June 19, 2020 – Washington/Ozaukee, WI – On Monday, June 15, 2020 the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced new data available to all local and tribal health departments statewide. This data allows health departments to provide greater detail on local dashboards on the number of cases in each county, the trajectory of cases, and current severity.
This week’s data shows the trajectory of cases in Ozaukee County is flat, without large decreases or increases in case numbers, and puts Ozaukee County in the moderate category for current severity or burden. Washington County remains in the moderately high category for case severity; however, the overall number of cases has decreased.
Because Washington and Ozaukee Counties’ data has shown improvement in the severity, burden and trajectory of the COVID-19 virus, the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department has updated its recommendations.
Effective immediately, the Order of the Health Officer: Immediate Lockdown of All Long-Term Care Facilities, dated May 18, 2020 is lifted and no longer in effect. In addition, the capacity guidelines for businesses and gatherings have been increased.
In March, Kirsten Johnson issued Orders to “lock-down” all long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and memory care facilities, and limit all in-person and non-essential outside visitation to protect the most vulnerable in our community. These guidelines mirror requirements of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), with which long-term care facilities licensed through CMS must abide.
A second order required all staffing agencies or similar businesses, including health care providers who provide staff at long-term care facilities in Washington and Ozaukee Counties, to disclose to the facility whether assigned staff have been exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, all individuals who obtain employment at long-term care facilities or who provide health care or similar services in long-term care facilities were required to disclose to their employer(s) if they are working in more than one long-term care facility in these counties.
Finally, under this Order, PPE was required to be worn by employees that transport residents of long-term care facilities, and all vehicles were required to be cleaned each day. The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department still strongly recommends these protective approaches to be considered by long-term care facilities when reviewing their own policies. Facilities should look to guidance provided by CMS, DHS, and their own legal counsel.