UPDATE: Eau Claire City-Co. Health Dept. discusses COVID-19
The Eau Claire City-County Health Department will be holding news conferences to update the public on the status of COVID-19 in the state. The briefings will take place normally Monday and Friday. A recap is available below from the latest briefing. Information can also be found at coronavirus.echealthdepartment.org.
Monday, June 22nd,Update:
163 positive cases (increase of 12 since Friday)
7,027 negative test results (increase of 201)
The first death in Eau Claire County. The person was over age 65 with a compromising health condition and it's not known how they caught the disease.
1 in 7 people in the county are over age 65 and more at risk.
Virus can spread before people know they are sick. Socail distancing is important.
People from age 20 to 90 have died of the disease.
They will look at the data Tuesday for updates to the local health order.
Why do they not release more specific information on the person who has died?
-Privacy practices and so people know their data is safe.
When did the person die?
-Individual died yesterday (Sunday).
Who decides what they release?
-They release very general information. The family is aware the death is going to be announced.
What is their opinion of the DPI guidelines on schools opening?
-A number of months to go. If the disease spreads slowly and is contained, a safer start to school is possible. Working with the school district. Eau Claire County is at moderate risk for the disease right now.
How realistic is it for kids not to spread disease at schools?
-There is a risk. Keeping group size smaller and physically distancing will help reduce spread.
Do they think masks should be mandatory?
-Have not heard of a mandate by the state, but the science shows that face coverings decrease risk. Need to make masks a normal part of the community and everyday life.
Friday, June 19th Update:
151 positive cases (increase of 2)
6,826 negative test results (increase of 156)
128 recovered/out of isolation
Eau Claire continues to see new cases. The disease is spreading in the community. Like in La Crosse County, big spikes can occur quickly.
Keys to helping your mental health during this time:
-Take time for yourself
-Stay up to date with information
What is the difference in numbers for Eau Claire County and La Crosse County( they had 25 new cases)?
-Very difficult to answer. They have done a lot of work to make sure people understand the risk with their local health order. All it takes is one large gathering to spread quickly in close distances.
Are expecting more jumps and spikes in the numbers?
-Last couple days there has been 11 cases and they are expecting more as the community interacts more. It is not a surprise. Goal is to prevent large outbreaks that would overwhelm the health systems.
Thursday, June 18 update:
149 positive cases, increase of 9
6,670 negative test results, increase of 67
Tuesday, June 16 update:
138 positive cases, an increase of one
6,508 negative cases, an increase of 28
Monday, June 15th update:
Eau Claire County numbers:
137 positive test results (increase of 7)
6,480 negative test results
Regional data shows most western counties with an increase of numbers since May. La Crosse County has seen a spike and most new cases under 30. 29% of cases in Eau Claire County in that age group.
Those who took part in protests were encouraged by the state to get tested and monitor for symptoms. Large groups and gatherings remain a risk.
Some bars did re-open this weekend. They must abide by the guidelines.
Any symptomatic people should get tested.
They have released "close contact" numbers and the average is 9.4 contacts with each positive case. That number was lower during Safer at Home. A close contact is defined as somebody who you spend 15 cumulative minutes with inside the 6 foot radius.
Friday, June 12th update:
130 positive cases (increase of four)
6,326 negative tests (increase of 76)
positivity rate a little over 1%, state rate around 3%
The recent cases are more "community spread" which means they don't know where they got it.
The census will restart door-to-door dropping off of data packets.
Wednesday new plan "Re-open Together Eau Claire" introduced to continue to open up the community.
There were updates to the local order for large gatherings and personal 1-on-1 services.
Still seeing an increase of disease in the area, The disease is still here and people need to be cautious.
Is the virus not spreading as quickly in Eau Claire?
-The trajectory is still upward. The positive test rate is lower right now due to the testing of asymptomatic people at long-term care and nursing homes. Physical distancing and staying at home is working.
What does it mean if there is no spikes after the protests/mass gatherings?
-Watching closely. Work situations or living closer different than outside with shorter interactions they think. Face coverings and physical distancing helps reduce spread.
Why hasn't their been a big spike since safer at home ended?
-We are in a community that has had a progression of positive cases. Safeguards in place to keep growth slow and small. People are paying attention to health orders.
COVID-19 and the larger case numbers in people of color?
It has nothing to do with the disease itself, but social constructs such as jobs, health care and living situations. Need to help all get the same care.
Wednesday, June 10th update:
126 positive cases (increase of two)
6,149 negative test results
Today, an updated order was issued that will go into effect at 12:00 am on Thursday, June 11th.
Now permitted in this new order are indoor public gatherings of up to 50 people and up to 100 people in outdoor public gatherings. One-on-one personal service providers are recommended to not exceed 20 clients per day.
Public gatherings are those planned events with a number of people in attendance that could strain the planning and response resources, including public health and community health care resources, of the community hosting the event, such as a concert, festival, conference, or
sporting event. Gatherings of any kind outside of a household unit shall exercise physical distancing and comply with all other requirements for public spaces and public buildings found in section 2 of the order.
Organizers of public gatherings are still required to document contact
information of attendees for contact tracing purposes, and actively screen and prevent attendance of individuals, including staff, olunteers, and attendees, who have symptoms of COVID-19.
The other requirements and recommendations for individuals, businesses, public spaces, personal one-on-one services, and indoor public gatherings remain in effect including:
• Individuals are strongly encouraged to stay at home or their place of residence, minimize travel outside of the county, and keep their number of connections small
• Restrictions for both public spaces and public buildings, such as physical distancing and limitations on the number of people present at one time
• Religious gatherings and other 1st Amendment-protected activities are exempt
• Elderly and vulnerable people are encouraged to take additional precautions
• All businesses, facilities, playgrounds, campgrounds and other amenities may open and operate unless they are unable to meet and maintain the safety and protection measures outlined in the order
• Use of the WEDC guidance for business reopening by businesses that can first meet the requirements of the local order
• All individuals are strongly encouraged to continue maintaining physical distancing, good hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning high-touch surfaces, not shaking hands, and follow other WI DHS and CDC recommendations
This order will be in effect until June 24, 2020. As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluate what is needed for the protection of our community members, subsequent orders may be issued that provide additional direction for protecting community
health based on public health data and other indicators within our community. The health and safety of all community members remains our highest priority.
Monday, June 8th Update:
124 positive test results (increase of 5)
5,956 negative test results (increase of 394)
Availability of those getting food assistance from the state has been expanded.
The area has seen positive tests at a steady rate. People should pay attention to social distancing guidelines.
They have been paying special attention to jails just like any congregate setting. They test those who are symptomatic at the jails and quarantining those new inmates for two weeks. No spread of COVID-19 in the jails.
Benny Anderson gives a presentation on how they are helping promote business re-opening safely.
Are there going to be any specific guidelines releases for beaches?
Beaches will follow the same guidelines that any public places must follow. There are state and national recommendations for beaches.
Concerns about the the homeless population in regards to the spread of the disease?
They are doing work to support the shelters. There has not been an outbreak at the shelters. Some individuals have tested positive, but not connected to the shelters.
Friday, June 5th Update:
119 positive test results (increase of 3)
5,560 negative test results (increase of 226)
With not so many active cases, why are they still so concerned? People have this disease and may not know it. Need to keep spread small to help immuno-compromised.
Testing available for those with symptoms. The drive up testing has been eliminated. Call healthcare provider if needing a test.
Will look at data next Tuesday to see what the local order will be going forward.
47% of the recent cases have been community spread.
(There was a presentation on handling and limiting social media)
With the nice weekend people will be out, but if you don't feel good, stay home. Keep physical distancing and wear a mask.
Recommendations for Thrift/Garage sales?
-Encouraged to use common guidelines and distancing measures. Make sure things are clean.
Recommendations for swimming/lakes and beaches?
-No evidence water is a concern for spread. Crowds and contact would be a concern for spread.
Thoughts on rallies/protests spreading disease?
-Crowds are always a concern. People should try to physical distance as much as possible.
Advice to going to playgrounds?
-Remains a risk for transmission of disease. Limit contact and number of kids in space. Wash hands. Stay home if sick.
Thursday, June 4 update
116 positive test results (increase of 2)
5334 negative test results (increase of 74)
No new deaths
Tuesday, June 2nd, Update (No press breifing)
114 Positive test results (increase of 1 )
5,142 negative test results (increase of 364)
Monday. June 1st update-press briefing:
Eau Claire County numbers:
4,778 negative test results (increase of 221)
113 positive test results (increase of 3)
85 recovered cases
Chippewa County numbers:
2,850 negative test results
57 positive test results
46 out of isolation
11 being monitored
There was a peaceful George Floyd protest over the weekend. Encourage people to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing. It is a risk to spread the disease, but important people have a voice.
With the warmer weather, beaches are open. People should maintain physical distancing. Pay attention to the health and safety of the water as well.
Are contact tracing circles getting bigger?
-Tacking overtime and they are seeing increases in numbers, slowly. It is case dependent.
Friday, May 29 update- press briefing
- Health officials started the conference by saying that racism is a public health issue and that their thoughts are with the grieving family of George Floyd and the Twin Cities.
EAU CLAIRE CASES
4,839 residents tested, that is an increase of 261 since Thursday
Second highest day of testing
4,557 negative tests
110 positive cases in the county
An additional probably six cases have been noted
The state's percent positive is remaining at 5% while the local number remains at 4%. Due to the slow start of disease exposure, experts are expecting more cases.
Health officials are monitoring the hospital status of regional places such as the Twin Cities. They are finding that area is finding more COVID-19 hospitalization.
Health officials will be looking at the order and monitoring how they can change it.
If there are any local protests, people are encouraged to not go if you are feeling unwell and to wear a mask. Try to maintain physical distancing. The order does not prohibit these type of gatherings.
Thursday, May 28th Update (No Press Briefing):
109 positive test results (increase of 5 since Wednesday)
4,331 negative test results (increase of 19)
138 pending test results (increase of 26)
Wednesday, May 27th Update:
104 positive test results (increase of 1 since Tuesday)
77 release from isolation
New County order starts May 28th and will run until June 11th
Most of it remains the same from the last order with businesses, public spaces, buildings and one-on-one services with same requirements for social distancing. People are urged to keep their circle small and stay at home as much as they can.
Indoor gatherings must remain no more than 10, but outdoor gatherings can now have up to 20 with social distancing.
The state continues with their widespread testing of high risk facilities.
How long is the new order?
Two weeks. The determined they will issue orders for that length and then adjust with the new data.
When can playgrounds open?
Specific requirements in the order for spacing and cleaning, and most playgrounds could not ensure that can be kept. Recommend that they remain closed.
Why are some cases pending?
-For a variety of reasons until the test can be confirmed as positive or negative.
Why the change from 10 to 20 people outdoors?
The disease has shown to spread less where physical distancing is maintained outdoors vs. indoors.
Tuesday, May 26th UPDATE (no press briefing):
103 positive test results (increase of 8 since Friday)
4253 negative test results (increase of 280 )
100 pending results
FRIDAY, MAY 22nd UPDATE:
95 Positive cases (increase of 6 since Wednesday)
4178 total tests
3973 negative tests
58 of the 95 cases out of isolation.
State positive test rate at 6% overall, Eau Claire County at 5% overall (Rates are going up in Eau Claire County but so are amount of people tested).
Keep your distance while honoring those who have served.
U.S. Flags will be at half mast for those who have died from COVID-19 due to COVID-19.
-Mental Health during COVID-19
Imperative to take time to reflect how you are doing/feeling during pandemic because we are all in this together.
It is okay to reach out for help.
Resources for mental health are on the COVID19EAUCLAIRE.ORG website.
Other Talking Points-
No specific dates for when mass gatherings will be back in Eau Claire County.
Mass gatherings are risky and could easily spread disease.
Mass gathering orders will more than likely be extended with not much change.
Next briefing on Wednesday will update orders placed within the county. Plan is that not many things will change for when order ends on May 28th.
THURSDAY, MAY 21st UPDATE (No Press briefing):
89 confirmed positive cases (increase of 4 since Wednesday)
3804 negative tests
145 pending tests
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20th UPDATE:
85 Positive cases (increase of 5 since Tuesday)
4008 total tests
3771 negative tests
58 of the 85 cases out of isolation.
State positive test rate at 8% overall, 6% for the 7-day average. Eau Claire County at 2% overall, 3% 7-day average.
There are two facility investigations, one at a business and one at a group home.
They are testing around 125 people a day, looking to get to about 250.
Largest age group with positive test results break down is 20-29 years olds with 23 cases, 30-50 with 26 cases. Over 50 with 21 cases and 5 cases under 20.
With celebration season right now (graduations), a reminder to not gather in groups of more than 10 people. Understand the virus is still here and people are at risk.
They are worn to protect those around people. General public can wear homemade face coverings made of a tight woven fabric with two layers. Wear them in places you can't maintain 6-feet of separation. They are only "required" in 1-on-1 service situations.
Has there been an influx of complaints?
-People hearing and seeing a whole variety of things. Most people want to the the right thing, but also have reports of people who don't think the disease is a problem.
Can they elaborate more specifically on the facility investigations?
-State publishing the number of places. None of them in Eau Claire County are long-term facilities. Two or more in both places and they are the same places reported last week.
What does the steady rise in cases say about how the disease in spreading here?
-We are getting slow progression of the spread and cases are usually related or connected. It's not surprising. No big outbreaks in congregate settings. The community is working well together and contact tracing helping as well.
Can they enforce the new order or is it more a suggestion?
-It is an order, not a recommendation. There are parts that have suggestions in it, but the physical distancing and mass gathering restrictions are an order.
What are the thoughts of a regional approach to fighting the disease, not a county or statewide approach?
-It is a challenge to have different rules county-by-county since there is travel. A regional response is out there as an idea and they do communicate well within the region, but it is difficult because there is not an infrastructure for a regional response. The goal is to have statewide rules so they are not different from place to place.
Thoughts on the President taking Hydroxychloroquine?
-Research has show it is not effective against COVID-19. Not seen as something that should be taken to fight the disease and it is not recommended. Many basic things can be done to keep immune system strong such as sleep and good diet.
TUESDAY, MAY 19TH UPDATE (No press briefing)
Positive test results: 80 (increase of four from Monday)
Negative test results: 3674 (increase of 62)
pending results: 118
MONDAY MAY 18TH UPDATE
Eau Claire County numbers
76 positive tests (increase of 9 since Friday)
3,802 tests (increase of 213)
3,612 negative tests
Positivity rate is 3% in the state.
Updated the local order for personal/ 1-on-1 business that can't work outside of the 6-foot distance. The best practices allow them to open in a way that reduces risk. They most follow an additional list of requirements on top of those rules in the initial order. It includes the number of allowed as part of the service daily. Taking contact information, the use of face coverings and waiting room requirements. Anybody who tests positive will be required to stay home 14 days that works in or is contact at one of these services. Those at the highest risk and those who live with them are not recommended to use these services.
To read the full, modified order,
What businesses fall under the order?
-All businesses do and those personal businesses that can't maintain 6-feet have additional guidelines.
Of the 76 cases, how many are active?
-They update once a week on Wednesday. As of last week it was 40 that were out of isolation.
Was there any enforcement from this past weekend?
-No enforcement, but they did educate.
Why aren't big box stores part of the order?
-All businesses are part of the order, regardless of side.
Are playgrounds open?
- It depends on who is in charge of the playground and can the comply with the latest order. Check with city, county or school.
Why are they not disclosing the age of those who test positive?
-At this point they do not release specifics, but the ages range from teenagers to low-60's.
Are they working with big stores and the mall?
-The order is the same for all businesses and actively in contact with them to meet the requirements of the order. There are creative ways to reach requirements.
How can restaurants open and maintain 6-foot distance?
- The order is based on risks, and "incidental" contact such as delivering food is not high risk and allowed. Longer term contact, such as taking an order requires distance.
How will they enforce the new order?
-They are counting on businesses to do things right. Many had already been looking at their practices to make it safe before they could open. They actively are trying to educate businesses. They count on the public to report on any unsafe practices they see.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Eau Claire County numbers:
3,589 people tested, increase of 121 tests since Thursday
3,378 negative tests
67 positive cases, an increase of two since Thursday
40 people have been released from isolation as of May 13
The Eau Claire City-County Health Department says the new order is following the guidelines of health officials.
The order encourages people to minimize travel outside of the community as well as keep the circle of connections small. People are to consider having a six foot distance from others around them.
Mass gathering, public or private, are to be 10 people or less.
While the National Guard helped with testing, many of the people had very little symptoms and gave a snapshot of where the county is for disease in the community.
THURSDAY, MAY 14th UPDATE:
65 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (increase of two)
3,261 negative results
40 of 65 cases have left isolation
They are waiting for the final numbers from the the National Guard mass testing.
The were concerned in the lack of clarity in the Supreme Courts decision on Safer at Home. The local goal is stopping spread of increase of disease and manage.
New local order is based on risk involving factors such as social distancing. They will continue to mandate to keep your circle small and maintain physical distancing. Does not mandate staying at home, but keeping physical distancing.
Their priority is getting more testing done.
They support the WEDC guidance for businesses to reopen. The order goes to May 28th.
They are using tools to implement rules to prevent disease spread and overwhelming healthcare facilities.
People should take time to understand the new guidelines. For this to be successful it will take a community wide approach.
How does this affect businesses like bars and barbershops/salons?
-They must follow guideline and review the order as some restrictions based on square footage. In the order, all businesses must comply with physical distancing.
Violations could result in citations, but that the goal is no citations. The first goal is educating businesses.
What are the major differences between the local order and the safer at home order?
-Does not have requirements for specific businesses.
-Does not mandate being at home, but keeping social distance and keeping your circle small.
-Religious gatherings are not limited by mass gathering section, but they must maintain physical distance and space.
What if employees are not comfortable returning to work?
-They view businesses as partners in making people safe. It doesn't help anyone if people are concerned with their safety.
Any talk of a regional order and any concern with different rules for different counties?
-Working together with counties and with the state to have common language and hoping there will be consistency. It's the same disease across the state.
When will they know this order can end?
-They picked May 28th because it is two weeks from today as a starting point. They will have updates weekly. They also want to see what will happen, if anything, statewide.
Do they expect to see a spike in cases now and are they prepared?
-They expected an increase no matter what with people being able to get out more. This order slows that down a little. Eau Claire has a strong healthcare system, but the still need to build capacity and PPE.
How will businesses abide by the provision to look for disease?
-They will work with businesses on policies.
Will a statewide rule change the local order?
-Depends on the wording of the rule and they would review.
Guidance for "hands on" businesses?
-Those will be hard to do with the directives nationally. They are meant to be some of the last to open due to the risk.
What do you say to those who are weary about social distancing (Wisconsin graded an "F")
Not surprised people are having issues with social distancing as it is a challenge. The new order doesn't mandate staying at home or with family, but flattening the curve by keeping your circle small. The goal is to keep spikes to a minimum as there will be better treatments in the future..
WEDNESDAY, MAY 13TH UPDATE:
63 Confirmed tests (increase of two from Tuesday)
40 people have been released from isolation.
Positive test rate in Eau Claire County is around 2%, while around 9% statewide.
They were able to get 504 tests done in two days thanks to the National Guard testing site.
5 of the 6 "metrics" for the the Safer at Home order to be lifted are being met. Eau Claire County currently does not have a downward trend in positivity rates, but the metrics are looked at on a statewide measure.
Healthcare not related to the COVID-19, the providers are working to make it safe for you to come in and get help.
Playgrounds remain closed.
Dr. Ron Walsh (Interim Superintendent at Altoona Schools):
They are keeping teachers engaged with students and providing meals. They are also providing technology (650 chromebooks and mobile hot spots) for those who need it for online learning.
It may be possible for activities in July or August, but what school will be like in the fall is still in flux.
What does it mean to have two workplace/facility investigations in Eau Claire County?
-In depth investigation of all cases and work being done at facility to make sure to prevent spread. Every case is different. They work to make sure a plan is in place. Those who were in close contact are quarantined. Large group settings, they may have to move people out to quarantine, but can also be done in the same facility. They don't close workplaces down. This is triggered by two or more cases in one location.
Are the active and are they surprised?
The state lists only active cases and they are not surprised as it is expected with a disease like this.
Why were some people turned away from the mass testing sites?
-They could only test people who had symptoms per the protocol from the National Guard.
With drive-ins opening, should that change the attitude on car parades and parking lot church services?
-When they started, they needed to flatten the curve to make sure healthcare facilities could handle and potential outbreak of cases. They can now turn the dial more as the ability to respond has increased. Openings are risked based and for parades it depends on the specifics of the event. They are working with religious places to have those services safely.
Is there any chance to expand testing pool since they didn't use all 600 tests at the mass testing site?
-The estimated that they could test around 300 people a day and got close to that number. The test kits were from the state and go with the National Guard to their next stop, so are not in Eau Claire County. They are moving towards opening the testing up more to non-symptomatic people.
Can they tell us where the active group investigations are?
-No, due to confidentiality.
Are people who are working at a facility/workplace aware if there is an active investigation?
-Yes and are given information about what they need to know and do.
Can kids afford to miss more school this fall?
-This has a tremendous impact on students socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. They are focusing on what they can to do make up for the time missed. They have to look at all ideas for the fall since it is still unknown what the situation will be.
How many test results are they waiting on to comeback?
-Of the 500, they have most of the results and likely get more back today as well.
TUESDAY, MAY 12th Update (No press briefing):
Wisconsin Eau Claire County change
Positive test results 61
Negative test results 2,829
Pending test results 91
Information on cases that have completed their isolation period is available weekly. As of 5/6/20, 26 cases had been released from isolation. People released from isolation are no longer considered
During the Wisconsin Army National Guard testing event held in Eau Claire on May 10 and 11, 216 tests were conducted on Sunday, and 288 tests were conducted on Monday, for a total of 504 tests.
“We’re very grateful to the Army National Guard for their assistance with this testing site, and the other sites in our region. This was a very valuable opportunity to offer free testing for those that need it, and to get a moment-in-time snapshot of disease in our community,” said Lieske Giese, Health Officer/Director for the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.
Results are expected to be reported back to local health departments in 24-48 hours of the testing
MAY 11TH UPDATE:
Eau Claire County Covid-19 numbers:
60 confirmed cases (increase of 7 since Friday)
2,849 tests (increase of 212)
2,718 negative tests
26 released from isolation
Chippewa County Covid-19 numbers:
31 confirmed cases
1,399 negative tests
20 released from isolation
Eau Claire-Dunn County mass testing continuing today with National Guard, 216 tests ran yesterday and as of 1:45pm 113 ran today.
Those who test positive will receive a call from the health department and contact tracing will occur. Those on the contact list will be called as well and asked to self quarantine for two weeks.
Negative tests results also will get a can, but from the National Guard office.
Gov. Evers new order allows for the opening of more stores. New openings based on risk and ability to physically distance at places.
F-16 will fly over to recognize healthcare workers at 6:49-59 tonight.
How are they enforcing the new rules with openings?:
Working on educating businesses and sending out material. Enforcement takes place when there is a complaint. They have a team that makes phone calls and goes on site.
When do they expect test results from the mass testing?
Looking at around the next 48 hours and hope to have results available on Wednesday.
What are they looking for with these mass tests?
To get a good sense broadly the scope of the disease spread. The more tests, the better then can contain the disease.
With "Safer at Home" likely to end May 26th, do they have enough contact investigators?
Right now they have 29 contact investigators, and also utilizing state resources if needed. It's a skilled and difficult process to contact trace. They are looking at 30-40 investigators per 100,000 people.
Have they had people concerned with their privacy during tracing?
Initially some are, but typically people understand it's in their best interest to help. It takes skills and the right people to get those individuals to help.
What is the difference between the regular testing going on and antibody testing?
The antibody testing would tell if they have ever had Covid-19, but the test results are not perfect. It is not known yet if having the antibodies shields you from getting sick again. It's not recommended in the region or statewide as they want people getting the regular test because of the useful data if provides.
Can people travel and visit those who need basic support and tasks done?
Some basic support can occur if it is essentially needed and people can't do things on their own. They are not encouraging travel for people to go and visit people they just miss.
MAY 8th UPDATE:
53 positive test results (increase of four from Thursday)
2,637 tests (increase of 90)
26 have been released from isolation
State positive rate around 9%, Eau Claire County around 5%
For Mothers Day, try to keep from spreading the disease, especially to the elderly. If you don't live with your mother, be creative in ways to communicate without contact.
Community testing occurring May 10th and 11th with the National Guard at the Prevea Clinic at CVTC on Clairemont Ave. It will be drive thru testing for up to 300 people a day for those with symptoms. You can bike or walk-up as well.
Thorp will have testing on May 13th and Ladysmith on May 14th.
How long do they foresee the cases in the county rising?
-The expected more cases as people are out in the community more. Most of the recent cases are connected. Until there is a vaccine, people will continue to get and spread the disease. The goal is to spread out the time of positive cases and to protect the vulnerable populations.
Rumors a construction company had to forced to shut down for not complying after a positive test?
-They have had wonderful cooperation with businesses. If somebody does test positive they cannot work and those with contact asked to isolate.
Where do they want to be with their testing numbers to reopen?
-It is about the positive rate of tests. They are testing to see the community spread of the disease. They like around 50 to 100 tests per for 100,000 people . The goal is to have anybody that has symptoms has the ability to get tested.
How many contact tracers do they have and what is their goal?
-Don't have the exact number, but training additional help and have a decent amount.
MAY 7th UPDATE (No Press Briefing):
49 positive test results (increase of two)
2,400 negative test results (increase of 66)
98 pending results
26 cases are out of isolation
MAY 6th UPDATE:
47 confirmed cases (increase of 3)
2,335 negative tests
26 have completed isolation
Age ranges from teenagers to over 60.
State testing capacity is about 15,000
Seven day average in Eau Claire is up from 38 to 68 tests a day.
Positivity rate has risen in Eau Claire from 1.1% in April to 5.59% in May so far.
Mass testing by National Guard on Sunday and Monday at CVTC Prevea on Clairemont Avenue. 8-5pm on Sunday and 11-7pm on Monday. Broad testing for those with symptoms. Free and no physicians order needed.
What do they think about "regional reopening" idea?
-Statewide order makes it easier to track disease. The minute they open a region there will likely be more cases due to travel. The focus should be on risk based opening not just on a certain date.
Have they had problems getting results for tests?
-No issues in Eau Claire area.
How ready are they for contact tracing with more cases?
-With the smaller cirlcles with safer at home, loss contacts. As we reopen there will be more cases. Most contact tracing for other disease happens at a local llevel, but have to build teams with this diseason. Training new people and have a number ready to go and also training more. It is a critical job and needs to be done well to prevent spread of disease. They would like around 35 people for every 100,000 as an estimate.
How have they been able to increase testing numbers?
-More labs and more testing sites. More testing supplies as well. With hospitals reopening for surgeries, they are testing all those patients prior to the surgery.
How should people in Eau Claire County view the increase in positive tests?
-They assumed that the numbers would go up with increased testing and community spread and also essential workers being exposed. It is concerning that numbers have increased, but they are not trying to prevent the disease, but minimize the outcome and stop a large outbreak.
Is there a local hotel that has cases of the disease?
-Can't release details on positive cases.
Are there negatives to using a mask?
-Average person should have no issues with wearing a mask. If you have COPD or other respiratory issues it may be difficult and should talk to your healthcare provider about it.
Any reaction to the State Supreme Court oral arguments?
-They are monitoring the situation and will be ready for the next step.
MAY 5TH UPDATE (No briefing, just updated numbers):
44 Positive test results
2,235 negative test results
MAY 4th UPDATE: (Eau Claire, Chippewa and Dunn County at Monday's briefing)
Eau Claire County has 43 confirmed case. 2,289 total tests
Chippewa County has 25 confirmed cases (19 out of isolation) 1,119 negative tests.
Dunn County has 12 confirmed cases (9 released from isolation), 1,074 negative tests.
There is a focus on increasing the testing in the area and statewide. Long-term care facilities and employees a focus to get tested. Drive thru testing will increase numbers.
Chippewa County will have mass testing at Thorp High School on May 13th and there will also be mass testing Rusk County fairgrounds.
Dunn County area will have mass testing on May 5th at the Burnett County Highway center fro 9-6pm. May 6th in Solon Springs. May 8th in Baldwin and May 9th in River Falls.
Eau Claire County and area mass testing May 10th from 8-5pm at the CVTC Prevea clinic and at the same location May 11th 11-7pm.
The virus has not "went away" despite lower positive numbers in Dunn County. Safer at home has helped limit the spread. Your age doesn't matter to you chances of catching the disease, your age is related to if you are more likely to be hospitalized of die from it.
What is the numbers when it relates to overall positive percentage versus the amount of the testing being done?
-We are seeing an increase in positive percentage in the area (from around 2% to 3.6% in the last couple weeks. The state average is around 10%. Shows the disease is more community spread.
What testing outside of the National Guard mass testing is available for those without insurance?
-That is a barrier for some to be tested (would not turn them away). The reason for National Guard mass testing is to give anybody who needs the test a chance to get it.
What are they doing to make information available in different languages?
-Working on links on their website with different languages. Want to be able to make the information available to all who need it.
Could the testing numbers in the area be done due to the seasonal change and flu season ending?
-Testing may be down since there are less flu-like symptoms, but they want testing numbers to go up, not stay flat, to help control and understand the disease.
Any instances of relapse of the disease for those released from isolation?
-Not aware of an instances in Eau Claire County.
If the goal is to limit transmission and not herd immunity, how long will that take?
-Focus on opening back up slowly because there is not healthcare capacity for immediate herd immunity (it would take around 70,000 cases in Eau Claire County as an example).
In the latest cases is there more people to contact trace compared to the early cases?
- The increased number of cases (from 21 to 43 in the past couple weeks) have seen those cases have a lot of contact. They need to hear of the contacts to control the disease. Some of those contacts have become cases themselves.
More on what it will take to get to herd immunity?
Capacity of the healthcare facilities is changing as other medical work resumes. An enormous spike in cases would tax the system. They are trying to balance what opens and the risk that has for more cases. it will be a back and forth situation for the next few months.
What should people do for Mother's Day?
-If not in their circle, should try to use social distancing rules. Need to protect the most vulnerable age group (60+). Window visits are allowed but not recommended as people may feel the need for "contact"
Has the April 7th election led to increased numbers in the area?
-Can recall any specific cases in Eau Claire County.
Any clarifications on the golf course rules?
-Today is was clarified that carry-out from the clubhouse was allowed.
Watch live here, on our WEAU Facebook page, and we will also be airing the updates on 13.2 which can be viewed on Spectrum Channel 193.
Friday, May 1st Update:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Numbers:
34 confirmed cases (increase of six from yesterday, biggest single one day increase)
2,013 negative results
20 cases have recovered
-State testing capacity is a critical talking point, testing is increasing but need more work
-With increase in testing, will be an increase of more positive results
-Won't see decrease in positive tests for some time
-How to contain those who have tested positive to stop the spread
-Expecting more cases throughout Eau Claire County
-Call center will not be open over the weekend, will follow up with calls when return on Monday
-Talking about how to keep Chippewa Valley business running during the tough time
-Making sure that those most vulnerable are protected as best as possible
-With nice weather and fishing opener, it is alright to go out, but go with family. If sick, stay home
-Mental health and substance abuse is something to pay attention to and working to help those struggling with these things
National Guard Regional testing sites
-Eau Claire and Dunn County testing will be on May 10th 8 a.m.-5 p.m., May 11th, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at current Prevea testing site on Clairemont Ave
-Hope to get 200 tests a day
-No cost, no need to have a provider
Wednesday, April 29th Update:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Numbers:
28 confirmed cases (increase of one from yesterday)
1,839 negative results
20 cases have recovered
The increase in cases shows that the disease is likely community spread.
They submitted briefs relating to the Supreme Court case challenging "Safer at Home" in support of Gov.Evers. They are tough/unprecedented measures but what is being done is working.
Their application for a one-day testing spree with aid of the National Guard has been approved for a future date. Those will mild symptoms should get tested and you do not need health insurance to be tested.
Dale Peters talks about the recovery task force:
They are using a date driven approach to open safely and are a task force for the entire region, not just the city of Eau Claire.
They have four branches to the task force:
-Promotions and Communications
-Business Sector Recovery Planning
What does "community spread" mean when it comes to the disease?
-First cases could be traced to travel or contact with a specific person, but the latest cases are harder to trace or pinpoint.
Should people do anything differently?
-This disease has minimal symptoms, so they have assumed it was community spread for awhile.
Safer at home, physically distancing, keeping your circle small and face coverings recommended.
Dale Peters extending his time as City Manager?
-He is extending his term 45-days after the emergency is over to help stability.
Though they are in support of Gov. Evers plan, what is their reaction to the proposed May 11th plan?
-All plans have their strengths and weaknesses. No date can dictate the re-opening, the disease dictates that. Worst thing they could do is set a date and open everything. Slow opening helps prevent the chances of overwhelming healthcare facilities if mass outbreaks occur.
When do we get to a "herd immunity" place with this disease?
-A vaccine or 70% herd immunity, but a vaccine is not coming for awhile so we must slowly get to a herd immunity. The disease is very infectious and if we go too quickly, many might get sick at the same time.
Monday, April 27th Update:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 numbers:
25 confirmed cases (increase of one since Friday)
1,776 negative tests
20 of 25 cases have completed the isolation period
-Working on capabilites to open up more testing and increase the number of tests
-Figuring out what needs to be done to increase testing
-Training more staff for contact tracing
New Order for non-essential businesses to do more activities:
-Drop off supplies, equipment for repair at businesses
-rental of recreational equipment
-car washes re-opening
Those who are experiencing asthma or season allergies
-If you experience symptoms different than normal, contact healthcare provider
CDC adding symptoms to look for
-chills and repeated shaking with chills
-new loss of taste or smell
With new order are people allowed to travel for fishing?:
-Strongly recommended to not fish with people outside of the household. Limit travel.
What should the motivation be for people to keep "Safer at Home" when there haven't been many cases in Eau Claire County?
-The best way to contain this disease is to limit interaction. The more people you are exposed to the the more likely the disease is to spread.
-They are trying to prevent a large outbreak that would overwhelm healthcare facilities.
What is being done locally to raise the number of tests to get to the state threshold and what would the National Guard do to help?
-Positive cases in Eau Claire have a slight decline, but statewide the numbers are flat.
- The amount of tests being taken is going down in the county.
-National Guard would come in for a short time for drive through testing. It would be one or two day blitz. Not sure when it would happen.
What is the daily number of tests in Eau Claire County?:
-It varies from day to day, but around 60. The goal is significantly higher that that.
-They are trying to increase the number of those who are wanting tests to get access to the tests
Are any of the five active cases hospitalized?:
-Cannot say due to confidentiality
Friday, April 24th Update:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 numbers:
24 confirmed cases (increase of one since Wednesday)
1,668 negative tests
1.4% positive case rate (state average around 10%)
-New executive order starts today and new activities allowed such as golf courses are open, library curbside pickup.
-New guidelines released for essential businesses on safe practices
-Non-essential businesses can no start distributing products by mailing, curbside pickup, delivery.
-Some construction products can start with one worker on staff
-If there are to be protest or rallies, that people should be cautious as this disease is spread by close contact. Social distancing should be applied.
-Working to get symptomatic individuals tested. They want to know who has COVID-19 in the area. Testing is at good rate compared to the rest of the state, but not where they want to be as a whole.
-Do not use treatments that are not recommended by the CDC or healthcare providers (UV light or disinfectants as example)
-The recovery task-force as partners coming to the table and working on smart re-opening practices. They are also there to support one another and looking to comeback strong.
-Reach out to others not in your circle in ways that are safe and keep social distancing.
-Recovered cases are not available in Eau Claire County to be released at this time.
-Cannot give specific details if there are any cases in the nursing homes in Eau Claire County. If there was an outbreak then some information would be made available.
-They are working with those large congregate settings (group homes, nursing homes, assisted living). More than 50 group homes in Eau Claire County and many nursing and assisted living homes.
-No data at the time showing any cases related to April 7th election in the county.
Wednesday, April 22nd Update:
Eau Claire County COVID-19 numbers:
23 confirmed cases (no change)
1,550 negative tests
-Most cases early on related to travel. More recent cases may show that it is community spread.
-Hospitals in the area are available and have capacity for emergency and urgent care and can be utilized.
-With Ramadan starting, gatherings need to be under 10 people and physical distancing needs to remain.
-Parks are available to use, but playgrounds and campgrounds remain closed in Eau Claire County. Limit outings to just people in the household.
-New executive order starts Friday and includes new provisions including curbside pickup from libraries, golf courses opening, non-essential businesses starting minimal services. Pickup from arts and craft stores and exterior home repairs/work allowed if it is a single worker.
Dale Peters (Eau Claire City Manager)
-The County wants a recovery that doesn't set us back and doesn't overwhelm the ability to stay safe.
-Forming an economic recovery task force.
-Working with health professionals for input
-They want to develop ideas to restart specific sectors of the economy and connect employees with employers
Dave Minor (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce President and CEO)
-Talked with hundreds of chamber members and businesses and all say they want to open with precautions.
-Critical that they can get small businesses safely open.
-Will have a town hall tomorrow with Senator Tammy Baldwin and the task force.
-Want input from all businesses for plan.
-Small busniness are the backbone of our country and need support.
-They want to find a way to re-open safely ahead of the mandated date at the end of May.
Is increased testing the only reason for more positive cases?:
-Testing part of the reason, but outbreaks happening in other parts of the state (Clark and Brown County).
Why aren't parades allowed?:
-Not allowed in current order, risk of transmission of disease increases.
-Educators are allowed to have parades (but not recommended)
What is the Chamber's time-frame for re-opening the area?:
-Before the May 26th date, but want to do it safely. Will sit down with the delegation from our area to see if they meet the metrics to be safe, how they re-open sooner.
What happens if the Supreme Court overrules the executive order?:
-at 8am on Friday the existing order would end and they would adapt.
-Doing nothing is not a solution for Eau Claire County
-Date shows the area is not ready to open right now
-Confident a decison to keep Wisconsin safe will happen
What is the process for contact tracing a confirmed case?:
-Isolation and contacts told to quarantine
- In-depth interview on whom they have been in contact with
-Safer at home makes it much easier to do the contact tracing
Chambers feeling on rally in Madison against "Safer at Home"?
-This is a disease and they should do so with social distancing. People are passionate on all sides. Argue with facts and do so properly and respectfully.
What happens if there is an outbreak similar to the meat packing plant in Iowa?:
-They have plans for many situations, including outbreaks
-If someone is afraid of buying meat products from factories, there are plenty of local farms and resources in our area.
-If hospitals are not overrun, why do restrictions remain?:
-They restrictions were needed to make sure the ability to have a large capacity was available if there is a outbreak. Working with them to allow more routine and regular services to resume.
Tuesday, April 21 numbers update
23 positive cases in EC County, an increase of one case
1494 negative case results, an increase of 23 from Monday
77 pending test results, an increase of 18 from Monday
Monday, April 20th Update (*including Chippewa and Dunn County update as well)
Eau Claire County:
22 confirmed cases (no change from last week)
1,471 total tests
20 confirmed cases ( decrease of one from last week due to an error)
775 negative tests, 17 pending
9 confirmed cases
680 negative tests
All counties in response mode to the disease, creating task forces for recovery mode that will help support all aspects affected by the disease.
Increased testing (as outlined in Gov. Evers' Badger Bounce Back Plan" is needed int he counties before they can re-open.
Eau Claire County is keeping case flat and containing the disease with safer at home. So far no deaths.
What do they need for more testing to take place and have a higher capacity?:
It's complicated as it takes time to get the supplies in place. They are seeing movement and improvement everyday.
What do you say to those who are not working and see only one new case in the past two weeks?:
They need to see the test numbers to drop statewide and have more testing ability in place before they can re-open. The shut down in our area help prevent the disease from becoming wide-spread like Northeast and Southern parts of the state.
Are teacher parades allowed?:
They are allowable as long as they are for educational purposes. General parades are not allowed. They are working with schools to keep them safe.
What do you say about the protests in the state and and around the country?:
This disease is unprecedented and the response had to be unprecedented. We can't flip a switch and re-open, must slowly re-open.
The testing rate in Western Wisconsin is goof, but supplies are needed to meet goals for testing.
The Badger Bounce Back is not a surprise and contains many of the same principles that have been discussed of testing and equipment being needed before a widespread re-opening.
FRIDAY, April 17th Update/Recap:
22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (no change)
1,447 tests, 1,351 negative (the rest pending)
-Google source for area numbers is reporting the wrong numbers.
-The state sent a testing update pushing hard for more testing and encouraging labs to start testing people with symptoms that may even be mild.
-Increased testing is huge factor in the state re-opening.
-Increased testing will also increase follow up case investigations and contact tracing.
-Support for businesses is a constant discussion.
-They are parterning with the Chamber of Commerce and working with business so they can adapt and re-open as soon as possible. Want to make customers and workers feel safe.
"What is holding up more testing?"
Access to supplies, PPE supplies for healthcare workers, enough trained people and policies to expand testing.
"What do you say to those posting back on order, especially in rural areas not as much affected?"
Everyone can get this disease since there is no immunity. A safe and slower re-opening will limit the spread of the disease.
"What is the reason for 'flattening' the curve?"
A vaccine is many months out. The orders in place give time for increasing testing and following up. If we don't go slow a lot more people will get sick and die.
"Is the is the peak in Eau Claire County?"
We have likely reached the peak for "Safer at home", but there are likely more cases that haven't been tested more. Likely more cases as order eases. When the orders are lifted, social distancing and avoiding mass gathers will likely remain for awhile.
"What becomes an essential business with the new order?"
Still digesting the new order. It does have some guidance in the order for businesses and includes opportunity for curb side pick-up.
"Why not open county by county?"
Tremendous challenge with communication and people staying in place.
"What is your message to those that are angry?"
Despite this being hard, there is good reasons for it. This is like nothing we have ever seen before. No one is immune. Not the same as the other diseases, including the flu. The flu has treatments that are set in place. The were no measures in place for COVID-19 since it is a new disease.
THURSDAY, April 16th Update/Recap:
In Eau Claire County:
22 confirmed cases (No increase from yesterday)
1,393 tests, 1,304 negative, with the rest pending.
-The new "Safer at Home" order will start April 24th
-Action taken so there isn't a second wave of the disease.
-The first order is working and a path has been layed out to re-open the state.
-The new order will allow some busninesses to open in limited capacity.
-Social distancing needs to continue to keep your circle small.
-Non-essential businesses may be able to minimally open on April 24th
-Curbside pickup with be allowed for libraries
-Golf courses will be able to re-open with some measures for safety in place
-Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year
-Essential businesses given specific orders to help workers remain safe
-Outdoor work my continue on homes in a limited manor.
-Current order does allow window visits to care facilities, but locally they are asking for this to no occur.
-The order and changes do not take affect until April 24th
-This is a big step and they asked for the order to be extended
-It gives time to get more testing/equipment and planning to re-open slowly.
What would have happened if they would have fully re-opened on April 24th?:
-Likely an increase in the disease, issues with healthcare capacity and more difficulty following up on cases.
Will the loosening of the order increase cases?:
-There will likely be new cases as no one is immune and with more contact it is more likely to spread. People need to still abide by the order and keep circle small to decrease any surge.
What will this extension do to slow the growth and will there be a need to keep extending the order?:
-This order helps build time to increase testing capacity and to increase the amount of testing. Also helps in getting more training and personell for contact investigation.
-More PPE equipement can be in place for healthcare workers.
-Need to make sure that it will be safe for businesses to re-open.
The order will likely be lifted in the future.
What do you say to the increased pressure to re-open and the idea of "regional" openings:?
-People are too likely to travel across the state and different regions and could possibly infect others. Different orders in different areas would be difficult to regulate.
Wednesday, 4/15 Recap/Update
22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Eau Claire County
1,376 tests, 1,258 negative, the rest are pending.
-A little more than a week away from the "Safer at Home" order ending. It has been working flattening the curve both locally and statewide.
-The risk of the disease will increase once the order is loosened and being expand their circles.
-Assisted care facilities/nursing homes are at highest risk. Asking those places to use the strongest means possible to prevent the spread of disease. Asking for people to not come to facilities and have window visits. They cannot comment on if there has been any cases at nursing homes in the area.
Parades are not part of essential travel.
It is severe weather week, but no actually sounding of the siren will occur. Asking families to go over and have a plan in place.
Will need to "contact trace" after the order is lifted. Additional funding will be needed, but are training people to make sure that they can meet demand as much as possible. Until a vaccine is developed it will be a reportable disease. Testing capacity will need to increase once the order is over as well.
Contact tracing is much easier with the order, once the circle grows, much more people have to be contacted.
Should the order be extended?
There needs to be a strategy in place involving treatment, good testing, proper equipment and eventually a vaccine.
Can't keep society closed down for too long, so must find a balance between the two.
Monday 4/13 Recap/Update:
Eau Claire County:
Remains at 21 confirmed cases (no change in the past week).
there have been 1,236 tests, 1,154 have been negative.
Despite the lack of positive cases, everybody is still at risk as there is no immunity to this disease.
20 confirmed cases. 656 tests, 605 negative results with 12 pending. Ages ranging from 20-70
9 confirmed cases. 3 have recovered. 2 are in the hospital and 4 are in isolation.
A reminder that going to a cabin/2nd home is not considered essential travel. If you go to another home, you risk taking germs with you and going to a place that may not have the infrastructure to treat the disease.
If you must go to a second home, self-quarantine for 14-days.
Support local businesses from home when you can. If you are suffering economically, the county is there to help as are a variety of different programs.
Long-term care residents/patients are at higher risk. Asking that people do not go to facilities (or outside) but utilize media/technology to interact.
Child care is available for essential workers through the county.
Once the "Safer at Home" act is lifted, they measure to what will be open immediately is not known. A loosening of the act at some point is anticipated.
If there is a need for a shelter due to a natural disaster or emergency, they are working with the Red Cross for a plan. Would have to weigh the risk of a large group and try to keep physical distancing as well.
Eau Claire County has 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (no change for the past four days)
Of the 1,160 tests, 1,033 have been negative
(Just because there is no added confirmed cases doesn't mean there aren't more than 21 cases of COVID-19 in Eau Claire County)
Continue to strongly encourage faith communities to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus.
Stressed the fact that it is hard to not join these gatherings during the holidays, but the best thing to do is not expand your small group.
Room taxes for hotels have been suspended for 60 days but continue payment for visit Eau Claire.
Curb side waste pick up will go on as normal.
Trails, Parks some other open spaces are open with social distancing but fields, playgrounds and camping sites are closed.
Golf courses are not allowed to be open in Eau Claire County even though some people may think they are open.
Stressed the fact to stay at home and not visiting long term care facilities and assisted living facilities.
20 labs in the state can do testing for COVID-19 and testing opportunities are starting to grow.
A new state program has been added for those who are struggling to get food and have food.
Call Center will be open during the weekend.
Eau Claire County has 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (no change for the past three days)
Of the 1,074 tests, 931 have been negative
Though the Governor is allowing parking lot services, they encourage people to stay at home and it is those services are not recommended.
Parking lot services create more people out in the community, which will limit social distancing and that is why they recommend that people not attend or hold them.
This is a critical time in the fighting of this disease and staying at home is the best for that.
They encourage people to go outside and with their household enjoy recreation abiding by social distancing.
This is not the time for large groups to go out in cars and do such things as parades and drive-by houses. Travel for essential needs only. That includes going to the doctor, getting essential supplies, working and caring for others that can't for themselves and outdoor activties with household.
Now is not the time to gather with friends and family from outside the household at parks.
There were a number of conversations with religious leaders about gatherings and services. Parking lot services are allowed, but again not recommended.
The more people in a space, the more potential the disease can get spread by widening your circle. When with others, even in a parking lot service or in a car, there is the impulse to get closer to people. Travel should not occur unless it is essential.
Though there has not been no new cases for three straight days, their should still be concern as there are more cases out there that haven't been confirmed due to the limit on who is being tested. There is no immunity to this disease. If we wide the circle of people in contact, more people will get the disease.
Next week the press conferences will go to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule.
The Eau Claire CIty-County Health Department has a call center that people can call with COVID-19 questions.
The call center is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center can be reached at 715-831-7425.
Information can also be found at coronavirus.echealthdepartment.org.
We will also be airing the updates daily (when held) on 13.2 which can be viewed on Spectrum Channel 193.