According to the daily update from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) website, the new total number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased by 128 cases since about this time yesterday, reaching 585 up from 457. Six deaths have also been confirmed due to the outbreak.

In a press release issued yesterday by DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, she explained the decision to effect the Safer at Home order was made by listening to the advice of state public health experts, who made it abundantly clear that residents are safer staying at home.

"Our state benefits from the experience of others who have come before us in this pandemic. Our experts are comparing our data to the Wuhan and Italy experiences to predict what is likely to happen here in Wisconsin," said Palm. “And if we continue on our current path without implementing Stay at Home to ‘flatten the curve,’ the models show us that we would likely have 22,000 Wisconsinites who are positive for COVID-19 by April 8, and an estimated 440 to 1,500 deaths. This means thousands of Wisconsinites would need hospitalization, and we would exceed our current hospital bed capacity.”

Although Vilas and Oneida counties continue to have no reported cases, residents should continue to exercise good personal hygiene including frequent, thorough hand washing, as well as social distancing of at least 6 feet and no direct physical contact. The Wisconsin DHS website stresses that younger people, particularly those who are 18 to 30 years old, aren’t immune to COVID-19. Anyone can contract the disease so it's important for everyone, including young and healthy people, to practice social distancing.

The Vilas County Board of Supervisors also reminds any visitors or second homeowners who have recently traveled to the area to immediately self-isolate for 14 days. Second homeowners also should stay at their full-time homes during this outbreak, as Vilas County has a very limited health-care infrastructure as well as a high percentage of senior citizens who are more susceptible to the disease.