WKEB Local News

Covid 19 Cases Spike in Taylor County

Covid 19 Case Spike in Taylor County  Tuesday, October 13, 2020


  WKEB/WIGM Radio has been informed by the Taylor County Health Department of a drastic spike in Covid 19 cases.  Patty Krug of the Taylor County Health Department and Colleen Handrichs, Taylor County Emergency Management Director stopped by the K99 Studios and shared updated information and guidelines in the fight against Covid 19.


Covid 19 Update Part 1


Covid 19 Update Part 2

Frequently Asked Questions About Emergency Order #3, Limiting Public Gatherings

Frequently Asked Questions About Emergency Order #3, Limiting Public Gatherings


On October 6, 2020, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued Emergency Order #3, Limiting Public Gatherings (“order”), to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19, effective October 8, 2020 at 8:00 a.m.


Why are public gatherings being limited? In September and October, Wisconsin became the nation’s hot spot in the COVID-19 pandemic. During the week of September 27-October 3, Wisconsin had the third highest rate of new cases and third highest total number of new cases in the nation. This rapid surge has quickly expanded to every age group and every part of the state, especially to the Fox Valley and Northeastern Wisconsin. Every part of the state now has high or very high disease activity levels, with widespread community transmission. Public gatherings of people, even a single event, have fueled the rapid spread of COVID-19. Some Wisconsin hospitals are already struggling to keep up with care demands – both because of bed space and staffing shortages – and we have to do what we can to slow down the spread of this disease so our health care workers can keep up.


What does the order prohibit? First, this order does not shut down anything. Instead, it just prevents situations where there are too many people in a single indoor public space at one time. The order prohibits large groups of people from gathering in indoor spaces that are open to the public (unless an exception applies). The order prohibits groups larger than 25% of the indoor room’s occupancy, as determined by the local municipality. For example, if the local municipality sets a capacity limit of 100 people in a given indoor room, only 25 people would be able to be in that room. A place is open to the public if it is accessible to the general public, such as stores, restaurants, bars, or ticketed events.


How long will the order last? The order goes into effect at 8:00 a.m. on October 8. The order will remain in effect for two incubation cycles of COVID-19 (2 weeks per cycle), ending on November 6, 2020.


Does the order apply to outdoor spaces or events? No, the order only applies to indoor spaces. The order does not apply to outdoor areas, such as park shelters, outdoor dining areas, or playgrounds.


Does the order apply to businesses? For businesses, the order only applies to indoor spaces that are accessible to the public, such as stores, bars, restaurants, and office lobbies. The order does not apply to a business’s outdoor space, such as patios or outdoor dining areas. The order also does not apply to a business’s indoor space if the indoor space is not accessible to the public. For example, most factories, warehouses, storage areas, office areas, and other business locations are not accessible to the public because they are only accessible to employees or invited guests.


What about indoor ticketed events? The order applies to ticketed events if any member of the public or any member of a group of people can get a ticket. For example, anyone can purchase a movie ticket and, as a result, the order applies to movie theaters. Similarly, a ticketed event that is specifically for lawyers must comply with the order if it is open to all lawyers.


Does the order apply to weddings? It depends on the wedding and reception. The order applies to indoor, non-religious weddings or receptions that are open to the public. The order does not apply to: • Private wedding ceremonies or receptions. • Religious wedding ceremonies. • Outdoor weddings or receptions. But remember, large weddings are not a good idea right now. There have been multiple examples of weddings becoming “super-spreader” events, where many people have gotten sick and even died from COVID-19 as a result of attending a wedding.


Does the order apply to funerals? It depends on the funeral. The order applies to indoor, non-religious funeral gatherings that are open to the public. The order does not apply to: • Private funerals or services. • Religious funerals or services. • Outdoor funerals or services.


Does the order apply to private residences or homes? Private residences are exempt from the public gathering limitations, unless the residence is holding an event that is open to the public where anyone who wants to attend may attend. If a private residence holds an event that is open to the public, the event must be limited to no more than 10 people who do not live in the residence.


Does the order apply to the entire state? Yes, because COVID-19 is spreading exponentially throughout the entire state, the order applies to every part of Wisconsin.


Who is exempted from the order? The following places and institutions are exempted from the order, even if they have indoor spaces accessible to the public: • Child care settings, before and after school programs, virtual learning support programs, and other child welfare locations listed in the order. • 4K-12 schools. • Colleges and universities. • Health care and public health operations. • Human services operations, such as long-term care and assisted living facilities. • Public infrastructure operations, such as food processing and production facilities, airports, construction projects, and public transportation. • State and local government operations and facilities. • Religious events, political events, demonstrations, and other events with protected First Amendment speech. • State facilities under the control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court or the Wisconsin Legislature. • Federal facilities under the control of the federal government.


For a complete list of exemptions, please refer directly to Emergency Order #3.


Does the order apply to Tribal Nations? No, as sovereign nations, the order does not apply to Tribal Nations. In addition, many Tribal Nations already have health orders in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Does this order supersede local orders? Local governments may enact local orders that are the same or more restrictive than this order. The state order only supersedes parts of a local order that are less stringent than the state order. For example, if a local order permits up to 50% capacity in an indoor space open to the public, the state order would supersede it because the state order limits capacity to 25% in an indoor space open to the public.


How is the order enforced? Local officials can issue a civil forfeiture under Section 252.25 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  

What Covid Can Do To a Healthy Person

What Covid Can Do To a Healthy Person-a First Hand Account  Friday, Oct 2, 2020


  As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, many people may know of someone, perhaps close to them, who has contracted this disease.   For Adam Haenel, what began as a possible sinus headache, led to something far worse.  His wife, Mandy Haenel recently joined K99's Russ Gowey and graciously shared their first hand account of Adam's battle with the Coivid-19 from diagnosis, hospitalization and, fortunately, recovery.  


Mandy Haenel w/K99's Russ Gowey







Taylor County Board: Covid, Wolves, Broadband And More

Taylor County Board: Covid, Wolves, Broadband And More 9/30/20


  The Taylor County Board of supervisors met on Wednesday. Just 12 hours after the presidential debate debacle, Pastor Daniel from Immanuel Lutheran opened the meeting with a prayer seeking common sense from our leaders. Chairman Jim Metz recognized Patty Krug, the director of the Taylor County Health Department. Ms. Krug gave an update on the Covid situation in Taylor County. The number of positive cases has been on the rise with 10 new positive cases reported on Tuesday. The energies required to follow through with the contact tracing process has resulted in the Health Department staff working many extra hours. Patty Krug indicated that they have received push back from some individuals who are upset about cancellations. She asked that citizens remember the guidelines objectives are to minimize the spread of the pandemic. In the wake of dealing with upset individuals, Ms Krug asked that upset individuals “Remember that we’re people too”. Prior to the Health Department staff leaving the room the board gave them a standing ovation.

  The board recognized Jeff Ludwig upon his retirement after 35 years of service which resulted in being promoted to the director of the county’s buildings, grounds and parks. Mr. Ludwig thanked his co-workers and committee members for their dedication.

  The next resolution was a classic “Not in my backyard” with the board going on record as opposing the relocation of problem wolves in Taylor County. One of the management control methods which the DNR has used to address depredation by wolves is to trap the wolves and move them to other counties. This methodology has been found to be ineffective as these wolves continue to cause damage after relocation. The board went on record as opposing the relocation of wolves into Taylor County. It’s estimated that Wisconsin has 256 wolf packs.

  The board showed their concern for the recent closure of the Verso Mills in Wisconsin Rapids and Duluth. The forest products industry is the number one employer in Taylor County based on both employment and economic output. Over the last 5 years 10% of all mixed hardwood pulpwood from the Taylor County forest was purchased by Verso. It’s estimated that the Rapids mill utilizes over 25% of all mixed hardwood produced in the state. The board passed a resolution which requested state officials to direct energies to allow continuation of the mill operations.

  The board approved an amendment to the county’s code of employment which struck a sentence which read “Except Accountant who will work a 35 hour week”.

  The Taylor County Board had approved the concept of moving toward high speed internet and a new highway shop in previous meetings. Funding for those items and other projects would be from borrowed money. To begin the process of borrowing money the board must approve an initial resolution authorizing the county to borrow up to $14 million. With interest rates at historic lows, Forest County recently borrowed $5 million for 1.3%. As required by law the subject resolution sets forward the intent to borrow. Each specific project will require future board approval for the requested amount. The board unanimously approved the borrowing of up to $14 million for the cost of a broadband project, highway shop replacement, highway and road projects, dam repair projects, cell phone tower construction and the acquisition of land and equipment.

  There were two requests for funding from the county’s powerline impact fee fund. Al Riemer addressed the board with a request from the Village of Stetsonville for $15,000 to be utilized for restoring the village pond. The pond provides water for fire suppression and recreational opportunities. The pond has been damaged by muskrats and the edges have eroded. The vote to approve $15,000 for upgrades to the Stetsonville pond was unanimously adapted. The second request for funding was from the Centennial Community Center in Stetsonville. Ron Zuleger told the board that a 40 by 75 foot shelter which is adjacent to the community center needed extensive repairs and a walk in cooler was failing. Several board members recalled approving a cost sharing contribution to Jump River, Gilman and Rib Lake for repairs to community buildings. The board voted 12 yes and 5 no to provide half of the requested $15,000 and granted $7,500 to the Centennial Community Center for repairs.  Gene Knoll asked how much money is in the Powerline Impact Fee fund and Larry Brandl indicated that at the end of August the fund totalled $569,682.

  A new county highway shop is proposed to be built in Rib Lake. The building is planned to be 120 feet by 130 feet. The project includes a salt and sand storage building. The resolution called for the county to purchase just over 15 acres of land from Joe Desris for the sale price of $63,400. Supervisor Rollie Thums expressed his concerns about putting a salt and sand shed so close to Highway D. He proposed pushing the building to the back of the Desris property. It was pointed out that a natural gas line crosses the parcel, in addition to the additional cost of a long driveway and utilities. After discussion the board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of land for a new highway shop across the street from the Rib Lake middle school. The purchase will be contingent on approval from the Rib Lake Village Board.

  County Clerk Andria Farrand told the board that the Taylor County Child Support Agency received the Federal Fiscal Year 2019 Certificate of Excellence award. The agency was one of 17 child support agencies honored this year.

  In other correspondence to the board, Ron Lekie thanked the board for the $5,000 donation toward the Whittlesey Lions new childrens park which had a total cost of $15,000. Mr. Lekie invited all area families to stop by and enjoy the beauty of the Whittlesey Lions Park.

  At the present time the city of Medford and two townships in Taylor County have zoning. The townships include Grover and Little Black. Hammel town chairman Steve Deml addressed the county board indicating that Hammel officials are considering adapting zoning ordinances. Mr. Deml indicated that the town board is trying to be proactive in protecting water quality and to make future development more orderly. To avoid possible conflicts he asked the board if the county was considering zoning. Lester Lewis indicated that he supported zoning at the town level and not the county level. The county board voted unanimously that there is no county plan for comprehensive zoning. Recently in an effort to deter a super dairy, Little Black adapted zoning. The next township to be zoned may be the Town of Hammel.

  Mike Bub gave an update on the county’s efforts to provide county wide broadband coverage. The plan includes setting the infrastructure for fiber optics. Recently the group has applied for a portion of a $25 million grant program from the state. Mike Bub told the board that more information and alliances with various providers are being forged. It is hoped that the project can be completed in 2022.


2020-10 | 2020-09


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