A press announcement from the department’s Public Information Officer Judy Burrows
For Immediate Release March 13, 2020— In accordance with guidance provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health, Marathon County Health Department is recommending that all nonessential gatherings of 250 or more people be cancelled or postpone in order to slow the spread of this disease within and between communities in Wisconsin.
While there have not been confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Marathon County to date, the Marathon County Health Department is working to slow the spread of the person-to-person transmission, particularly those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe disease.
The Marathon County Health Department supports the decisions of any event organizers that elect to cancel or postpone events with less than 250 attendees in order to protect our communities. Organizers to consider cancelling when these conditions apply:
• Potential for attendance from older adults, individuals with underlying health care conditions, or other vulnerable groups
• Potential for attendance from individuals from a wide range of geographic areas across Wisconsin, the United States, or other countries
• The setting of the event, particularly if it involves sustained interaction between attendees in close physical proximity
The intent of the limitation is to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that the local health systems have the appropriate capacity to handle an increase in cases in our area with quality care. Large events have the potential to expose the community to COVID-19 and pose a threat to our most vulnerable populations. The current outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in significantly more severe illness and deaths for elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions.
Marathon County Health Department also recommends that those who provide gathering opportunities for older adults, such as senior centers and dining facilities, plan for alternative ways to serve them to reduce COVID-19 disease transmission.
We understand that these recommendations are very difficult for individuals and our communities. The recommendation to limit gatherings is in effect for 30 days. Marathon County Health Department will be working with the state, to determine if the recommendation will continue past the 30 day mark.
Please note that this recommendation does not yet apply to closing schools, but rather school-related gatherings.
Marathon County is working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 for our community by monitoring travelers using the CDC recommended guidance, preparing to monitor those who may test positive, coordinating with partners, staying up to date on the latest information and guidance, helping reduce stigma on the virus, and providing up to date information for the public.