Barron County Public Health has released a decision-making framework to help community organizations decide on the appropriate size of indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The model is based off Harvard Institute for Health’s Path to Success, a set of easy-to-follow measures that help communities determine their risk. A map shows if a county or state is on the green (lowest), yellow, orange or red (highest) risk level. The average number of new daily cases determines the risk level. For more information and specific measures:  https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/.

“The situation changes so often, we wanted something that community members could go to without having to wait for an update from us," said Health Officer Laura Sauve. “This allows organizations in the community to make informed decisions in a quicker way, more efficient way.”

The numbers in the framework are recommended so long as:

> Six feet between households is maintained.

> Masks are required.

> Increased access to hand washing and/or sanitation is available.

> There is control of situations that bring people into close contact (entrance/exit, concessions, etc.).

The tool is meant to help in the decision-making process.

Decisions should not be made based on this alone, the health department said. Considering other aspects such as age and risk level of the population attending, the ability to track attendees if a positive case is found, and the availability to participate in different ways such as virtually should be considered as well.

“These numbers are the highest we would recommend, continued Sauve, “Some organizations may choose to have much lower numbers or cancel events all together. Please keep in mind these numbers may change as we learn more about COVID-19.”

Public Health encourages organizations to look for ways to keep numbers low at all gatherings. Using multiple services at churches, limiting sporting event spectators to parents only and using virtual options for events are all ways to help numbers stay as low as possible.

Reducing interactions is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is important that anyone who is feeling sick stays home and calls their doctor to be tested. Testing is available at all local clinics.

If you have questions about COVID-19, please call 2-1-1. You can also text COVID-19 to 211-211. For the latest information, follow Barron County Public Health on Facebook or visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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