Dear Sawyer County Residents:
The rate of new COVID-19 cases and the increasing level of community transmission are now at a critical level in Sawyer County. This unprecedented global pandemic has taken time to reach us, but it is clear that it has.
As of August 1, 2020, we had 65 cases in the county since the start of COVID-19 in March. As of August 20, we have 128 cases. That is 63 cases in just 3 weeks’ time, and there are no signs of slowing down.
In the most recent 7-day period reported by Harvard Global Health Institute, daily new cases per 100k people for the US is 15, for Wisconsin it is 12.4 and for Sawyer County it is 34.6.
We have been fortunate so far. Few of our neighbors have been hospitalized, and no one has died. We are counting on each of you to do your part to continue that trend.
Why is Sawyer County so high?
Our community members are infecting other community members. The majority of new cases are being passed among friends and families while the infected person is still asymptomatic. Family gatherings and pot lucks have become frequent exposure sites.
We are letting our guard down because these are people we know, so we think we are safe. We are hugging and sharing meals. After we unknowingly infect our own family, we go out into the greater community and infect others.
What does this mean for Sawyer County?
We are at a point where we cannot control the spread through rigorous testing, isolation and quarantine. This is the time when Harvard and other experts recommend “stay at home” orders.
Because of challenges we have seen with ‘safer at home” orders in Wisconsin, community leaders and public servants from all corners of the county are coming together to ask every one of us to do the following:
- Stay at home as much as possible.
- Limit your close contacts. We are seeing the virus spread through close gatherings both indoors and outdoors.
- Being outside does not diminish the need to practice physical distancing. If you are at a private home, masks are not required yet this is where we are seeing the spread. We are also seeing spread in businesses where they are not masking and co-workers are becoming infected.
- If you go out, follow masking guidance!
Wearing a mask is a simple step. Wear your mask, slow the spread, and keep our businesses and schools open. Face coverings lower the risk of spread to those around us and to the wearer.
Wisconsin’s governor has issued a State Order that requires the wearing of a face covering in public. Please see https://evers.wi.gov/Pages/Home.aspx for more information. This order is fully supported by all entities signing this document.
We hope everyone who can wear a mask will commit to do so voluntarily. Most people can wear masks and it has been shown through world-wide research and practice to be effective in slowing the spread of disease.
We recommend these actions for the continued health and well being of the entire Sawyer County community:
- Wear your mask when indoors with others, according to the Governor’s state mask mandate.
- If someone is not wearing a mask, assume that they have a medical reason. Be kind, remain 6 feet away, and move on.
- If a business is not complying with the state mask order, or there appears to be a high risk of disease spread from someone not wearing a mask and not keeping physical distance, call the mask hotline at 715-638-3352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Health Department will investigate and work with the Sheriff to write citations and send to the district attorney for prosecution.
Our goal is to slow the spread of disease and keep our businesses open. Until we can slow the spread, our schools may only be open virtually. It takes our whole community to come together for our schools to open and stay open. Keeping your close contacts minimal and wearing masks is a responsible, practical way to reach that goal.
Thank you for your cooperation and consideration. Mask up, Sawyer County!