JEFFERSON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES GUIDANCE TO PREPARE FOR A SAFE REOPENING
Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the Safer at Home Emergency Order #28. The Court determined that the order is subject to administrative rule-making, and because it was not established in rule, but rather it was established via order, the Supreme Court found EO #28 “unenforceable.” This ruling takes effect immediately.
Jefferson County Health Department places great importance on the health and safety of the public. We have already seen essential businesses take extraordinary steps to continue to provide service while keeping their employees and members of the public safe. This needs to continue.
In light of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, many businesses that have been closed will choose to open their doors soon, and many others will choose to expand their operations. Businesses need to do so responsibly. All Jefferson County businesses should continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning, and disinfecting whenever possible. They should also consider the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation at https://wedc.org/ and consult with their respective trade or business organizations to identify industry best practices to safely welcome back employees and customers.
Businesses may also want to check with their legal counsel to see how to open safely during a pandemic while also considering legal implications of cases that may be related to their business operations.
ThrivED, Jefferson and Dodge County Economic Development Consortium, will be holding two peer to peer virtual meetings to assist businesses on how to open safely. They will continue to assist businesses by providing information on state and federal funding and programing available to help them recover from the effects of COVID-19. They have many COVID-19 resources on their website: https://www.thriveed.org/. Jefferson County Health Department will continue to collaborate with ThriveED and the business community to allow for the safest operations of businesses while the virus is still a threat to the health of our residents.
Jefferson County will continue to operate safely. For information about Jefferson County operations residents can get more information at https://www.jeffersoncountywi.gov/Health/COVID19/Jefferson%20County%20Services%20COVID%20Status.pdf.
The Health Department will continue the strong partnership with the Department of Health Services and Fort HealthCare in the response to this pandemic and monitor trends, testing capabilities, and needs should there be a surge in cases and need for patient care. The need for personal protective equipment for all emergency responders and medical providers has been an issue during this pandemic and will continue to be monitored and resources provided as available.
Jefferson County Health Department will continue to have an active and aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Health Department, along with Emergency Management, emergency responders and other municipal departments continue to work together to keep residents as safe as possible while assisting our community to recover and continue to remain safe from the effects of COVID-19.
In order to protect the health of our community, the Health Department will continue with the following: • Continue to provide active surveillance in the community and look for trends including location of cases and demographics including occupations of those affected • Tracking active cases of COVID-19 in a timely manner • Increasing the number of contact tracers to mitigate disease spread • Working closely with local hospitals, neighboring counties and the state to ensure continued adequate testing capacity • Continue to be a resource to the community
Even though the Court ruled in this way, Jefferson County Health Department strongly encourages all Jefferson County residents to voluntarily comply with the key components of the Safer at Home Order. Guidance on large gatherings will be coming out soon. For now it is still recommended to continue to limit numbers of people gathering to limit spread of the virus.
These include: • Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others; • Do not congregate in groups larger than 10 people without physical distancing between groups; • Wash your hands frequently; • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. • If you are considered high risk due to age or health condition continue to remain safer at home and take precautions – only going out for essential reasons and working from home as much as possible.
There are many things that businesses and organizations should be doing to prepare for a safe reopening, including:
• Develop flexible sick leave policies that encourage staying home when ill • Set aggressive infection control policies (hand washing, surface cleaning, barriers to reduce contact between customers and staff) • Source needed disinfectants, soap, sanitizer, and PPE if used
• Ensure all operations support 6 feet physical distancing • Create a system to monitor any symptoms your employees may have • Cross train and prepare for absenteeism • Implement a system to limit and direct traffic in your business • Communicate your plan to employees and customers
Covid-19 has not gone away and will not in foreseeable future. The Health Department will continue monitoring for increased cases and may need to target certain areas for restrictions based on those case increases.
A strong economy is vital to public health and safety. We can’t have healthy residents and a healthy community without people working and our businesses providing the goods and services needed. We simply want everyone to continue to be safe. --