Public health officials have reported a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases across Wisconsin. The trend was reflected in Barron County as 56 new cases were reported Monday, Oct. 12, from over the weekend.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 13, the total, ongoing case count was at 645 cases, including the 56 cases reported over the weekend and 14 new cases reported Tuesday, Oct, 13. As of Tuesday, there were 98 active cases, with six people currently hospitalized and 541 people having recovered. No new deaths were reported and remained at six.

A total of 117 positive cases and 692 negative tests were reported from Oct. 6 to Oct. 13, for a weekly percent positive rate of 14.5 percent. From Sept. 29 to Oct. 6, the rate was 22.1 percent, with 10.7 percent the week prior.

Barron County Public Health noted that as of, Oct. 12, the county was seeing “community spread,” (10–24 cases per 100,000 people) which was above “on track for containment” but below “accelerated spread” and “tipping point” for virus activity level severity.

“We need everyone’s help to slow the spread of this virus,” said health officer Laura Sauve. “We are seeing cases go out to bars and restaurants while sick or awaiting test results. People are ignoring the recommendations and it’s starting to take a toll on the communities and healthcare systems across the state. We need people to stay home and get tested when they feel sick, even if they think it’s just a cold or allergies. We need everyone to be following the guidelines and recommendations.”

Public health recommended people avoid all gatherings or limit the number of people and follow social distancing if gathering must occur, wear a mask when in public or when social distancing is not possible, stop unnecessary travel, work from home, refrain from eating in establishments (order takeout instead), wash your hands often, cover your coughs and get tested at any signs of illness.

“We need the community to work together to protect those most vulnerable, our schools, business and healthcare systems,” Sauve continued. “Only 18 percent of hospital beds in the state of Wisconsin are currently available. People get sick and hurt outside of COVID-19. We need to make sure our healthcare systems are available when our community needs them. We urge everyone to follow recommendations and help slow the spread.”

As of Oct. 12, statistics showed across eight age groups, 50–59 year olds accounted for 17.1 percent of the cases, followed by 20–29 year olds at 16 percent, 30–39 year olds at 15.1 percent, 40–49 year olds at 14.3 percent, 60–69 year olds at 13.5 percent, 10–19 year olds at 13 percent, 70-plus year olds at 8.1 percent and 0–9 year olds at 2.9 percent of the county’s cases. Males accounted for 52 percent of the cases and women accounted for 48 percent.

Over the past four weeks, Rice Lake had between 65–70 cases, followed by Cameron and Cumberland each reporting between 30–35 cases. Chetek and Barron each had 20 or more cases the past four weeks. The location of the cases are their city of residence and do not determine where they may have caught the virus.

Potential COVID-19

exposures at three locations

Three locations in Barron County may have had exposures to COVID-19, said Barron County Public Health this week.

At the following locations during the listed times, a person who had symptoms of COVID-19 but before their status was confirmed, was present.

• It’s About Time Bar, Dallas, on Oct. 3, from 1 p.m. to Oct. 4, 2 a.m.

• Lake 7 Theatre, Rice Lake, on Friday, Oct. 9, for the 9:30 p.m. showing of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”

• Mr. Bob’s, Rice Lake, Friday, on Oct. 9, from 11 p.m. to Saturday, Oct. 10, at 2 a.m.

If you were present at any of these locations during these times, you should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 during the next two weeks. If you have any of the symptoms, stay home and contact your local health care provider to get tested.

These notifications are made because there was the possibility of close contact with a confirmed case and contract tracers are not able to identify and individually notify everyone who was there.

The notification does not mean that the business did anything wrong or that they should be closed. All establishments were contacted before being listed and are given guidance on how to mitigate future risk to staff and customers.

Mask order upheld for now,

gathering limit challenged

In September, three men in Polk County sued Gov. Tony Evers to challenge his statewide mask order. The men alleged issuing multiple emergency orders for the same health crisis was improper and that Evers had overstepped his authority. They asked for a temporary injunction to stop the current mask order.

St. Croix County Judge R. Michael Waterman, who was assigned to the Polk County case, said Evers was acting within his authority to issue several orders and it was the state legislature’s prerogative—not the court’s in this case—to stop the current order. The injunction was denied, effectively upholding the mask order for now.

On Oct. 13, the Tavern League of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit in Sawyer County with the Sawyer County Tavern League and the Flambeau Forest Inn, against the state Department of Health Services and health officials Andrea Palm and Julia Lyons.

The Tavern League’s president, Chris Marsicano, said in a statement they were seeking an injunction to stop Palm’s emergency order #3, issued last week, which limited public spaces to 25 percent of full capacity. He said the order was another shutdown order which threatened financial ruin for many businesses and it was illegal because it was not properly issued with legislative oversight.

“Restaurants, taverns, bars and supper clubs did not cause this pandemic, but they are systematically facing bankruptcy, closure and economic ruin. Those of us left cannot survive a reduction of 75 percent of our customers proposed by Secretary-designee Palm,” Marsicano said, also alleging that the orders are not be effective.

A court order has not yet been issued related to the case, as of Oct. 13.

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