The Kenosha County Division of Health is strongly urging individuals and businesses to comply with the statewide public health emergency order that takes effect Thursday, Oct. 8, Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit said today.
The order by Gov. Tony Evers limits public gatherings, prohibiting groups larger than 25 percent of an indoor space’s occupancy limit, as determined by the local municipality.
It applies to indoor spaces that are accessible to the general public, such as stores, restaurants, bars, fitness facilities, and other businesses. It does not apply to outdoor spaces or private gatherings in private residences, although Freiheit urges the public to still be vigilant in the use of social distancing and masking in these situations.
Evers issued the order as Wisconsin last week experienced the third highest rate of new COVID-19 cases and the third highest total of new cases in the nation. It takes effect at 8 a.m. Thursday and ends Nov. 6 at midnight.
“Just as the Safer-at-Home Order played a significant role in lessening the growth of cases earlier this year, this new order will help us to keep COVID-19 under control in Kenosha County and across Wisconsin,” Freiheit said. “We have limited resources, in terms of our hospital capacity and health care workforce staffing. Doing all that we can to limit the spread of the virus will allow us to continue managing the flow of cases as effectively as possible.”
Freiheit said the order will also save lives, too many of which have already been lost to a preventable virus that remains without a vaccine and has limited therapy options.
“With increased spread in our community comes the heightened risk that our most vulnerable populations will get sick,” Freiheit said. “Complying with the statewide order is one more thing we can do to help protect one another.”
Freiheit noted that other states that have implemented similar restrictions in response to growing numbers of COVID-19 cases did see their numbers decrease.
“We all want to see a return to normalcy in our day-to-day lives,” Freiheit said, “but that will not be able to happen until we permanently bend the curve of cases in our county and our state.
“That’s why it’s so important to make some sacrifices now, so that we can save lives, prevent illness, and put our community on a sustainable path to recovery from this pandemic.”
For frequently updated information about COVID-19 cases in Kenosha County and details on measures people can take to protect themselves from the virus, please visit the Kenosha County COVID-19 Information Hub website at kenoshacounty.org/covid-19. A frequently updated list of COVID-19 testing sites in and around Kenosha County is also available at kenoshacounty.org/2058/COVID-19-Testing-Locations.