COVID-19 Update

covid-header

4/2/2020 UPDATE: 

Lakeland Health Care Center is continuing to offer exceptional quality care to our residents amidst this pandemic. As such, we have limited the number of admissions being made to our facility for the duration of the "Safer at Home" order. It is important that, as a Health Care Center, we provide appropriate screening for all potential residents to make sure that we reduce the level of exposure to our current residents. Increased screening helps our community by freeing up hospital beds for those directly impacted by the Coronavirus.

In order to ensure the health and well-being of our residents, we have implemented a variety of new protocols that include restricting admissions to exclude people with respiratory illnesses, unless they have tested negative for COVID-19. To reduce the risk to our other residents, all new residents will remain under isolation protocols for 7 days following admission or going out to an appointment. In addition to taking care of the physical health of our residents, we continue to provide programming to meet their spiritual and social needs. This week, our staff are hosting a spirit week to bring some Spring into the air. Make sure to ask about our fun dress code and our activities including a Grill Out for "Opening Day - Not at the Ball Park". Also, LHCC is participating in HAPPY HEART HUNTING. Please drop off hearts to be displayed for your loved ones & our residents. Check out Happy Heart Hunt on Facebook for more information.

Thank you, 
Liz Aldred - Walworth County Superintendent

3/30/2020 UPDATE:

Walworth County currently has 6 laboratory confirmed cases of the disease as of 3/29/2020.

Number of Laboratory Confirmed Cases

Travel Associated (Domestic): 2

Close Contact of Confirmed Case: 1

Community Transmission: 3

View the most current information at: https://www.co.walworth.wi.us/856/COVID-19

Find Wisconsin information here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm

Key Updates:

Elections

· The Wisconsin Elections Committee has release guidance for municipal clerks on providing a safe and healthy environment for voting.

o View the guidance here: https://elections.wi.gov/node/6787

o The WEC is also designing a webinar for clerks to use to train poll workers, working on hosting a live Q&A session for clerks to ask questions, and developing videos for Election Day process for training purposes

Testing

· Testing resources continue to be limited in Wisconsin. To try and conserve resources many hospitals have limited who may be tested to those requiring hospitalization, residents of long term care facilities, and health care workers. As more tests are approved this criteria may expand.

· Messaging: You don’t need a test to know what to do and testing does not change treatment. If you are symptomatic stay home until at least 7 days have passed since symptoms started, you have been fever free for at least 72 hours without the use of medication, and your other symptoms have improved. If your symptoms do not improve or worsen call your health care provider.

Personal Protective Equipment

· Strategic national stockpile resources continue to be distributed to identified entities. DHS is currently evaluating the last request that was processed and identifying allocations.

· DHS is working on procuring and shipping out PPE for law enforcement entities in coordination with Wisconsin Emergency Management.

· Non-essential workers should not expect to receive additional PPE at this time.

· Strategies need to continue to focus around conserving PPE as it is unknown when additional PPE will be released.

2-1-1 Here to Help

· Please continue to direct individuals with questions about COVID-19 and the Safer at Home or other executive orders to call 2-1-1. This is a service operated by the United Way for all of Wisconsin. They can help answer general questions and triage calls. This will in turn keep our public health and dispatch lines free.

o https://www.impactinc.org/impact-2-1-1/covid-19-coronavirus/

Volunteer Registry

· Individuals wishing to help public health in the future by being a volunteer can register through the Wisconsin Emergency Volunteer Registry. Individuals who register through this link receive a background check and have the option to then be called on to assist with any number of emergencies across Wisconsin.

o https://weavrwi.org/


3/24/2020 UPDATE:

Walworth County currently has three laboratory confirmed cases of the disease as of 3/22/2020. One case is associated with domestic travel. Two of the cases are associated with community spread of the illness.

Avoiding unnecessary time in public locations is the best thing you can do to protect the most vulnerable in our county. We need to maintain a very slow and controlled spread of disease in order to not overwhelm our health care system. The best thing you can do is to stay home whenever possible. Continue to stay home when sick, wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching your face to help limit transmission.

Most up to date information on the status in Walworth County: https://www.co.walworth.wi.us/856/COVID-19

 Key Points:

· Messaging is beginning to shift away from a focus on being tested to “Stay Home. Save Lives.” It will take the whole community limiting public interactions in order to keep the most vulnerable in our population safe.

o Find the White House’s 15 days to Slow the Spread Info here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf

· Rapid result testing has been tiered to prioritize testing for the most vulnerable and health care workers. Individuals who do not fall into a high priority group will not receive test results within 48 hours. Some labs are reporting a delay in test results of up to 16 days. Public Health does not have any control over how quickly results are reported.

· Governor Evers is expected to issue a “Safer at Home” order closing non-essential businesses effective tomorrow. More details are expected later today.

· Do it yourself masks for health care workers have surfaced on social media. Attached please find a very well written briefing from our partners in Washington Ozaukee Public Health on the risks associated with homemade masks.

· Data is beginning to suggest that individuals who have COVID-19 and develop symptoms may be able to transmit the virus a few days prior to the onset of symptoms. However, the most virus spreads while an individual is symptomatic. For this reason it is important to stay home when you are sick and wash your hands frequently. Even mild symptoms can spread the virus.

o Info on how the virus spreads from CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html

· Many additional states have been identified with community transmission. Find the list at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 Stay Up to Date:

· Situation Briefs

o Global: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

o U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

o WI: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm

Additional guidance on a variety of topics is available at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm

CDC has updated information sections available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html


3/23/2020 UPDATE:

As you are aware, Lakeland Health Care Center is following the direction of the Department of Health Services and the CDC and has drastically reduced the access for non-essential medical personnel into the facility over the past few weeks. We know that this separation has been difficult on both our families and our residents. We appreciate the support that we have received from our families and the community and are striving to make the best of this situation.

Our therapeutic recreation (TR) department has created a variety of opportunities for our residents to continue to be able to socialize while maintaining necessary social distancing. Our therapeutic recreation staff have updated our traditional bingo game to "hallway bingo". By inviting residents to sit in their doorways, which maintains the recommended six feet between each person, we are able to enjoy at least one of our favorite activities. Staff are actively creating adaptations for other activities as well.

In order to help our families stay connected, our therapeutic recreation staff are also making FaceTime video chats available to assist families in connecting to their loved ones. Please feel free to contact us to arrange a video chat on your apple device.

Thank you, 
Liz Aldred - Walworth County Superintendent

3/12/2020 UPDATE: 

Walworth County Public Health is actively monitoring disease status 24/7 and is in frequent contact with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. We routinely control the spread of communicable disease and have all procedures in place necessary to respond to this disease. Walworth County currently individuals being tested for the disease but has zero confirmed cases of the disease at the time of this update.

With the expanded availability of testing it is likely that we will continue to see an increase in the number of cases identified throughout the US. The most important key to stopping the spread of disease remains staying home when you are sick. Continue to wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face. Individuals over age 60 and with coexisting conditions currently appear to be the most severely impacted by the disease. Symptoms of illness are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Call your medical provider if you develop symptoms. If you are symptomatic and seek care, please notify your provider, urgent care, or emergency department before arrival so they can prepare in advance and reduce the risk of transmission to patients and staff. Find out more about COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued travel guidelines for domestic travel. Find more information about travel guidelines here:

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/dph/memos/communicable-diseases/2020-04.pdf

We urge citizens to use their best judgement and avoid unnecessary travel to areas with high rates of the disease. The CDC has published a map and resource page on the number of cases across the US. Areas that have sustained community transmission represent a higher likelihood for citizens of coming into contact with the disease. It is recommended that people traveling to these areas self-quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms. View the map: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued guidance for the hosting of mass gatherings and events. Current guidelines look at event size, who will be attending the event, and the event venue. This document also contains guidance for schools. Please find the guidance here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/dph/memos/communicable-diseases/2020-05.pdf

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a large variety of resources available directly from CDC. Visit their page to find more information: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available. Remember this is a rapidly evolving situation and things change quickly.

Key Points for Officials:

· It is likely that COVID-19 will move into our jurisdiction at some time. It is important that we remain prepared, not panicked. Continue to focus on continuity of operations and general preparedness. Steps you would take to control the spread of flu are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Remind friends, family, and employees to stay home if sick.

· With no confirmed cases of disease in Walworth County, we are not currently closing public gatherings or events. Event organizers may use their discretion and the guidance provided by DHS to help inform their decision to cancel or reschedule events. Please distribute the message above the resources contained in it widely to your stakeholders.

· Adults over age 60 and with coexisting conditions are at the highest risk of complications from the illness. Organizations that work with these populations may want to take extra precautions to limit the spread of illness.

o Find more information about at risk populations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

o DHS hosted a webinar for Long Term Care facilities. View the webinar here: https://livestream.com/accounts/14059632/events/9034343/videos/202751527

Stay Up to Date:

· Situation Briefs

o Global: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

o U.S.: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html

· WI: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm


3/10/2020 UPDATE:

Walworth County Public Health is actively monitoring disease status 24/7 and is in frequent contact with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. We routinely control the spread of communicable disease and have all procedures in place necessary to respond to this disease. Risk status for COVID-19 in Walworth County is currently LOW. We have no confirmed cases of the disease as of 3/8/2020.

Two laboratories in Wisconsin are now able to test for the disease, increasing the number of people being tested throughout the state that meet testing criteria. This does not necessarily mean that there is more disease in the state but that people who previously would not have been able to be tested now qualify for testing. At this time we are not advising extra precaution be taken. To protect yourself continue to practice good hand washing, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you are sick. Flu and other respiratory diseases continue to circulate in our area.

Key Points:

· The situation continues to evolve rapidly.

· Many different respiratory viruses continue to circulate in our area.

· Walworth County Public Health is working to make sure we are speaking with “one voice” alongside other public health authorities by echoing the information distributed by CDC and DHS. In doing so we are mindful to not incite any undue panic while still providing useful information.

o WalCo HHS Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WalCoDHHS/

o Subscribe to HHS News Alerts: https://www.co.walworth.wi.us/civicalerts.aspx?CID=10&searchTerms=

· Risk of disease exposure continues to be travel outside of the US to a location with the disease circulating and/or confirmed close contact with an individual diagnosed with the disease.

· Preparedness measures now are the best way to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

· The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu (Wisconsin is still seeing high levels of flu activity at this time), and other common respiratory illnesses is through the practice of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs).

o https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/index.html

Information for Businesses/Employers

· Scam Alert

 There have been numerous reports of scams and phishing attempts related to COVID-19. Please make yourselves and your organization aware of these types of fraudulent activities. https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/3/5/21164745/coronavirus-phishing-email-scams

· Focus your preparedness efforts on general continuity of operations planning. How will your business continue to operate if a significant portion of your employees call in sick? How will you operate if the vendors you depend on to provide resources or support call in sick?

o Pandemic Planning Guides for Businesses, Law Enforcement, Correctional Facilities, and General How to Protect yourself information: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/archived/business-planning.html

· Guidance on Mass Gatherings (Hyperlink): The CDC has released guidance on hosting gatherings and community events.

Information for Healthcare:

· DHS announced on Friday 3/6/2020 that due to the rapidly expanding availability of testing they will no longer continue to report the number of people being tested for the disease and will instead only report the number of positive and negative test results.

· CDC updated their definition for patients under investigation last week and DHS anticipates they will likely update that definition again this week.

· CDC Updated Testing Guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html

· Privacy Reminders: Please remind staff that communicable diseases are confidential and staff should take extra precautions when discussing. Especially in a time when the community is at heightened alert maintaining patient privacy is a key part of preventing undue panic.

· COVID-19 is a disease that must be reported to Public Health. If a provider suspects the disease in a patient Public Health should be notified immediately.