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City, county officials call for calm

Hospital, emergency government prepared for potential cases here

“Viruses are contagious but so is panic, fear, hysteria calm, grace, empathy love and kindness. You choose which one you plan to spread,” said Patty Krug, Taylor County public health director during Friday’s weekly update on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The good news, Krug said is that as of 1:53 p.m. on March 30, Taylor County has had zero confirmed cases of COVID-19. Taylor County has had 25 negative tests for COVID-19. Testing is being done per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Krug called on people to make the choice to continue to follow the Safer at Home order and addressed business owners who disagreed with the state’s determination of what is an essential or a nonessential business. She directed people to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) website where it outlines the appeal process people can take who feel their businesses should be on the essential list.

Krug said they are continuing to learn as they try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“We are learning, the same as you,” she said, noting it is inevitable that some mistakes will be made along the way. She said they are looking to the experiences of those dealing with COVID-19 in other states as well as to the historical experiences going back to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.


19 CORONAVIRUS She addressed a travel advisory put in place on Thursday, March 26 encouraging those with seasonal homes in Taylor County to remain at their permanent residence rather than coming to the county. She said this is especially important for people who are living in areas where there is community spreading of the virus taking place.

“We understand your fears and concerns. We all have fears and concerns,” she said noting that all people have a role in helping to combat the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Krug was joined at the press conference by Norma Thums an infectious disease expert with Aspirus Medford Hospital. She highlighted the steps being taken by Aspirus under the direction of the state and the CDC. She urged people who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, shortness of breath and new cough to call the Aspirus COVID-19 hotline at 1-844-568-0701, the hotline hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

She also outlined the procedure for people who display symptoms who are at Aspirus Medford. She said they will be screened and those who display symptoms will be given a mask and asked to return to their vehicle and contact the COVID-19 hotline.

Taylor County management coordinator Colleen Handrick also spoke at the briefing noting the role of her office in working with local governments, businesses and responders. She said she is working to help ensure plans are in place and are being implemented.

Medford Mayor Mike Wellner also spoke encouraging people to continue to use absentee ballots and early voting for the April 7 spring election. He said early voting in particular is an easy way for people to vote and avoid crowds on election day. He said he has moved his office in city hall to allow two rooms off the lobby where people can vote, noting the entire process takes under five minutes.

Wellner emphasized the importance of people needing to stay informed throughout the crisis, noting that it was the openended nature of the crisis that has many people concerned.