Doug Schneider, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Published 3: 26 p.m. CT April 16, 2020 | Updated 4: 29 p.m. CT April 16, 2020
GREEN BAY – In Brown County’s largest increase since the pandemic began, the number of COVID-19 cases among county residents rose by 35 from Wednesday to Thursday.
The county has had 139 residents diagnosed with the coronavirus through mid-day Thursday. The county is also reporting COVID-19 cases among five Oneida Nation members who may live in Brown or Outagamie counties. Additionally five patients from outside the county are being treated in Green Bay hospitals.
County officials have not linked the increase to people being at a particular place or event, but disclosed that most of the new patients are in ZIP codes 54302, 54304 or 54311. That means they live in Ashwaubenon, eastern Green Bay or Bellevue.
Ted Shove, speaking for the county Public Health Department, said Thursday afternoon that the cases are believed to be the result of “community spread” — contact with a person locally — rather than through travel out of state or out of the country.
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It’s too early, though, to say if the new cases are a result of people having come in contact on election day April 7 with people who carried the virus.
Health experts have said they won’t be surprised if the county sees a significant increase in cases this weekend and early next week, as the community approaches the 14-day mark after Wisconsin’s spring election. Hundreds of voters spent hours in lines on election night, a result of social-distancing requirements and Green Bay’s decision to move from 31 polling places to two because of a shortage of poll workers.
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Jim Dietsche, chief operating officer at Green Bay-based Bellin Health Systems, said this week that local health officials “are very, very worried” about the number of cases they could be facing as the community reaches the 14-day post election mark.
Shove said Thursday that county residents needn’t take extra precautions to avoid the virus, but need to continue the basics: social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and keeping faces covered when outside or in other environments where contact with people outside one’s immediate family is possible.
He also urged residents to bend over backward to avoid people who are ill, or who appear to have symptoms of being infected.
“I would probably run the other way,” he said.
Brown County’s numbers have begun to grow at a faster pace lately. The county had added 30 new cases over the weekend.
Contact Doug Schneider at (920) 431-8333, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @PGDougSchneider
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