Vilas County’s active Covid cases leaped to 787, which Vilas County Public Health Director Laurel Dreger termed “critically high” in a report to the Vilas County Public Health Board last week.

The county has now seen 80 deaths from the disease as of Jan. 21.

“So far we’ve had a total of 3,667 recovered cases out of 4,476 positive cases, and we’ve had 19,179 tested.” said Dreger.

The recent holiday and New Year’s period resulted in the high increase with almost all cases being of the highly communicable Omicron variant. Whole families have been infected with sickness lasting from three to five days.

Dreger indicated that Vilas County had 14,542 (65%) residents who have received at least one vaccination dose and 13,511 (60.4%) who have completed the vaccine series.

Asked about the changing isolation recommendations, Dreger said this was “absolutely the worst time to make changes — just after Christmas — to five days if positive but showing no symptoms, when schools are keeping with the 10-day isolation period.”

Documenting persons who may violate the five-day isolation requirement would be difficult, but Dreger said she felt they had the authority to get a court order.

Dreger surveyed board members as to how her department should do public vaccination clinics saying, ?“We signed up to do testing but we need to determine how we could do it outside either through the sheriff’s department sally-port or at our front entrance.”

Board member Ron Kressin strongly supported more testing opportunities and the board adopted a motion supporting testing by the public health department with a location to be determined.