from Roger Lindgren, Chair.
Coronavirus (COVID-19). Everyone is talking about it. We are all concerned and impacted by it in some way or another. So far, two cases have been confirmed in Bayfield County. The first case involved a person that had traveled to California. This person has completed the 14-day quarantine and is healthy. The second case is “community spread,” meaning that the individual who tested positive had not traveled out of the area and had no known contact with another positively-tested person. Today there have been reports of cases in Ironwood, Michigan and Bad River. We must assume that anyone could be carrying the virus, even if they don’t show symptoms.
Our emergency service providers are prepared to provide public safety and emergency response in whatever way necessary. At the same time, these volunteer resources and local medical facilities’ capacity would easily be overwhelmed by an outbreak of disease. Let’s not panic or suffer anxiety, however; instead, let’s focus on what we can control using measures that have been proven to be effective and are recommended by the Center for Disease Control, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Bayfield County Health Department, and medical personnel. By following their recommendations, we can act carefully to protect ourselves and our families and, just as importantly, we can avoid infecting others.
DON’T CATCH IT – DON’T SPREAD IT
The first step is social distancing. This means keeping six feet between you and other persons outside of your household and following Governor Evers’ Safer at Home Order. This order prohibits public and private gatherings of people not part of a single household, as well as any nonessential travel outside of the home. The complete text of the order can be found online HERE. This order is in effect until 8 a.m. April 24th.
Bayfield County Health has cautioned those returning to their homes from outside the area to self-quarantine for 14 days after return. Those with summer homes have been encouraged to stay away for now. If for some reason you must visit your property, please use extreme care to isolate yourself from persons residing here.
Below are more actions you can take to stay healthy and slow the spread of the virus:
- Minimize your risk of exposure. Observe social distancing and stay home as much as possible. If you need to communicate or meet with others, do so over the phone or using email or teleconferencing tools. Our election process for the April 7 primaries, if not postponed by Governor Evers, will conform to social distancing requirements. You may request an absentee ballot.
- Continue to get regular exercise. Go for walks, get some fresh air – just adhere to the 6’ social distancing rule.
- Wash your hands often and for 20+ seconds. Use soap and warm water. Regular soap is great. The soap kills the fatty membrane that protects the virus, so it dies. Remember that the virus can remain active on plastic, paper, cardboard, door handles, and other surfaces for hours and even days. Wash your hands after touching anything outside your home and disinfect or discard packaging.
- Avoid touching your face. If you have touched anything carrying the virus, this will help prevent you from becoming sick before you wash your hands.
- Get plenty of sleep – 7+ hours for adults – and keep your immune system strong through good diet and vitamins.
- Identify neighbors that are at risk and/or in need. Communicate with them to learn their needs, which may include supplies, food, or medications. Some of this is already taking place on platforms like NextDoor; however, let’s all be on the lookout for neighbors that may have been overlooked. These people may not be part of online groups or email lists.
- Volunteer to assist these residents in need, whether it be to pick up supplies from town, listen to concerns, or arrange assistance you can’t provide. There is also a community aid group that is helping to coordinate needs and volunteers. You can get involved at www.cheqbaycc.org.
Further Actions from the Town of Bell
The Recycling Center has re-opened and will resume the regular schedule. We will enforce social distancing by limiting the building to one car at a time, and persons must unload their own garbage/ recyclables. If you are unable to come to the Recycle Center, please contact Allen Hahn at 715-742-3855 and he will arrange a volunteer to make a pick-up for you.
- Effective Monday March 30th, the Community Center will have limited hours and be open 9 a.m. to noon, Monday – Friday. Two rooms are available for use: the main upstairs room and the learning center room. Each is limited to 10 persons. The restrooms will be open. The Kitchen and Library are closed. Users must maintain the 6’ social distancing and sanitize all tables and furniture used with the provided sanitizing solution. In addition, the cleaning schedule has been increased. If this schedule creates an undue burden, please contact Roger Lindgren at 715-209-7323 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. This will not apply to Town officials or employees that are present for essential town business.
- The Food Shelf will maintain its regular schedule. Pre-filled boxes/bags of food will be delivered to customers outside the building. Customers will be required to maintain the 6’ social distancing, and Food Shelf volunteers will observe work and sanitizing procedures established by The Federal Food Assistance Program (TFAP).
- Playgrounds are closed.
- Town Board meetings will utilize telecommunication. We will conduct a few trials before any public meeting and distribute instructions for participation. We will consider postponing the Annual Town meeting until April 28.
- Road Maintenance will continue as normal.
While these actions may be inconvenient, we all have an obligation to ourselves, our families, and our community to step up and do what we can.
Be safe, and stay healthy,
Click HERE for more information from the Center for Disease Control.
Stay up to date on developments in Bayfield County HERE.