2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Buffalo County Health Department is following the COVID-19 situation and working with healthcare and community partners to keep our community safe. This is a rapidly changing situation and we will update this page weekdays at 3:00 pm.
Buffalo County Update
- There are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buffalo County.
- To protect yourself and loved ones, all community members should practice social distancing.
- As this situation develops, there will be people in Buffalo County who have had contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19. Those people will be instructed to stay home for 14 days and during that time, the Health Department will monitor these individuals daily for signs and symptoms of illness.
- The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) has released guidance and several resources for county/municipal clerks to prepare polling places and poll workers for Election Day.
For daily Buffalo County post updates:
- Safer At Home Order
- About COVID-19
- For Individuals and Families
- For Childcare and Schools
- For Travelers
- For Healthcare Professionals
- For EMS
- For Law Enforcement
- For Businesses
- For Community Events and Gatherings
- For Managing Stress and Anxiety
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Governor Evers has issued a #SaferAtHome order effective Wednesday, March 25th at 8am that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order.
There is a new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) that was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It has spread to other countries, and the first case was confirmed in the US on January 21, 2020. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Governor Evers declared this a Public Health Emergency in Wisconsin on March 12, 2020.
- Shortness of breath / trouble breathing
How is COVID-19 Spread?
We still need to learn more and information is changing every day. However, like influenza, human coronaviruses usually spread from a person who has the virus to others through:
- Small droplets from the nose or mouth that are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or exhales.
- Possibly by touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them.
Who is at higher risk for COVID-19?
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes
- If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, take these actions to reduce your risk of getting sick
Call a doctor if the following two conditions are true:
- You have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing
- You have traveled to a state or country with ongoing spread or had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested.
If the above two conditions are not true, testing is not recommended.
If your symptoms are too severe to be managed at home, call 911.
General COVID-19 Resources
On 3/18/2020 Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order waiving work search requirements and modifying the availability requirements for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.
If you have additional unemployment questions, see the Department of Workforce Development’s COVID-19 frequently asked questions.
Effective April 1, 2020 - U.S. Department of Labor: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
State of WI Agency Resources
Our state agencies are developing guidance and resources for Wisconsinites to stay healthy and make informed choices for themselves and their families during this time. These agencies will continue to update their websites with the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19.
The best way to prevent COVID-19 or any illness is to avoid being exposed to it. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. However, the following everyday preventive actions can protect you and others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you feel sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with a regular household cleaning product.
- Follow the advice of your healthcare providers and national, state, and local public health. National and local authorities have the most up-to-date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in our area. They are the best sources to advise you on what you should be doing to protect yourself.
Effective March 25, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers issued a Safer At Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel with exceptions outlined in the order. The order also defines essential businesses including childcare and instructs childcare settings to prioritize care for families with parents who work in essential services. See order for details
On March 18, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers issued an order to restrict the size of all child care settings. Centers may not operate with more than 10 staff present at a time and may not operate with more than 50 children present at a time. This order is effective as of 8:00 a.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020 until further notice.
Following CDC and State guidance, we are recommending that childcare facilities remain open. Childcare is a vital resource for many of our emergency responders and healthcare personnel who are actively assisting our friends, family, and neighbors.
To help communities respond to much needed childcare services, the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) has begun to offer flexibility in some regulation rules to allow providers to meet an increased demand. Western Dairyland Child Care Partnership staff have been in communication with providers regarding these regulation changes. Western Dairyland Childcare Partnership is the agency for Eau Claire County that connects parents with childcare services and develops childcare professionals. Western Dairyland Childcare Partnership is working with the DCF and local childcare providers to assess and update openings at childcare centers. There are current openings with regulated providers in our service area.
COVID-19 Child Care Resources: For Essential Workers, For Providers, For Families (Wisconsin Department of Children and Families)
Individuals seeking assistance in finding a childcare provider can reach out to Western Dairyland Child Care Partnership Resource & Referral at 1-800-782-1880 or www.childcarereferral.org.
On 3/20/2020, Gov. Tony Evers issued an updated order on the ban of mass gatherings consisting of 10 people or more throughout Wisconsin. This order includes public and private schools and is in effect until further notice.
Effective 3/25/20, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency Safer At Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel for Wisconsin residents, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order.
Travel within the United States
Following recommendation from Wisconsin DHS, the Health Department recommends against all non-essential domestic travel to states with “community transmission.” A map of states with community transmission can be found on the CDC website. The situation is evolving rapidly.
All travelers returning from states with community transmission should self-quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor symptoms for COVID-19. Information on how to self-quarantine and self-monitor for symptoms can be found on the Wisconsin DHS website.
Travel outside the United States
Travel is banned to China, Iran, and all European countries. Avoid all nonessential travel to any geographic area with a Level 3 Travel Notice. Older adults and those with chronic health conditions should also avoid travel to areas with a Level 2 Travel Notice.
Additional Travel Resources
Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 8am, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency Safer At Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel for Wisconsin residents, withs ome exceptions as clarified and defined in the order. Essential businesses or operations are also detailed in this order.
See Safer At Home Order tab above for more information.
Resources for businesses:
- Preparing your workplace for COVID-19 handout
- Interim guidance for business and employers
- Doing Farm Business during COVID-19 - UW-Extension
- CDC cleaning/disinfection for facilities with suspected/confirmed cases
- National Restaurant Association - what can you do handout
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): disinfectants for use against COVID-19
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 (OSHA)
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for employers and businesses
Effective 3/25/2020, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency Safer at Home order that prohibits all public and private gatherings of any number of people that are not part of a single household or living unit, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Things you can do to support yourself
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
If COVID-19 is making you feel overwhelmed or frightened, support is available at this number: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
If your family is experiencing a mental health crisis, help is available from the following resources:
Northwest Connections is a regional resource that provides both telephone and mobile crisis services. The contact number for Northwest Connections is 1-888-552-6642.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness. Call and Chat are available. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Great Rivers 211
Great Rivers 2-1-1 is a confidential community information, referral, and crisis line service that is available 24 hours a day. Great Rivers 2-1-1 staff are trained to provide supportive listening and emotional encouragement to individuals struggling with the stress and anxiety of these uncertain times. These services are available not only to those overwhelmed about the COVID-19 pandemic, but to all individuals experiencing difficulty. Great Rivers 2-1-1 staff connect individuals experiencing more elevated mental health crises to appropriate services when this is needed. Call, Text, and Chat are available.
The Center for Suicide Awareness brings help, hope, and resources to families and individuals in our communities through programs that reach others where they are at and when they need it most. Of the many Center programs and initiatives, bringing HOPELINE to all of Wisconsin, has given individuals across our state free emotional support anytime, from anywhere by simply texting: HOPELINE to 741741.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth. Through a toll-free telephone number, it operates The Trevor Lifeline, a confidential service that offers trained counselors. The stated goals of the project are to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people under 25, as well as to offer guidance and resources to parents and educators in order to foster safe, accepting, and inclusive environments for all youth, at home and at school. Call, Chat, and Text is available.
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that’s available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. The caring, qualified responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances. Call, Chat, and Text are available.
If you feel you need ongoing mental health therapy services, please reach out to Buffalo County at 608-685-4412.