Brown County Heath Department gives update on COVID-19 response

Testing site opens at Casa Alba Melanie in Green Bay. May 6, 2020. (WBAY Photo)
Testing site opens at Casa Alba Melanie in Green Bay. May 6, 2020. (WBAY Photo)(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 9:24 PM CDT
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In Brown County there is a cumulative total of 2,442 positive cases and 38 deaths as of Friday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health.

Now, we're learning more about the county's response to the pandemic.

Over the last three months the health department has been working with state and federal agencies on its COVID-19 response and has even become a model for others nationwide.

“Our friends from the CDC came, they were on site with us for about a month. They came here April 20 and they stayed through May 18,” said Pam Waise, Public Health Nurse and patient surveillance branch director for the county’s COVID-19 response.

In an update to the County Board of Health earlier this week, health officials say they've become the “poster child” for how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The proud moment here is that they're (CDC) using us, Brown County, as a model for other public health entities to use,” said Waise.

Health officials say the state also looked to the county when setting up community-based isolation and quarantine centers.

“Our plan was developed before the state could provide a plan statewide; and when the state provided a plan, we noticed it was very similar to the Brown County plan,” said Kris Kovacic, the community isolation and quarantine sites director.

Kovacic says they provided isolation or quarantine to 89 individuals with an average stay of 14 days.

At least one of the isolation centers is still running, but didn’t say in the meeting how many quarantine centers were set up.

Another piece of the puzzle is community testing.

Between Casa Alba and the Resch Center, 12,928 people were tested between April 30 and May 22.

“Of everyone who was tested for that focused targeted testing, 3.6 percent of those test were positive and at the site we did have the capacity to test 60 individuals each hour,” said Andrea Kressin, Operations Section Chief for the health department.

The county says of those who tested positive, one percent showed no symptoms.

Health officials say community testing provided them a snapshot of what the spread looks like and how they might be able to respond in the future and plan to analyze the numbers more.

The health department continues to monitor hospital’s testing capacity so they are prepared to activate testing sites again in case of another surge in cases.

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