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Privacy laws prevent the disclosure of protected health information. Individually identifiable information (e.g., name, address, phone number, or email) of individuals infected with or exposed to COVID-19 may not be disclosed to the public or media.
As a result, Door County must be careful when communicating the status of specific COVID-19 cases with the public or media. We may disclose aggregate information about the number of individuals infected with or exposed to COVID-19, but must be careful about revealing information about how the patient was exposed to COVID-19 or general information about where the individual lives, as this may allow the public or media to identify the individual through publicly available sources.
Some health departments have elected to map out individual cases or provide zip codes, age ranges, and more. We are not able to give out that level of demographic information. Doing so, because Door County’s population and number of cases is small, would run the very real risk of allowing the public or media to identify the individual.
We are able to disclose that the positive cases in Door County are not concentrated in any one locality. Rather, they are scattered throughout the county.
We appreciate that everyone wants as much information as possible. Please understand that we must use our professional judgment to determine how much information may be disclosed under the applicable privacy laws.We need to all continue to follow Governor Evers’ Safer at Home guidelines to stop the spread of COVID.
New guidelines as of April 6, 2020 from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WI Department of Health Services (DHS) include the recommendation that there may be a benefit to reducing asymptomatic transmission and reinforcing physical distancing from the use of face covers.
It is now recommended that everyone wear a face mask at all times when in public while still while maintaining physical distancing.
Wearing a cloth face cover may be beneficial as it may help to protect others from germs you may be spreading without knowing it. It does not protect you from others who are not wearing a face masks and does NOT reduce the need for physical distancing and handwashing.
Face covers should be cloth and not surgical or N95 to reserve those critical supplies for medical personnel. A cloth face cover is material that covers the nose and mouth while being secured to the head with ties, straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. These coverings can be made by a variety of materials.
To wear a mask, keep these things in mind:
Keep in mind that a mask does not provide full protection. Therefore, remember to continue to do the following:
How should I clean my cloth mask?
Additional Information about Cloth Face Covers can be found here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/protect.html
Patients with COVID-19 can experience mild to severe respiratory illness.
If you are experiencing MILD or MODERATE symptoms, such as fever, runny nose or cough, do NOT go to the Emergency Room. Call your primary health care provider prior to going to a clinic.
Your primary care provider will evaluate if testing is necessary, and direct you to a facility that can conduct sampling.
This will ensure that healthcare professionals can prepare in advance should you need to receive testing or treatment. Seeking the most appropriate level of care will help protect the community and minimize exposure to other patients and staff.
If you have symptoms and feel you need testing call the Door County Medical Center COVID-19 Screening Hotline at 920-746-3700.
Because COVID-19 is widespread in Wisconsin, everyone should reduce their contact with others by staying home when possible, practicing physical distancing, and being alert for symptoms of COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. DHS recommends that all travel plans are canceled or postponed, including travel within the state.
Should you decide to travel despite these recommendations, some things to consider include:
"Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith"
"CDC offers the following general considerations to help communities of faith discern how best to practice their beliefs while keeping their staff and congregations safe. Millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life. For many faith traditions, gathering together for worship is at the heart of what it means to be a community of faith. But as Americans are now aware, gatherings present a risk for increasing spread of COVID-19 during this Public Health Emergency. CDC offers these suggestions for faith communities to consider and accept, reject, or modify, consistent with their own faith traditions, in the course of preparing to reconvene for in-person gatherings while still working to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
The health and safety of our community is our number one priority in Public Health. If there is a concern at your business that needs your attention, we will call to discuss it. For example, if an employee of yours tests positive andwas at work during their infectious period, we will discuss with them who would have been in close contact with them at work. This is done through an extensive interview process. If they are unable to identify everyone or do not have the contact numbers, we will call their employer for help with contact information. If an employee tests positive, but was not at work during their infectious period, Public Health will not call their employer because there is no concern for exposure within the workplace. You may have employees calling to say that they were in close contact with a confirmed case and they are being asked to stay home for 14 days from the last time they were in close contact with that person. In this situation where your employee is just a contact and has no symptoms, you would not be notified by Public Health because there is no concern for exposure at your workplace.
As this disease is evolving, new tests are being developed. Unfortunately, they are not yet proven to be reliable and theresults cannot be used on their own to diagnose or prove that someone is not infected with COVID-19. People developantibodies when their body’s immune system responds to an infection. These antibodies can be detected in blood. Apositive COVID-19 antibody test may be able to detect if someone has previously been or is currently infected with thevirus. What it cannot tell us is if the person is unable to transmit the virus any longer or if the person is immune to thevirus. A negative result does not indicate that a person has never had it because it may be too early in the infection fortheir body to have made antibodies yet. Until the validity of these test can be proven, they should not be used fordiagnosis or to allow people to return to work, and do not negate the need for local Public Health investigation andintervention.
For more information, please visit: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIDHS/bulletins/2897e5f
If an employee is ill with a fever, cough, shortness of breath or symptoms of illness the employee should stay home or be sent home and contact their healthcare provider. Individuals who have symptoms should be tested for COVID-19. They may contact the Door County Medical Center COVID Screening hotline at 920-746-3700. Testing may be billed to their insurance when available. They will not be charged for testing, regardless of insurance status.
If an employee is tested for COVID-19 they need to isolate at home and not have any contact with anyone until the results have been reported.
If the results are negative, Public Health suggests that employees should not return to work until they are symptom free for at least 24 hours. If the results are positive, the employee will be contacted by Public Health. The employee will need to stay isolated at home for a minimum of 10 days after symptoms started and have three days without fever and improvement of symptoms.
Public Health will contact employers when there is a risk that employees or others were exposed, and we need the cooperation of the employer to locate those individuals.
If there are employees who have had close contact with the confirmed COVID-19 case, the exposed individual will need to stay home, and quarantine for 14 days from the last time they had close contact with the confirmed case. Even if the exposed individual is tested and it is negative, they will still need to finish the14 day quarantine.
Your business can make a difference in our community by continuing to promote hand washing, social distancing, and allowing and encouraging sick individuals to stay home.
According to the Department of Health Services (DHS), all international travelers arriving into the U.S. should stay home for 14 days after their arrival. At home, they are expected to monitor their health and practice physical distancing. To protect the health of others, these travelers should not to go to work or school for 14 days.
The state is using data to make recommendations that protect the health and safety of Wisconsinites.Badger Bounce Back is Wisconsin’s plan to reopen and contains the recommendations of our public health experts. Based on the science of the virus and public health practices, a gradual, phased process continues to be the safest way to open Wisconsin.
COVID-19 remains very contagious and our data and metrics (below) tell us that we should continue to limit our interactions with others as much as possible to protect ourselves and our communities and reduce the spread of COVID-19. In order to safely reopen Wisconsin, we continue to work with our partners across the state to increase our testing and expand our contact tracing. We are also working with local leaders to help ensure access to safe isolation, shore up our hospital capacity, and monitor the prevalence of COVID-19. We will continue to maintain and update the statewide gating criteria and provide consistent localized data for use in local decision-making for reopening plans.
Click here to see current status of Wisconsin in meeting the Badge Bounce Back gating criteria.
The next generation of Badger Bounce Back: Determining COVID-19 activity level in our local communities
COVID-19: Activity Level Door County
Large group gatherings of any size are not recommended at this time.
Follow social distancing, cloth face coverings and sanitation guidelines when in public settings and consider the following guidance for planning, scheduling or attending events or gatherings.
Risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows:
The purpose of these guidelines is to limit the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads through person-to-person contact, or (less likely) by contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus. People infected with COVID-19 may become symptomatic anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. Limiting the number of people gathered in one area limits the spread of disease, reduces the number of people who become severely ill and protects our health care system.
These guidelines apply to all public and private gatherings. A “gathering” is any event that brings together people in a single room, or space at the same time such as auditoriums, stadiums, large conference rooms, meeting halls or any other indoor or outdoor space. There is no evidence to date that demonstrates that outdoor gatherings are completely safe. The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading.
The impact of a pandemic—such as that presented by COVID-19—can be best managed through limiting exposure to the virus. This imperative requires public health to recommend that all citizens and businesses limit the situations where the virus can spread rapidly
By “social distancing,” and not offering or attending events that bring large groups of people together, we will save lives, particularly of those most vulnerable to the virus, such as older residents.
CDC Considerations for Events and Gatherings
Can we go to the beach?
As summer approaches, many Wisconsinites are excited to spend time at our state’s many beaches. We are providing guidance to help you enjoy beaches while still protecting yourself from COVID-19. However, if beach operators cannot maintain a safe environment by ensuring physical distancing among beachgoers, DHS recommends that the beach close to the public.
General Recommendations for the Public
• If you decide to visit a beach, keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others, including on the beach, in the parking lot, and in the water.
• Do not wear a mask in the water. Continue to wear a mask when physical distancing is difficult while outside of the water.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water.
• Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after putting on sunscreen, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
• Avoid using a public rest room. Keep beach visits short enough and close enough to home so that you won’t need a bathroom break.
• Change into your swimsuit before leaving home. • Plan ahead in case you need to use a public bathroom.
• Bring hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipe
• Close the toilet lid before flushing
• Air dryers or paper towel dispensers may be unavailable; bring disposable towels for drying hands if needed
• There is more risk for catching or spreading COVID-19 while traveling. If you choose to visit a beach, do so in your local community.
Can I have a rummage sale?
You and your community should cancel or postpone all in-person yard and rummage sales. It is not safe to go to public gatherings, such as yard or rummage sales, because COVID-19 is still spreading in Wisconsin. You should avoid all in-person gatherings with people who are not a part of your home. This applies to events like yard, garage, or rummage sales. Some alternatives to a traditional garage sale include, holding a no-contact yard or rummage sale by posting and selling items using a virtual community, garage sale apps, or online sales platform. These options allow sellers to sell items without physical contact with the buyer. You should consider using online payments or outdoor pickup without any close contact.
The best way to stay safe is to stay home and limit outings to essential trips only. There are other, safer, options compared to camping. You can try: backyard camping, virtual tours of national parks, or building blanket forts indoors.
Planning and Preparing
• Plan to stay local. Camp in your own community. Buy supplies and groceries in your own area to bring with you. Don’t go to stores near the campsite to get supplies. Measures like these helps to reduce the possibility that you spread COVID-19 to other areas, especially ones with fewer resources, doctors, or hospitals.
• Minimize trips away from your campground. Bring extra supplies with you such as sunscreen, insect repellent, food, and toiletries.
• Keep camping groups limited to people that you live with. If camping with others who don’t live with you, set up camp with physical distancing in mind and plan for activities that will allow you to maintain 6 feet or more of physical distance from those whom you don’t live with.
• Plan for a "Leave No Trace" camping experience. Assume garbage and recycling bins are not provided. Visitors are asked to take all of their garbage, recyclables, and other waste with them when they leave.
• Check the weather ahead of time so you can be sure to bring all the camping equipment you will need to be safe.
• If you or anyone in your group feels sick or believes they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, do not visit a campground.
Public Pools, Splash Pads and Water Parks
At this time, the Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends that all public pools, splash pads, and water parks remain closed due to the spread of COVID-19. Until we meet the benchmarks established in the roadmap to reopen Wisconsin, it is not safe to bring together groups of individuals that are not part of a single household or living unit into an environment where sustained and close contact could occur. You can track the state’s progress on these benchmarks on the DHS COVID-19 Response website. This is a rapidly evolving situation, but it is unlikely that this recommendation would be changed unless significant progress in meeting gating criteria are met. DHS understands that there are many positive benefits from visiting public pools, splash pads, and water parks. While it isn’t the same, there are other fun outdoor activities individuals and families can participate in while waiting for it to be safe to return to pools and water parks. Families or households can still enjoy bike rides, walks, and other outdoor physical activities that allow for safe physical distancing.
What is contact tracing?Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.
Will my information be kept private?
All aspects of case investigation and contact tracing must be voluntary, confidential, and culturally appropriate. Efforts to locate and communicate with clients and close contacts must be carried out in a manner that preserves the confidentiality and privacy of all involved. This includes never revealing the name of the client to a close contact unless permission has been given (preferably in writing), and not giving confidential information to third parties (e.g., roommates, neighbors, family members).
Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves
• Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone with whom they had close contact during the time they may have been infectious,
• Notifying contacts of their potential exposure,
• Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, ( I switched places of the monitoring bullet and the referring bullet)
• Referring contacts for testing (if symptomatic or at the end of their 14 day quarantine, if requested), and
• Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period.
To prevent the further spread of disease, COVID-19 contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19. Contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for symptoms of COVID-19.
What happens during contact tracing?
Generally, contact tracing includes the following steps:
• Case investigation: Public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the time when they may have been infectious.
• Contact tracing: Public health staff begin contact tracing by notifying exposed individuals (contacts) of their potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible, not revealing the infected patient’s identity.
• Contact support: Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to help them understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, and how to monitor themselves for illness. In addition, they are informed of the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they do not feel ill.
• Self-quarantine: Contacts are encouraged to stay home, monitor their health, and maintain social distance (at least 6 feet) from others until 14 days after their last exposure to the infected patient, in case they also become ill.
For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.
What can a person diagnosed with COVID-19 expect to happen during contact tracing?
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, a case investigator from the health department may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious and able to spread COVID-19 to others. You will also be asked to stay at home and self-isolate, if you are not doing so already.
• Your name will not be revealed to those you may have exposed, even if they ask.
• Self-isolation means staying at home in a specific room away from other people and pets, and using a separate bathroom, if possible.
• Self-isolation helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and can help keep your family, friends, neighbors, and others you may come in contact with healthy.
• If you need support or assistance while self-isolating, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.
Symptoms of COVID-19* can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your doctor or medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. If you need emergency medical attention, call 911 and tell them you are having COVID-19-like symptoms.
Seasonal residents are counted in our Door County numbers. If anyone that tests positive will be residing here, even for just the summer, they will be counted here. Tourists and brief visitors to our county are a little different depending on their situation. As their stay here is often minimal, when Public Health follows up with them, we may determine that their case should be transferred to the county or state in which they are returning to, instead of being counted toward our case count. In almost all cases like this, we will still conduct contact tracing and determine who may have be in close contact with the positive within our county borders.