COVID-19: Moving forward in Lincoln County
COURTESY OF THE LINCOLN COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
LINCOLN COUNTY – The spread of COVID-19 throughout the communities in Wisconsin has been well documented.
In Lincoln County, no confirmed cases have been reported. It is important to remember that data can be limited for several reasons. People in Lincoln County have been doing a good job with the Safer at Home order and may have not been tested for COVID-19, or some people may not have experienced symptoms.
A confirmed case of COVID-19 is a person who tests positive for the disease via lab confirmation in collaboration with their health care provider’s determination. If a person is tested outside of Lincoln County, the lab report will still be sent to the Lincoln County Health Department because that is where the person lives. This is especially important to remember for people in rural Wisconsin where some may go for healthcare outside of the county.
The medical profession is learning more daily about this new virus and doing well to increase laboratory testing as much as possible.
The words “isolation” and “quarantine” are tools to prevent disease spread that have been a vital piece to public health work for many decades. These words are now commonplace in our language due to COVID-19.
Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
A person would need to be quarantined if exposed to COVID-19 for up to 14 days, and this makes the physical distancing measures to continue so important. The health department works closely with health care providers, labs and community members to closely monitor and remain in contact with those possibly exposed to prevent spread to others.
“While we do not have any cases, we are closely monitoring the situation and remain focused in our efforts to prevent the spread of infection in the community,” said Shelley Hersil, Health Officer, Lincoln County Health Department. “The number of confirmed cases in Wisconsin is still increasing. This reminds all of us about the importance of physical distancing and maintaining good hygiene to prevent the spread of disease.”
COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person by coming into close contact (about six feet or two arm lengths) with a person who has COVID-19. There are no approved medications, vaccinations or treatments to prevent COVID-19. The only way to avoid getting infected is by not being exposed, and this is why the extreme physical distancing measures have been put into place so far with the Safer at Home order.
Understandably, this is not a sustainable way for the community to continue on for a long time.
The Badger Bounce Back Plan recently introduced by Governor Evers is a way to start to very slowly increase services. Many measures are needed to do this including seeing a decline in persons becoming ill with respiratory diseases, being able to test everyone that needs a test, having strict disease follow up and strongly ensuring contacts of cases are quarantined properly, and having the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, as well as others who are caring for persons ill with COVID-19.
To be successful, this involves the cooperation of everyone.
By remaining six feet from others, the risk of getting COVID-19 is drastically less. As this is an extremely stressful time for our community, it is critical that we still keep the disease from spreading. Just because there are no confirmed cases at this moment does not mean that the disease cannot or will not spread in Lincoln County.
It cannot be strongly enough communicated that all residents should continue to stay six feet apart from others and clean hands and high touch surfaces often and well, even as some services start to open up more locally. This is essential to continue to do what is right for the health and safety of Lincoln County residents.