LCHD: Lincoln County’s COVID-19 activity level ‘critically high’; ICUs at 90% of region hospitals at peak capacity
For the Tomahawk Leader
LINCOLN COUNTY – The Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) on Wednesday, Oct. 20 said Lincoln County has reached “critically high” COVID-19 activity level and that the intensive care units (ICUs) at 90% of hospitals in the northcentral Wisconsin region are at peak capacity.
In a release, LCHD said that between Sept. 15 and Wednesday, Oct. 13, the county saw 35% of its 1,327 COVID-19 tests come back positive, resulting in 468 new cases. Of the newly-reported positive cases, 17% of the individuals were vaccinated.
No deaths were reported, and 11 people were hospitalized within that timeframe.
13,441 Lincoln County residents (48.7%) had completed a COVID-19 vaccine series as of Wednesday, Oct. 13, LCHD said.
LCHD stated that it continues to advise quarantine as “an effective measure for preventing further spread of COVID-19,” noting that the quarantine standards it follows are “set by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) through guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which are described in the Science Brief: Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing.”
The department said it is in weekly conversations with DHS “to review the current policies and effectiveness around quarantine and isolation for COVID-19” set by DHS.
“Local health departments are required by DHS Chapter 252 and DHS Chapter 145 to prevent and control the spread of disease,” DHS stated.
In the release, LCHD provided quarantine guidance for unvaccinated and vaccinated Lincoln County residents.
LCHD said all Lincoln County residents who are unvaccinated and don’t have symptoms “are required to follow the minimum requirements of the Lincoln County Health Department’s quarantine order.”
“Minimum quarantine requirements allow individuals who do not have symptoms to end their quarantine on day seven with a negative test (PCR or antigen) collected on day six or seven,” LCHD stated. “Individuals who do not have symptoms and choose not to get tested can be released from quarantine after day 10. A 14-day quarantine remains best practice.”
LCHD said that in order to qualify for a shortened quarantine, an individual “must be able to monitor symptoms the entire 14 days, physically distance from people, avoid gatherings and wear a face covering.”
“If you cannot do those things, you must quarantine the full 14 days,” LCHD stated. “It’s important to be aware that employers, organizations or schools might have a stricter policy or state requirements that requires the full 14 days.”
There are options to exempt students from quarantine in the school setting, LCHD noted.
“In the K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were within three to six feet of an infected student if both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks, and other school prevention strategies were in place,” LCHD stated.
Unvaccinated residents diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 90 days
LCHD said all Lincoln County residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 90 days, with no symptoms, are exempt from quarantine.
“However, it is recommended they get tested three to five days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor spaces for 14 days, or until they receive a negative test result,” LCHD stated.
All Lincoln County residents who are fully vaccinated (14 days after receiving the last required dose in a vaccine series) and show no symptoms are exempt from quarantine, LCHD said, noting that the department recommends they get tested three to five days after exposure and wear a mask in public indoor spaces for 14 days, or until they receive a negative test result.
LCHD providing info online
For more information about LCHD’s programs and services, visit www.lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com or find LCHD on Facebook.