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County Board to consider a COVID-19 Communicable Disease Ordinance

HUDSON –A special St. Croix County Board of Supervisors meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 17, 2020,  at 7pm. During this meeting the full County Board will consider whether to adopt a COVID-19 Communicable Disease Ordinance. An adopted ordinance would be effective upon publication. At their meeting on November 11, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Board recommended the ordinance to the full County Board for consideration.

The purpose and intent of this ordinance is to promote and protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the people and communities of St. Croix County. The data reported on the St. Croix County Dashboard as of November 12, 2020 lists 3,197 total confirmed cases in our county. 1,727 of those are active cases. There are 33 residents hospitalized and sadly, we have lost 18 members of our community to this disease.

People opposed to the planned ordinance state that only two people in St. Croix County have died from the virus, noting others had underlying medical issues and died from those issues with the virus.

The number of cases has been rising at an alarming rate reaching a record high of 145 new cases for the day of November 12, 2020. In the month of October 2020, St. Croix County saw a threefold increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in comparison to the next highest month (September). This data is from November 12, 2020 and may have changed by the time you are reading this. For current data, visit the St. Croix County Data Dashboard.

If the COVID-19 Communicable Disease Ordinance is adopted, the St. Croix County Public Health Officer would be authorized to issue two enforceable public health orders, one requiring face coverings and one limiting public gatherings in an indoor or enclosed space to no more than 25 percent of a room or building’s total occupancy. These orders could only be issued if St. Croix County is at the red risk level based on the Key Metrics for COVID Suppression Framework published by the Harvard Global Health Institute.

A red COVID-19 risk level indicates a case incidence of more than 25 daily new cases of the COVID-19 virus per 100,000 people in St. Croix County on a 7-day rolling average. Any order issued under this ordinance would be in effect for 14 days, unless terminated by the Public Health Officer. Successive 14-day orders could be issued if St. Croix County is at the red risk level on the 14th day of the most recent order. If adopted as written, this ordinance has an expiration date of January 31, 2021.

St. Croix County Public Health would like to remind everyone that without a vaccine or more effective means of treating COVID-19, the best tools we have to slow the spread of the disease are to:

• Wear a face covering when in public and around others not from your household.

• Maintain a 6-foot distance from those not from your household.

• Avoid large public or personal gatherings.

• Wash your hands frequently.

• Stay home when you are sick.

When we all work together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19, prevent unnecessary illness, reduce the burden on our health care system and health care professionals. You can find more information on how to stay safe and slow the spread of COVID-19 in St. Croix County’s Health Advisory.

Common Questions

We have heard some misinformation around the details of this ordinance. We would like to clarify that information about the ordinance here:

• The new COVID-19 Communicable Disease Ordinance is the only ordinance being considered. Version 3 of the previously proposed ordinance was postponed indefinitely.

• This ordinance does NOT involve appointing a new Public Health Officer. St. Croix County already has a Public Health Officer that leads a level III health department. This is the highest level defined by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

• This ordinance will NOT give the Public Health Officer the power to remove people from homes or businesses.

• Vaccines will NOT be mandated under this ordinance.

• This ordinance is temporary with an expiration date of January 31, 2021.

• There are exemptions to this order. They can be found in sections 41.06 B and D of the draft COVID-19 Communicable Disease Ordinance.

For more information about the Ordinance, COVID-19 testing, and data, visit the COVID-19 section of the St. Croix County website.

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