Wednesday, March 18, 2020

As Oshkosh council meets, Winnebago County says covid-19 cases have increased by two to a total of five

Oshkosh Media
The Oshkosh Common Council practices social distancing at its March 18 meeting.

By Miles Maguire
The Winnebago County Public Health Department reported two additional cases of covid-19 Wednesday evening.

"The two new cases were linked to one of the first three cases reported," the county said. "The health department is following up to identify all close contacts."

Despite the increase, "there is currently no evidence of community transmission in Winnebago County," the department said. 

The news of the additional cases came by email while the Oshkosh Common Council was meeting in a special session to ratify the state of emergency previously declared by City Manager Mark Rohloff.

At the meeting Oshkosh Fire Department Chief Mike Stanley outlined steps that the city is taking to maintain operations while preparing for contingencies. Stanley serves as the city's emergency management director.

At the moment, "we're in a good spot," Stanley said. He said city operations are continuing and that there are plans in place in case things take a turn for the worse.

"We're not seeing an increase in the use of public safety resources," he added. "Incidents are staying the same or decreasing."

One moment of contention came when Council Member Bill Miller pressed Stanley to reveal whether any of the county cases are in Oshkosh. Stanley said that for privacy reasons he was unable to reveal that information at the direction of the county.

"That's kind of asinine, isn't it?" Miller asked. 

"I'm sorry I don't work for the health department, sir," Stanley replied. He later apologized for making a flippant remark. 

Stanley said the city would be meeting with local hospitals on Friday to discuss steps that might be taken if cases surge and overwhelm existing capacity. 

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