Richland Center, WI:  A virtual Emergency Operations Center meeting was held this morning to share information between Richland County officials and community partners in a joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Congressman Ron Kind’s Congressional Aide, Tim Hundt attended the virtual briefing again today and extended his support to the Richland County community.

Public Health Manager/Local Health Officer, Rose Kohout announced that as of 2:00pm Wednesday, October 7th the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed that in the state of Wisconsin there were 138,698 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 1,493,304 have tested negative, there were 1,415 deaths, and 7,951 hospitalizations due to COVID-19.  Of those that tested positive for COVID-19 in the state of Wisconsin, 6% have been hospitalized which is an increase from earlier reports this week.

Emergency Operations partners have decided to offer more up-to-date local data on the condition of our county that might not match the numbers offered by the State later today.  Public Health Manager/Local Health Officer, Rose Kohout announced that as of 2:00pm Thursday, October 8th there are now 261 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Richland County, 5,865 have tested negative, there are 143 active cases, and 114 individuals who had tested positive have been released from quarantine.  Of those 261 individuals who tested positive, 257 individuals have been recovering at home, 11 have been hospitalized at some point, and there were 4 COVID-19 related deaths.  Kohout reports that the virus is active in our community and Richland County citizens need to stay home if possible, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay 6 feet from others to help reduce the community spread now more than ever.

FREE COVID-19 drive-thru community testing will be offered again on Monday, October 12th from 9am-1pm at the Richland County Fairgrounds.  Individuals have to be a Richland County resident and meet specific testing criteria.  Tests will be available on a FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVE basis and only 120 tests are available.  120 individuals were tested at the event offered on Monday, October 5th and the results of those tests will be included in the daily Richland County totals once they are received and verified.  The collaborative partners will continue to evaluate the needs of the community and may offer additional community testing events in the future.

The Richland Hospital continues to offer COVID-19 drive-thru testing from 1 pm to 4 pm Monday thru Friday for hospital & clinic patients displaying COVID-19 symptoms or to those that have a confirmed exposureAll persons requesting testing will need to call the Richland Hospital and be registered BEFORE arriving at the drive-thru.  The Richland Hospital Clinic campus continues to offer voluntary medical procedures and Primary Care visits, while also continuing to offer Tele-Health patient visits.  Richland Hospital Clinic patients needing hands-on medical care for any COVID-19 symptoms should call the hospital main number (608) 647-6321 or clinic main number (608) 647-6161 BEFORE coming to the facility.

Individuals who have been tested for COVID-19 WILL receive their results from a testing site or healthcare provider.  However, Public Health continues to prioritize contacting cases and contacts at highest risk, and due to record high numbers of COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, has reached capacity.  It is important that the public knows that some cases and contacts may not receive a phone call from Public Health at this time. For this reason, we ask that any newly diagnosed person with COVID-19 begin to isolate themselves immediately and go to the Richland County COVID-19 webpage at https://covid.co.richland.wi.us/if-you-are-sick-or-have-been-exposed/  in order to receive isolation guidance.  Cases should also personally notify anyone they have had close contact with about their positive COVID-19 test result, direct their contacts to quarantine, and follow the directions on the website. This notification should be shared with any person in contact with the positive case while they had symptoms AND during the 48 hours before symptoms developed.  *To clarify, those who are tested WILL receive their results from a testing site or healthcare provider, but our department may not call you to complete an investigation. 

The Ithaca School District announced that they will transition to virtual learning for at least 2 weeks October 12th – October 23rd.  The Richland School District transitioned to at least 2 weeks of virtual learning October 5th – October 16th.  Both School Boards have additional meetings scheduled to revisit a possible return to face-to-face instruction.  It was noted that UW-Platteville/Richland has no plans to transition to all virtual learning at this time.

Richland Center Tourism Coordinator Marty Richards announced that there is a NEW Paycheck Protection Program-Loan Forgiveness application for small businesses.  Additional information can be found at www.gorcchamber.com.

Richland County Community Partners shared the status of their individual organization’s emergency response, reviewed staffing levels and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) inventory, and discussed priority topics to assist with preventing the further transmission of COVID-19 in our community.

Citizens are encouraged to check out the Richland County COVID-19 Dashboard which offers helpful data to better understand the impact of the pandemic globally and locally:  https://covid.co.richland.wi.us/2020/04/21/richland-county-covid-19-dashboard/.  For the most up-to-date COVID-19 information, follow Richland County Health & Human Services on Facebook or consult the following websites:

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