Barron County Justice Center

Barron County Justice Center. 

The Barron County Department of Public Health and Barron County Office of Emergency Management have partnered to actively lead a countywide collaborative approach to pandemic preparedness and response.
 
"We are dedicated toward ongoing planning to ensure that we stay aware of the ever-changing needs that have been identified throughout our region and our state," said Mike Judy, director of emergency services from Barron County.
 
"Our planning efforts are proactive and progressive, and designed to quickly and efficiently meet the needs of our community. We've planned for worst case scenarios and we've created local response initiatives based upon global best-practices. 
 
"We are also engaged with our local planning partners to ensure that we're responding in a unified approach, and being aggressive toward the known threats this pandemic brings," Judy said. "It is imperative to understand that conditions and recommendations are rapidly changing; and we have you, our community, and our responders, as our top priority." 

The following Situation Report is an update of actions being taken in response to the pandemic in Barron County.

Overview

Data suggests that symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell and loss of taste.

The number of people getting sick with COVID-19 continues to grow across the State and the Nation. Social distancing is the only way to slow the spread, this means staying home as much as possible. If you must go out, keep at least 6 feet apart from others and wash your hands often.

Close contact increases your risk for COVID-19, including: 1) Being within approximately 6 feet of an individual with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time. 2) Having direct contact with body fluids (such as blood, phlegm, and respiratory droplets) from an individual with COVID-19.

Public Update

> The Wisconsin Department of Health & Human Services is estimating that we will begin our COVID peak between April 23rd and May 23rd. Once the peak is reached, it is recommended to continue social distancing for 2-3 more months. It is also projected that the peak wave will last for several weeks/months.

> Throughout Wisconsin, COVID tests have been processed for 31,424 negative patients, 2,885 positive patients, 843 (29%) hospitalizations, and 111 deaths.

> In Barron County, COVID tests have been processed for 311 negative patients, 5 positive patients, 0 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths. The five positive residents are safely isolating at home under close coordination with the Barron County Department of Public Health. 

> Positive cases in neighboring counties include 3 in Rusk County, 5 in Dunn County, 16 in Chippewa County, 2 in Polk County, 0 in Washburn County, and 1 in Sawyer County.

> 14 labs are now processing COVID tests in Wisconsin, with a daily capacity of 3,600 tests.

> Barron County 911 Dispatchers are actively screening all callers reporting respiratory illnesses and/or flu-like symptoms, and relaying that information to all responding personnel so that proper PPE can be worn prior to making contact with the patient.

Barron County Sheriff’s Department ~ Office of Emergency Management

> The CDC recommends that everyone use a cloth face covering in community settings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Children under the age of 2 and those with difficulty breathing should not use a cloth face covering.

> Barron County Public Health and Barron County Emergency Management are preparing to open a COVID Triage Facility for patients experiencing minor symptoms. With the goal of reducing the number of minor and walking-well patients presenting to local emergency rooms, the triage facility is working toward having the capability to provide COVID testing, basic respiratory care (oxygen, nebulizers, etc), and IV fluids.

> Patients requiring additional and/or advanced medical intervention will be directed to local hospitals. 

> The threshold for opening the triage facility is when local healthcare facilities start to approach surge capacity.

> It is currently being discussed if this facility would be available for residents/patients from surrounding counties (i.e. being a regional facility). More information will be published when this determination is made.

> If local hospitals reach surge capacity and start to become overwhelmed, the Barron County Alternate Care Center (ACC) will also be opened. This facility was designed Barron County Alternate Care Center will be a pre-hospital location that is designed to offer residents a resource and a central location for medical guidance and minor treatments.

> The facility was created with the goal to decrease the demands on our local healthcare facilities as we approach our peak.

> The details of this facility are fluctuating based on the local needs that arise, planning for this facility is continuous and will flex on where the demand is in a progressive approach.

> Positive patients that do not wish to return home to risk family members will be offered isolation facilities at no cost, by contacting Barron County Emergency Management.

> The CDC has set guidelines on when a person who tests positive for COVID-19 can be released from isolation. In order to be released, the following three things must happen:

• 1) It must be at least 7 days since the symptoms started, and

• 2) Must be fever free without using fever reducing medications for 72 hours, and

• 3) Symptoms of acute illness, such as cough or fatigue, must be improving.

> Regarding bulk supply reception, large supply orders will be received in Barron and packaged into smaller loads to be delivered to several facilities throughout the county which have been reserved as local Points of Distribution if needed. Several local distribution points are on standby and a master list of all available facilities has been updated.

> On Saturday, April 4, at 3:25 p.m. Gov. Evers announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster-level funding for the state of Wisconsin to reimburse state & local governments for emergency protective measures taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the program, FEMA will pay 75 percent of eligible costs and State and local agencies will cover the remaining 25 percent. For Barron County, reimbursement should be closer to 100%.

Barron County Sheriff’s Department ~ Office of Emergency Management

Law Enforcement Update

> Protect yourself from exposure: Surgical masks should be worn on all COVID patient contact calls. Patient coughing is considered low-risk to responders.

> N95 masks should only be worn if aerosolized procedures are being used such as suctioning, nebulizers, inserting an airway tube, CPR. For all other patients, surgical masks provide the same level of protection.

> Surgical masks have been approved for Extended Use. Per the CDC, surgical facemasks should not be discarded after single patient contact unless the mask is soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through.

> Responders should leave patient care area if they need to remove the facemask. Facemasks should be carefully folded so that the outer surface is held inward and against itself to reduce contact with the outer surface during storage. The folded mask can be stored between uses in a clean sealable paper bag or breathable container.

> As a reminder, full PPE (masks, gowns, eye protection, etc) should only be worn when responding to suspected or confirmed COVID patients.

> Practice proper hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available and illicit drugs are NOT suspected to be present, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

> Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.

>If close contact occurred during apprehension:

• Clean and disinfect duty belt and gear prior to reuse using a household cleaning spray or wipe.

• Follow standard operating procedures for containing and laundering clothes. Avoid shaking the clothes. For law enforcement personnel performing daily routine activities, the immediate health risk is considered low.

> Patrol officers experiencing flu-like symptoms, remember that symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure; and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Officers with these symptoms should isolate at home and 7 days after experiencing the onset of symptoms. If the officer is experiencing symptoms other than these listed, normal sick time and procedures can be used. Officers experiencing respiratory symptoms should not be working and should meet ALL of the following three requirements before returning to work:

• Should isolate at home for 7 days after onset of symptoms.

• Symptoms must be improving

• Must be fever-free for 72 hours

> If an officer tests positive, contact Emergency Management immediately and the officer will be offered an isolation room so he/she doesn’t have to go back home to risk family members.

> Barron County law enforcement agencies have been issued a small initial amount of PPE. If additional PPE is needed, contact Michael.Judy@co.barron.wi.us.

Barron County Sheriff’s Department ~ Office of Emergency Management

Fire/EMS Update

> Emergency Management has purchased approximately $50,000 in response supplies and equipment in preparation for the anticipated increase in infectious patients in Barron County. 

> The Wisconsin Mortuary Task Force has National Guard teams trained and ready to deploy to assist Coroners and Medical Examiners if the need arises. Deployment requests should go through emergency management.

> Barron County fire departments have been issued a small amount of PPE until larger orders of supplies are delivered. Additional PPE can be requested by contacting Michael.Judy@co.barron.wi.us.

> Protect yourself from exposure:

• Surgical masks should be worn on all patient contact calls. Patient coughing is considered low-risk to responders.

• N95 masks should only be worn if aerosolized procedures are being used such as suctioning, nebulizers, inserting an airway tube, CPR). For all other patients, surgical masks provide the same level of protection.

> Surgical masks have been approved for Extended Use. Per the CDC, surgical facemasks should not be discarded after single patient contact unless the mask is soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through.

> Responders should leave patient care area if they need to remove the facemask. Facemasks should be carefully folded so that the outer surface is held inward and against itself to reduce contact with the outer surface during storage. The folded mask can be stored between uses in a clean sealable paper bag or breathable container.

> As a reminder, full PPE (masks, gowns, eye protection, etc) should only be worn when responding to suspected or confirmed COVID patients.

> Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available and illicit drugs are NOT suspected to be present, use an alcoholbased hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

> Emergency Management is coordinating PPE distribution for all Law, Fire, EMS, Hospital, Long-Term Care Facilities, etc. Current PPE stock includes N95 masks, surgical masks, isolation gowns, eye protection, tyvex suits, and nitrile gloves. Requests for PPE from facilities should be sent to Michael.Judy@co.barron.wi.us for fulfillment and distribution. 

> At this time, first responder assistance for field-based community support has not been requested. Responders are asked to prepare their families to be self-sufficient for an extended amount of time, in the event that responders are needed to assist with community-based public support such as field hospitals, supply distribution, etc.

> The American Red Cross is continuing to support our disaster mission, and has modified how they respond to local fires in our community. Red Cross now has a virtual team available 24/7 to assist individuals and families effected by fire. Follow-up with clients will be conducted remotely and assistance being issued through FedEx, so assistance should be received within 24-48 hours. Red Cross can be reached at their 24/7 number, or by contacting Barron County Emergency Management 

Barron County Sheriff’s Department ~ Office of Emergency Management

Healthcare Update

> The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released changes to the COVID Reporting Requirements for Hospitals. Covid remains a Category 1 reportable condition, which means health care providers must report confirmed or suspected cases to the Department of Health Services (DHS) within 24 hours of detection. A memo from State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers outlines new reporting requirements and allows for waivers of some of the mechanisms by which COVID should be reported to local health departments.

> Hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID are now required to be reported to DHS.

> DHS is now waiving the requirement for notifying local health departments by telephone of suspected and confirmed cases. Cases should be reported electronically through the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS).

> EMResource is the system being used by the state to collect information regarding hospital bed occupancy, ventilators, and PPE each day.

> Emergency Management is coordinating PPE requests and distribution to Law, Fire, EMS, Hospital, Long-Term Care Facilities, etc. Current PPE supplies includes N95 masks, surgical masks, isolation gowns, eye protection, tyvex suits, and nitrile gloves. Requests from facilities for PPE should be sent to emergency management at Michael.Judy@co.barron.wi.us for fulfillment, tracking, and distribution.

> Per the DHS Division of Quality Assurance - Assisted Living providers and stakeholders are invited to attend biweekly Assited Living Forums. During these online meetings, the Bureau of Assisted Living will provide updates and continue to answer questions relared to COVID. The sessions will run from 10:00am to 11:00am each week on Tuesday and Thursday until further notice. A notification was sent via the Assisted Living Forum Listserv.

> The Wisconsin Mortuary Task Force has National Guard teams available to deploy to assist Coroners and Medical Examiners if the need arises. Deployment requests should go through emergency management.

> To relieve area hospital surge capacity, heated 10'x20' tents with quiet-run generators have been purchased to be setup at the discretion of local hospitals. Equipment is still being shipped and will only be provided if requested from hospitals. 

> To assist with lodging needs, several hotels in Barron County have blocked a section of their rooms for healthcare workers that are unable to go home between shifts. Current capacity is approximately 500 workers. Lodging costs MAY be covered by emergency management, once confirmation is received from the state. Please contact emergency management for accommodation requests.

Additional SitReps will be published on an as needed basis.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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