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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coronavirus: Stay Home Or Keep Your Distance

Issue Date: March 18, 2020

In Marinette County, and in all of Wisconsin, schools are closed until further notice. Bars, restaurants and theaters are also closed, and most denominations have cancelled church services, in view of state orders banning gatherings of more than 10 people until further notice to prevent the spread of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19.

On Monday, March 16, President Donald Trump issued a request for everyone to avoid gatherings of 10 or more.

On Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Tony Evers ordered all schools in Wisconsin to close effective at the end of classes on Wednesday, March 18, and ordered a ban on all gatherings of 10 people or more in the state. The order includes rules that mean bars and restaurants cannot offer seating to the public and no one can eat or drink inside. They can offer take-out or delivery. Convenience stores and service stations are no longer selling coffee or other self serve foods or beverages.

A previously issued Wisconsin order had closed schools from March 18 through April 6, and banned gatherings of 50 or more.

Marinette County Health Officer Mollie Bonjean said as of Wednesday morning, March 18 there were no known cases in Marinette County, but cautioned that can change rapidly.

Statewide, there are a reported 72 known cases, although numbers vary. Some news sources on Wednesday morning said the number of known cases has grown to 90, and reportedly a person with the coronavirus had returned to this country through the Appleton airport.

Counties with identified cases of coronavirus include Milwaukee, 40; Dane, 19; Fond Du Lac, 12; Kenosha, 4; Waukesha, 4; Sheboygan, 3; Winnebago, 3, and Outagamie, Pierce, Racine and Wood, one each.

At a news conference on Tuesday, March 17 Gov. Tony Evers said there is evidence of community spread in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha Counties, which means health officials can't trace the origin of the exposure.

Some patients in Wisconsin have been hospitalized. The Wisconsin Division of Health Services (DHS) says 1,038 tests taken for coronavirus in Wisconsin have come back negative. One person with a confirmed case has recovered, and more recoveries are expected, since the disease lasts about 14 days in otherwise healthy individuals.

To help prevent spread of the disease, people are being asked to stay home as much as possible, and keep a distance of at least six feet between themselves and others when they do go to public places.

Following an order issued by Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), on Tuesday, March 17, Bonjean issued the following proclamation:

"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 10 or more people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

"Effective on Tues., March 17, 2020 at 5 p.m. all public and private mass gatherings, including all bars and restaurants, excluding some restaurants as noted in the order, 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."

Echoing the state proclamation, Bonjean's order defines "Mass gathering" as "any planned or spontaneous, public or private event or convening that will bring together or is likely to bring together 10 or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time," and continues:

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

"All gatherings that bring together or are likely to bring together fewer than 10 people in a single room or confined space at the same time must:

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

Ŗ. Follow all other public health recommendations issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Health and Marinette County Public Health."

There are some teeth in Bonjean's order, which concludes: "Violation or obstruction of this order is punishable by imprisonment, fines, or both under Wisconsin State Statute 252.25."

"Marinette County Public Health is keeping track of this outbreak," Bonjean said. "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."

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention is advising everyone in the nation to avoid large events and mass gatherings for at least eight weeks.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath,and emergency signs include pain and pressure in the chest, extreme tiredness, confusion and bluish lips or face.

Ability to do testing remains limited but is getting better. Some hospitals in Green Bay are reportedly already constructing drive-up test sites.

Bonjean said while the risk of getting the illness remains low, people should follow some other simple steps to avoid getting sick, including frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water; cover coughs and sneezes; avoid touching your face; say home when sick, and practice social distancing. For social distancing, authorities are advising people to keep six feet away from others.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

As of noon Tuesday, March 17 there were reportedly 7,656 cases of coronavirus in the United States, and 115 deaths since January 21. Of the 7,656 confirmed cases, 229 were travel related, 245 were attributed to close contact, and 3,752 are still under investigation.

The coronavirus was first identified in December of 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and on Wednesday, March 11 the World Health Organization formally designated it as a global pandemic, responsible for over 4,291 deaths world wide.

Marinette County Board's Executive Committee met mainly by telephone conferencing on Tuesday, March 17, and agreed to go forward with the planned County Board meeting on Tuesday, March 31, with provision that Supervisors may choose to participate by phone and only the more urgent county matters will be on the agenda until a normal meeting can be held.That decision may change, since the Executive Committee meeting was held Tuesday morning, when Wisconsin's large gathering restrictions still allowed gatherings of up to 50 people. The state and local orders limiting the number to 10 was issued Wednesday afternoon by the Wisconsin DHS at the direction of Gov. Evers. Exemptions are allowed for airports and mass transit, as long as restaurants comply with the restrictions. Childcare centers, residential care centers and group homes are also exempted. Most nursing homes and hospitals have banned visitors. Facilities in the Wisconsin Legislature or Wisconsin Court System are also exempt, as are hospitals, food pantries and shelter facilities, including day centers, for individuals and families. Retail food establishments such as grocery stores and convenience stores, may remain open, but all seating for food consumption is to be eliminated, and all self-dispensing of unpackaged foods or beverages is prohibited. Offices, manufacturing facilities, job centers, etc. can continue operating, but working from home as much as possible is encouraged.

Voting in Wisconsin's elections on Tuesday, April 7 will continue as usual, but absentee voting is being encouraged. Clerks in municipalities throughout the county already report being swamped with requests for absentee envelopes. Citizens are advised to watch the newspaper or contact their local clerks for more information. Clerks say for those wanting to vote in person, styluses will be used, and equipment will be wiped down after each vote with sanitizer.

The National Newspaper Association (NNA) notified members that there had been rumors around the country that governors and other authorities were considering closing of newspapers in carrying out their mandates for social distancing behaviors recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. That will not happen, according to NNA President Matthew Adelman

"Stopping newspapers from publishing is not only unwise at a time when people are fending off bad and irresponsible information, it also has Constitutional implications. NNA and its allies in the free press advocacy world are staying alert for infringements of the free press." However, there were recommendations to get guidance from the CDC, OSHA and other agencies to help members navigate through this time. The letter included a pledge: "We are going to cover the news and we are going to get through this difficult time." Newspapers and periodicals are also not to be penalized by the United States Postal Service if a publication has to suspend a print issue during coronavirus quarantines.

For the latest information about COVID-19 people can visit the following websites:

- Department of Health Services (DHS) - https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html


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