County Executive Jim Kreuser today declared a State of Emergency in Kenosha County in an effort to guard against the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
As of this afternoon, (March 12) there remain no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Kenosha County.
However, with one case now reported in neighboring Lake County, Ill., and six positive cases to date across Wisconsin, Kenosha County officials are seeking to be proactive to minimize the virus’ effects here.
Kenosha County’s action comes as Gov. Tony Evers has also made a statewide emergency declaration. View the Kenosha County declaration here.
“Our foremost priority is to protect the health and safety of Kenosha County’s residents and employees from coronavirus,” Kreuser said. “These declarations on the county and state levels are aimed at positioning us to receive resources to minimize the effects of what the World Health Organization has officially declared a pandemic.”
The Kenosha County Division of Health is recommending guidelines for individuals, businesses and organizations to follow, as preventive measures. They are:
- All assisted living and long-term care facilities are to limit visitors beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, until further notice. This means visitors should not be allowed to come into these facilities, except for in certain circumstances, such as end-of-life situations. Employees and vendors will be screened daily.
- Visitors will be restricted from the Kenosha County Jail and Detention Center.
- Organizers of public gatherings of 50 or more people are encouraged to cancel these events, to reduce opportunities for person-to-person virus transmission.
- People at higher risk are encouraged to stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible. Higher-risk individuals include:
- People 60 and older.
- People with underlying health conditions including heart disease lung disease or diabetes.
- People with weakened immune systems.
- Social distancing is encouraged. This means attempting to remain six feet away from other people and avoiding handshaking and other unnecessary contact.
- Nonessential travel for all individuals is discouraged. Those planning trips should weigh the benefits of going versus not going.
- People are encouraged to work remotely if possible. Kenosha County is evaluating what services can be provided by county employees working from home, and businesses are encouraged to do the same.
Dr. Jen Freiheit, director of the Kenosha County Division of Health, said her staff is now working in incident command mode, actively responding to local reports and information coming from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is not media hype. This is not government overreacting,” Freiheit said, of the declaration of emergency and its accompanying guidelines. “This is your Kenosha County government being proactive, being preventative, on behalf of the health and safety of our residents.”
OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19
When to seek medical evaluation and advice:
- If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your healthcare provider or your regular doctor. Do not go to the emergency room; call ahead to let them know you need to come in with these symptoms and do not sit in the waiting room. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs.
- If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.
In addition to the recommendations listed above, the public can help:
- Stay home when sick.
- Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including handwashing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Stay six feet away from people who are ill, especially if you are 60 and older or have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.
- Stay informed. Information is changing frequently.
- Do not shake hands with anyone.
For additional information, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease information page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov and the state health department’s website at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm.
The Kenosha County Division of Health continues to monitor the 2019 coronavirus very closely for further developments to ensure that public health is safeguarded.
For further updates, follow the Kenosha County Division of Health on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KenoshaCountyHealth.