Kenosha County will temporarily shut down nonessential services and close most of its facilities to the public by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, County Executive Jim Kreuser announced today.
This step, aimed at preventing the further spread of COVID-19 in the community, was ordered by Kreuser on a recommendation by Dr. Jen Freiheit, director of the Kenosha County Division of Health.
“This is an unprecedented measure that was by no means taken lightly,” Kreuser said. “County government is here to serve people in their times of greatest need. However, we deemed it necessary to put many of our services on hold until our county, our state and our nation have a better handle on this global health crisis.”
Kreuser said the majority of county employees will continue to work from home, handling whatever duties that may be performed remotely. Some public works and human services activities will continue to occur onsite, with measures taken to minimize exposure for the employees who will report to work.
The Division of Health will continue to offer services related to COVID-19, including investigation of suspected and confirmed cases within Kenosha County.
As an essential service, the Sheriff’s Department will remain in operation, although public visitation to the Kenosha County Jail and Detention Center facilities has been suspended.
Brookside Care Center and Willowbrook Assisted Living will also continue to operate, with only limited public visitation for family of residents in hospice care. Staff in these facilities are being screened daily for symptoms of illness before they are allowed to report for work.
Some activity will continue in the Circuit Court, which is administered by the State of Wisconsin.
Under an order issued by Chief Judge Jason A. Rossell, video conferencing will be used in lieu of in-person appearances for many matters, and jury trials will be suspended until after April 20, or until further order by the court. Individuals with matters pending in court are urged to watch for rescheduling of proceedings.
Other temporary changes to county services include:
- For Division of Health inquiries, please call 262-605-6700 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- The Veterans Service Office will be available to handle inquiries by telephone or email only. The office may be reached at 262-605-6690, or by email via a form at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/forms.aspx?fid=80.
- Aging and Disability Resource Center staff will remain available by phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, at 262-605-6646 or 800-472-8008. All previously scheduled workshops, classes and events scheduled through April will be postponed or canceled, and the loan and supply closet is suspended until further notice.
- To report Child Abuse/Neglect to the Division of Children and Family Services, please call 262-605-6582 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. After hours, please call 262-657-7188.
- The Division of Workforce Development’s Economic Support and Child Support Services will remain available by phone, internet and email from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- For general information about Human Services, please call 262-605-6524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- For general information about non-Human Services functions, please call 262-653-2600 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
- While the Kenosha County Administration Building will be closed to the public, the Register of Deeds Office will continue to process vital records and real estate documents requested online or by phone. See more details at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/522/Register-of-Deeds, or call 262-653-2444.
- The County Treasurer’s Office also has online functions, available at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/589/Treasurer. For more information, please call 262-653-2542.
- For more information about County Clerk’s Office functions, call 262-653-2552.
- Brighton Dale Links and Petrifying Springs Golf Course will be closed effective 7 p.m. today (March 17). Kenosha County is investigating options that would enable the safe reopening of course operations. Kenosha County Parks will remain open, with the implementation of new maintenance initiatives emphasizing “touch-point” sanitation for such park features as playground equipment and restrooms.
- Extension Kenosha County’s educational programs have been canceled, postponed, or changed to an online video conference format. Staff continue to work remotely and can be reached via email or phone, with more information available at https://kenosha.extension.wisc.edu.
Kreuser last week issued a Declaration of Emergency in Kenosha County, enabling temporary measures such as those listed above.
The county executive said that while these changes will be difficult to county residents and employees, protecting public health and safety is the Kenosha County’s top priority.
“I appreciate everyone’s cooperation and understanding as we navigate these uncharted waters,” Kreuser said. “I look forward to resuming regular county business at a time when we know that the threat to public health is lower.”