PRICE COUNTY OFFICIALS GIVE MORE INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19 - UPDATED AT 4:20 AM ON 5/15/2020
Price County Public Health released the following statement on Thursday evening:
With the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s May 13th ruling that overturned the Safer at Home Order, Wisconsin businesses may choose to be open. If a business chooses to be open, we strongly advise them to follow the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) guidelines while conducting business. These guidelines can be found on the WEDC website: http://wedc.org/reopen-guidelines/
We also encourage businesses to develop a COVID-19 plan that includes screening staff for Illness, disinfecting/cleaning protocol and proper physical distancing considerations for customers and employees.
This Supreme Court ruling also provides individuals the ability to gather and to travel. The order is gone, the virus is not. The community is being asked to voluntarily take measures to prevent, suppress and control the spread of COVID-19. The County still asks every citizen for diligence to ensure their own personal safety and the safety of their families, friends and fellow citizens by continuing to practice the guidance that has been shared over the last eight weeks. Maintain physical distancing, avoid gathering in groups, practice good personal hygiene, handwashing, etc. Consider wearing a cloth face covering when out in public. Stay home if you are feeling ill. Do not go to work, the store or anywhere else if you are experiencing any Coronavirus symptoms.
People who are vulnerable and at higher risk of severe complications of COVID-19 should stay home whenever possible. This includes, but is not limited to, people over the age of 65, people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities and individuals with underlying health conditions or have compromised immune systems.
If you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider for testing options, or visit http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/testing for a list of community testing sites.
Price County Public Health will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and has an obligation to address any outbreaks or spikes in cases that may occur. Should countywide infections, outbreaks or deaths due to the pandemic increase significantly, Price County and Price County Public Health will respond appropriately. Should this happen, orders may be issued accordingly. “It is our job to protect our community, provide services and take appropriate action as necessary,” said Michelle Edwards, Price County Health Officer.
For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, please visit: Centers for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/
PRICE COUNTY OFFICIALS RESPOND TO THE WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT'S DECISION - UPDATED AT 1 AM ON 5/14/2020
In a press release from Price County Health and Human Services, it was stated that "Price County officials understand that residents are likely to have questions following the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision invalidating the Safer at Home Order. As we wait for additional guidance from the State of Wisconsin, Price County urges residents to continue to practice physical distancing and personal hygiene as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control." Such guidelines can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
Price County officials are also encouraging local businesses to protect customers and staff by adopting appropriate safety guidelines, and suggested guidelines from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which can be found at http://wedc.org/reopen-guidelines/
The press release concluded by stating, "We will continue to keep the residents of Price County informed regarding updates as they occur and safety measures necessary to ensure the health and safety of our citizens."
GOVERNOR EVERS' SAFER AT HOME EXTENSION BLOCKED BY WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT - ORIGINAL STORY FROM 6:30 PM ON 5/13/2020
On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled to block the extension of Governor Evers' Safer at Home Order, which extended through May 26.
On April 21st, Republicans lawmakers brought the matter to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, asking the higher court to block the extension. In a 4-3 ruling on May 13th, the Wisconsin Supreme Court curbed Evers' extension. Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and Justices Rebecca Bradley, Daniel Kelly, and Annette Ziegler voted to strike down the order. The only other conservative justice, Brian Hagedorn, joined the court’s two liberal justices, Ann Walsh Bradley and Rebecca Dallet, in dissent.
In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Roggesack determined the Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm, who executed the extension based on Evers' order, should have went through a process known as rule making, which gives lawmakers veto power over agency policies.
Without legislative review, “an unelected official could create law applicable to all people during the course of COVID-19 and subject people to imprisonment when they disobeyed her order,” the majority explained in their decision.
The Republicans said they challenged this in the higher court to be able to have a voice, alongside Evers and state health officials, to make decisions about how to respond to the outbreak.
Republicans sought a temporary injunction to block the extension with a 6-day stay to give health officials time to go through the rule-making process, which would have put the order to May 20th. However, the injunction was not granted, and the extension has been lifted, effective immediately.
However, local officials can put their own limits in place. For example, Milwaukee's mayor, Tom Barrett, declared that the city's stay-at-home order is still in place. Brown County and Dane County also issued stay-at-home orders. Many other local officials are doing the same across the state. Regardless of those changes, schools will remain closed.
In response to the decision, Governor Tony Evers released the following statement, "Up until now, Wisconsin was in a pretty good place in our battle against COVID-19. We had reached almost all our gating criteria. We had opened up 14,000 small businesses across the state, putting 90,000 folks back to work, and that was because of the good work of Wisconsinites across our state who banded together, stayed home, and stayed safe. Despite that good work, Republican legislators have convinced 4 justices to throw our state into chaos." Governor Ever went on to ask everyone to do their part "to keep our families, our neighbors, and our communities safe by continuing to stay safer at home, practice social distancing, and limit travel."