The Kenosha County Joint Information Center today presents the latest installment of its series answering the community’s questions about COVID-19.
The Kenosha County Division of Health is accepting questions by email at COVID19@kenoshacounty.org. Those asked most frequently will be answered each week, in a news release from the Joint Information Center and in a video produced by the Kenosha Police Department.
Kenosha Police Lt. Joe Nosalik, a member of the Joint Information Center, fielded this week’s questions.
These weekly FAQ videos are available on YouTube at http://bit.ly/KCCOVIDplaylist and on the Kenosha County Government Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/kenoshacountygovt.
A written synopsis of this week’s questions and answers follows:
Q: With the increased testing at meat packing facilities throughout the United States, is the U.S. food supply safe?
A: According to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with COVID-19.
Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal viruses that make people ill through contaminated consumption of food, COVID-19 is a virus that causes respiratory illness, and foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.
It is more likely that you would contract COVID-19 by touching an infected surface and then touching your face. Continue to practice all of the hygiene protocols we have discussed.
Q: What is going on with testing for COVID-19 in and around Kenosha County? There seem to be new options coming online every couple of days?
A: Yes, fortunately, there are now more options for testing in our region.
The latest is a pop-up drive-thru testing center that the Wisconsin National Guard is running next week at Burlington High School. This testing is open to anyone age 5 or older who lives or works in Wisconsin and is showing symptoms of COVID-19 – and no appointment is needed. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, May 11-15.
The Kenosha County Division of Health and the Kenosha Community Health Center are continuing to operate a drive-thru testing center at Gateway Technical College — although a referral from a health care provider is needed for this service.
Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha opened its drive-thru testing center on Friday. To use this facility, a referral from an Aurora physician is required. Froedtert South has also been operating a similar, by-referral testing center at its Kenosha Medical Center campus.
Q: When will the order that long-term care facility employees cannot have a second job be lifted? I work in a community based residential facility and have a non-healthcare essential second job, and I would like to know when I can return to my second job.
A: We agree that this is a hardship. This order may not be lifted for some time given the fact that we are not yet seeing a decline in positive cases, and those who live in long-term care and assisted living facilities are our most vulnerable populations.
The facilities that are having positive cases are seeing them come from staff — the only ones left to enter the buildings. As such, the Kenosha County Division of Health does not foresee lifting the order in the near future.
Q: Why do medical professionals expect a second wave in the fall? Is it because that’s what happened in 1918 after a few weeks of quarantine, when thousands of people went out to celebrate the end of World War I? That second wave was deadlier than the first. We know how people act; is this how the virus will act?
A: Medical professionals are using information learned from past viruses such as influenza and other strains of coronavirus.
It has been stated that experts are suspecting an increase in cases of COVID-19 in the fall or winter. It is a natural reaction to have an increase in cases when Safer-at-Home restrictions are lifted.
Public Health officials are encouraging individuals and facilities to prepare for this increase through hygiene practices, sick-day policies and continued social distancing.
As mentioned in your question, it is well known that a large gathering in 1918 brought on devastating results. It is because of this knowledge that health officials have shared instructions on how to best protect our population from the same mistake.
Q: Who I would contact if I wanted to be a volunteer for testing the vaccine?
A: Information regarding COVID-19 vaccine trials occurring in this area is not available through the Kenosha County Division of Health. You may find more information on the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website, at https://www.niaid.nih.gov/clinical-trials/vaccine-research-center-clinical-studies.
For more information or to volunteer for a vaccine research study, call 866-833-LIFE or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is Kenosha County doing in response to COVID 19 workplace cases?
A: The health and safety of our local businesses and their employees is a priority to the Kenosha County Division of Health. We are working with employers to educate them on what steps they need to take to prevent employee or customer exposure as well as what steps need to be taken if they have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19.
Employers are given guidelines on how to develop policies and procedures related to COVID-19, including:
- Prompt identification of sick employees
- Identification of those who have had close contact with a positive coworker
- Quarantine and isolation guidelines.
Employers are also given instructions on cleaning and disinfection of workspaces, as well as good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we provide employers with educational flyers for their employees.
For more information, see websites that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC have dedicated to giving guidance to businesses on how to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19, available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/employers.htm and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html
Q: How safe is someone going to their doctor’s office appointment and the lab?
A: Hospitals and doctor’s offices are taking extra precautions to protect their patients from contracting COVID-19.
It may be helpful to call the office you plan to visit ahead of time and ask them what measures they have put in place. You can ask if it is recommended that you wear a mask, and whether is there a different entrance or waiting area for those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Q: I have a pavilion rented in July at Petrifying Springs Park for a family picnic. Wondering if I should cancel? If restrooms would be closed or we’re not allowed to have a group of around 50 people, would I be able to get a refund?
A: No decisions have been made yet regarding rentals in Kenosha County Parks this summer, as we await further guidance from state and federal public health agencies. If reservations do need to be canceled, full refunds will be given.
As for restrooms, there are two facilities that are currently open at Petrifying Springs Park and are sanitized regularly. Our county and city parks to remain open and we encourage people to get out and get some fresh air — but please be sure to remember to follow social distancing guidelines.
Q: Is there any update as to when tennis courts can open?
A: Tennis courts remain closed for the foreseeable future. While golf courses were able to reopen recently under the state’s modified Safer-at-Home order, tennis courts present different challenges with respect to social distancing.
Joint Information Center disclaimers:
The Joint Information Center will not provide medical diagnoses or legal advice.
If you have a question regarding the welfare of a person you are unable to check on yourself, please contact your local law enforcement agency. The COVID19@kenoshacounty.org email address is not monitored 24/7, and is not intended to replace the traditional request for law enforcement or emergency service.
Those seeking immediate answers to questions regarding COVID-19 are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or visit the 2-1-1 website, https:// 211wisconsin.communityos.org.
More information about COVID-19 is also available at: