In a shortened meeting the board of supervisors met to hear an update from the Rusk County Public Health Department before the Governor Tony Evers banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the light of growing concerns of COVID-19.

On March 17 a statewide order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people went into effect at 5 p.m. County supervisors heard an update on the COVID-19 virus by Dawn Brost, head of Rusk County Public Health.

Essential services in the county will remain in service.

As of Tuesday, Brost said eight individuals have been tested for the coronavirus and there have been three negative test results and five pending tests. Statewide, on Friday, March 13 there were nine confirmed cases of the coronavirus and the statistics climbed to 72 as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Some of the new cases are in individuals have no known exposure source.

The county is working with area businesses, community partners, schools and the health care professionals to avoid the spread of the disease.

The Rusk County Public Health Department are asking residents to take steps to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. Steps that should be taken are to avoid social gatherings, avoid play dates, don’t allow visitors in, don’t have large family dinners, wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth with a tissue or a clothed elbow among other steps.

Right now in Wisconsin there are two laboratories currently doing testing, however said Brost, more laboratories are expected to be ready to test. 

The Health Department’s recommendation is the shelter in place, don’t go out unless it is to the grocery store or doctor appointments, said Brost. It’s okay to be outside, in the yard, but it’s important to socially distance yourself from others to slow the spread of the virus.

Supervisor Phil Schneider encouraged those in need of disinfectants to mix one part bleach with 10 parts water, about 1/3 cup bleach to one gallon of water, to keep surfaces clean.

Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution that acknowledges a public health emergency and authorizes county personnel to be flexible in managing operations during the epidemic of COVID-19.

Corporation Counsel Rich Summerfield told those in the meeting that it’s “not prudent to meet unnecessarily.”

The resolution allows Administrative Coordinator Andy Albarado to, within a reasonable time, implement necessary decisions and inform the board of supervisors of the situation by email and/or phone. If necessary decisions need to be implemented they will be made to ensure the safety and health of Rusk County staff, residents and those traveling throughout the county.

The resolution also allows that during this public health emergency for supervisors to attend meetings telephonically or by other electronic means.

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