Information at a glance

By Bob Zientara

A person in their 60s, with no underlying health conditions, is the fourth and latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic in Barron County, the Department of Health & Human Services reported Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The latest death was reported by the department after the three-day holiday weekend ending Monday, Sept. 7, on Labor Day.

In addition, the county reported that customers were subject to COVID-19 exposure if they were in one of three Rice Lake establishments: from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Moose Lodge, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. the same day at Mary’s Midway Bar, and from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, at Mr. Bob’s Bar.

“If you were at any of these places during the provided time frames and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, stay home, do not go to work and contact a healthcare provider to be tested,” the county press release said.

Those who were exposed but don’t have symptoms should pay attention to their health for the next two weeks, the county added.

The statement added that because the three establishments are on the list, it doesn’t “mean the establishment did something wrong (and) does not mean the establishment should be closed. All establishments are contacted before being listed and are given guidance on how to reduce future risk to staff and customers.”

Public Health spokesperson Sarah Turner responded to a set of questions late Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 8.

News-Shield: Has the county received updates on vaccine development, either from DHS or CDC?

Turner: We are not getting any special updates on vaccine development. We have been told to update our mass vaccination clinic plans to make sure we are prepared to distribute the vaccine as soon as it is ready.

News-Shield: It appears as if the pace of new Barron County COVID-19 cases is lower compared to what it was during the summer months. Is that accurate?

Turner: Barron County was in a unique situation (because there was) a large, employer-based outbreak (at Cumberland’s Seneca Foods) that significantly increased our numbers. (Later statistics show) a downward trend in the number of cases. This can be found at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/county.htm

News-Shield: Now that school has started, will Public Health be monitoring schools for new cases? Do school nurses report symptoms to your office?

Turner: Public Health is working very closely with our schools. DHS did give very restrictive guidelines for keeping kids out of school when they have any signs and symptoms of COVID and recommending COVID testing. We are communicating regularly on students and staff who are ill and/or are in quarantine or isolating due to COVID.