Winnebago County sees a spike in coronavirus cases

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 4:30 PM CDT
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It's been nearly three months since the coronavirus pandemic brought many people and businesses to a halt. People lived under safer at home orders for more than a month, to flatten the curve. And while it is working, one local county is dealing with a recent spike in its number of coronavirus cases.

Unlike the rest of Northeast Wisconsin, Winnebago County is seeing a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, with the majority of those tied to not only a specific age group, but also a certain city.

"Of the 129 total cases of the 20-29 year olds, a hundred of them were in the City of Oshkosh or 77.5% of them," says Winnebago County Health Officer Doug Gieryn.

The spike, according to county health officer Doug Gieryn, became very noticeable last week. That's when county officials asked the state for help in trying to figure out why it was seeing an increase -- while the number of cases in other communities were going down.

Gieryn says, "Starting last week we really started sounding the alarm with DHS with taking a closer look at this, with us, utilizing some of their epidemiology capacity and expertise to really try and help to guide us."

According to Gieryn, a lot of the new cases are tied to the safer at home orders being lifted and the reopening of non-essential businesses, like bars and restaurants. Large gatherings of younger adults over the memorial day weekend also led to some of the positive test results.

"What we're seeing is we have this age group working in healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities, in restaurants, in taverns, all locations where they're coming into contact with the public and have the potential to infect others and that can really drive the community outbreak," says Gieryn.

Gieryn understand physically distancing is tough for everyone, and especially those in the 20 to 29 year old age group, but he stresses if you don't feel well, stay home, adding, "It's less about how concerned you are about your illness//but it's what is the impact for others that we're really trying to get across."

Winnebago County officials say they will continue to research the test results and visit establishments connected to COVID-19 cases with hopes to continue to educate them about steps to take to stop the spread.