gathering” is any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that will bring together or is likely to bring together 50 or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time.

 This order may include, but is not limited to mass gatherings at:  public or private schools, auditoriums, theatres, movie theatres, museums, stadiums, arenas, conference rooms, meeting halls, exhibition centers, taverns, health and fitness centers, recreation centers, licensed pools, places of worship and religious gatherings.

 “The Forest County Health Department is monitoring this outbreak,” said Jacee Shepard, Health Officer. “We are working closely with federal, state, and local partners to be prepared for any changes to the situation here and to make sure information is shared with the public.”

All gatherings that bring together, or are likely to bring together, fewer than 50 people in a single room or confined space at the same time must:

1. Operate at 50 percent of seating capacity,

2. Preserve social distancing of 6 feet between people, and

3. Follow all other public health recommendations issued by the Wisconsin Department     of Public Health and the Forest County Health Department.

Violation or obstruction of this order is punishable by imprisonment, fines, or both under Wisconsin State Statute § 252.25.

While the risk of getting the illness remains low, people should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:

• Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.

• Cover coughs and sneezes.

• Avoid touching your face.

• Stay home when sick.

• Practice social distancing.

 To read the latest information about COVID-19 people can visit the Department of Health Services website at: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/ and the CDC website at: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Please call the Forest County Health Department with any questions at 715-478-3371.

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