Three cases of corona­virus disease (COVID-19) were reported to the Three Lakes School District, which has resulted in the district  moving the junior high (grades 7 and 8) to remote learning with a return date of Thursday, Oct. 22. 

The positive COVID-19 cases include one student in grades 7-12, according to District Administrator Terri Maney.

“Grades 9-12 will remain open in our in-person learning model. Staff will remain in the building during this time,” said Maney. “We will continue to clean and sanitize all parts of the building as part of our regular preventative measures. We are taking these steps to help control the spread of COVID-19.”

In collaboration with county health departments, Maney said the district has also contacted students and staff who were identified as close contacts. As recommended by the local health department, close contacts are those who were within 6 feet of the individual for more than 15 minutes during the infectious period.

“We’d also like to clarify our notification process. First, we are only reporting cases confirmed by our local health departments. Sometimes, test results take several days — if not longer — to receive,” said Maney. “Because of this, staff members or students may have been quarantined — or have been out sick — long before we received a positive result and notified the public of that positive test result.”

Maney said all junior high athletics have been canceled during this period. 

“We all need to do our part to keep our students safe,” said Maney.

The Northland Pines and Phelps school districts remain with in-school learning, though some students (with parental approval) have elected to learn virtually.



Vilas deaths

Last Friday, the Vilas County Public Health Department reported the second and third deaths associated with COVID-19.

Tammi Boers, assistant director/deputy health officer for Vilas County, said the two individuals who died were in their 90s. 

“We extend our sympathies to their loved ones during their time of grieving,” said Boers last Friday.

The Vilas County Public Health Department has been notified of an additional 24 new people who tested positive for COVID-19 between last Wednesday and Friday. Boers said the individuals are self-isolating.  

“We continue to work on following up with close contacts,” said Boers. “You should assume that you will come in contact with COVID-19 whenever you interact with people outside of your household because of the continual widespread activity in our community.”

Boers said Vilas County has had 341 cases, including 136 active cases of COVID-19. Oneida County has had 714 positive cases, with 444 of those recovered. There have been five deaths in Oneida County related to COVID-19.

 

New gathering order

Meanwhile, Gov. Tony Evers declared an emergency order last week limiting public gatherings to no more than 25% of a room or building’s total occupancy. The directive will remain in effect until Nov. 6, and applies to any gatherings at locations that are open to the public such as stores, restaurants and other businesses that allow public entry as well as spaces with ticketed events. 

“We’re in a crisis right now and need to immediately change our behavior to save lives,” said Evers. “We are continuing to experience a surge in cases and many of our hospitals are overwhelmed, and I believe limiting indoor public gatherings will help slow the spread of this virus. Folks, we need your help and we need all Wisconsinites to work together during this difficult time. The sooner we get control of this virus, the sooner our economy, communities and state can bounce back.”

In late September, Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm extended the DHS face coverings order indoors until Nov. 21. 

“The unfortunate reality is this: the disease activity level of COVID-19 in Wisconsin is so high that going to a gathering puts you at very high risk of exposure,” said Palm. “We know gatherings are a key way this virus spreads so we must act to limit indoor gatherings to stop the spread, reduce illness and save lives.”

The DHS reported Friday that Wisconsin has 28,690 active cases, and a total of 1,440 deaths. The seven-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases was 2,346, up from 836 one month ago. 

According to the DHS Disease Activity dashboard and as of Sept. 30, 45 of Wisconsin counties meet the threshold of a very high disease activity level which means that there are more than 350 cases per 100,000 people in that county. All other counties reported high case activity levels.

“This means Wisconsinites should assume they will likely be exposed to the virus if they leave home, and should practice all safety precautions,” said Palm.

Wisconsinites should take the following steps to stay safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19:

• Stay home whenever possible. 

• Wear a mask. 

• Wash your hands frequently. 

• If you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, get tested. 

• Get the flu shot to help reduce the strain on health-care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Challenge misinformation, and talk to friends and family about the importance of these safety precautions. 

For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19.