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RACINE COUNTY – County officials Thursday urged residents to follow recommendations for preventing COVID-19 virus transmission after seeing a sharp spike in new cases during September. Jurisdictions covered by the Central Racine County Health Department (CRCHD) are now in the “very high risk” category.

The CRCHD covers the Villages of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant, North Bay, Raymond, Rochester, Union Grove, and Yorkville, the Towns of Dover and North Bay, the Town and Village of Waterford, and the Town and City of Burlington. Those areas had a 275 percent increase in reported COVID-19 cases last month and are now seeing more patients than at any time during the pandemic, which started in February of this year.

As of Wednesday, Racine County has had 5,349 positive COVID-19 tests and 98 deaths attributed to the virus. There have been 373 new cases reported since Oct. 1.

“The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases is deeply, deeply concerning. It’s crucial that residents maintain social distance, avoid large gatherings, wear a face-covering in public, stay home when sick or quarantined, and practice good hygiene. By doing so, residents protect not only themselves but their fellow community members – particularly our most vulnerable populations,” Margaret Gesner, CRCHD health officer, said in a news release. “We all are responsible for ensuring that our hospitals are not overwhelmed, protecting the safety of our healthcare workers, first responders and other frontline workers, and safeguarding our children, family members, and community.”

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Added County Executive Jonathan Delagrave: “It’s clear that COVID-19 is still a major threat to public health. It’s imperative that residents continue to do all they can to protect themselves and others.”  Delagrave himself tested positive for COVID-19 this summer and was quarantined.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order, which took effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, limits some indoor public gatherings to no more than 25 percent of the total occupancy for a room or building. The order applies to gatherings in spaces open to the public, including stores, restaurants/bars, and ticketed venues and events. The order runs through Nov. 9.

The Governor also opened up an alternative treatment facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park to handle an increased level of cases as hospitalization levels surge.

In Thursday’s release, the CRCHD noted that the local area is mirroring trends seen across Wisconsin, which now ranks third in the country for new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “This rise follows Labor Day, the start of some schools an increase in extracurricular activities as well as ongoing parties, weddings and other social gatherings,” CRCHD stated.

In neighboring Kenosha County, the Kenosha County Division of Health on Wednesday strongly urged residents and businesses to comply with the statewide emergency order. 

As of Wednesday, Kenosha County reported 3,8158 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the outbreak. Sixty-eight residents have died from the disease in the county. 

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...