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COVID-19 Update

 

Dear Friends & Neighbors,

I wanted to update you on the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. 

What are coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in both humans and animals. There are currently seven strains of human coronaviruses. Four of these strains are common and found in Wisconsin and around the world. These coronaviruses typically cause a mild to moderate respiratory illness. 

What is COVID-19?

In December 2019, a new strain of coronavirus emerged, COVID-19. Illnesses associated with this virus were first reported in Wuhan, China. The primary way COVID-19 is spread to others is when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This is similar to how the flu is spread. The virus is found in droplets from the throat and nose. When someone coughs or sneezes, other people near them can breathe in those droplets. The virus can also spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it. If that person touches their mouth, face, or eyes the virus can make them sick. Since COVID-19 is very new, there is much more to learn about the spread, severity, and other features of this virus. 

How can I prevent illness from COVID-19? 

The best way to prevent illness from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus.  

Strategies for protecting yourself: 

  • Practice social distancing 
    • Avoid attending large gatherings (50 or more people) 
    • Restrict non-essential travel 
    • Refrain from touching other people (i.e. shaking hands) 
  • Clean your hands often 
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds 
    • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol 

Strategies for protecting others: 

  • Stay home if you're sick 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes 
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow 
    • Immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer 
  • Wear a facemask if you're sick 
    • You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick - facemasks may be in short supply and should be saved for those with the illness and medical professionals 
  • Clean and disinfect 
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (i.e. tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, phones, keyboards)
    • Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work - view the list here

Source of the information above: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Flattening the Curve 

Slowing down the rate of an epidemic is critical to ensure our health care systems are not overwhelmed.

While COVID-19 is beyond the containment phase, we can "flatten the curve" so cases are spread out over a longer distance of time, therefore providing our hospitals and health centers time to deal with current cases and increase capacity. Social distancing is our best tool to slow the transmissions of this virus. So please, take seriously the calls to stop attending large public gatherings whenever possible. 

You can read more about this important public health measure here.

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Oshkosh Community Response 

The Winnebago County Public Health Department (WCHD) is working tirelessly to develop plans around preventing the spread and responding to cases of COVID-19. They are working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and CDC to put appropriate measures and guidelines in place.

To keep the community informed, WCHD is sending weekly situation updates via email. You can request to receive these updates by completing this form. You may also find WCHD's webpage on COVID-19 helpful.  

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In an effort to keep our community healthy, a number of entities have temporarily closed. This includes UW Oshkosh, which canceled classes for the week of March 16 and will move to online instruction at its Fond du Lac, Fox Cities, and Oshkosh campuses beginning March 30. Most school and community events are also being canceled at this time. 

State Government Response 

On Thursday, March 12, Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency in Wisconsin, allowing DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to the outbreak. His Executive Order also authorizes the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in the state's response, directs all state agencies to assist, and eases administrative rules that could hinder the state's response. 

Governor Evers and his administration are working around the clock to ensure that COVID-19 does not become widespread in our state. In addition, experts at DHS are working closely with local and federal partners to respond aggressively to the situation. 

State government plays an important role in public health, and the legislature should not rule out taking action to help people in the event that the spread of the virus increases. It's important to remember that guidance will continue to evolve so please monitor the DHS website for the latest information. 

My Response 

Reducing the risk of COVID-19 in Oshkosh is a top priority for me. In addition to remaining in regular communication with state and local public health officials, I am practicing social distancing. I've canceled all of my non-essential gatherings in Oshkosh, including my Town Hall that was scheduled for Thursday, March 19 and my Office Hours which were scheduled for Friday, March 27. 

I am committed to providing you with the most timely and factual information. I will continue to send you email updates as necessary. I encourage you to follow my Facebook page to remain up-to-date on the latest developments. 

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, you can reach out to my Madison office at 608-266-2254, my home at 920-232-0805, or my email at Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov. 

Sincerely, 

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 If you have any comments regarding the subject of this E-Newsletter, please feel free to contact me.   


Rep. Hintz
State Capitol, Room #201 W
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 555-1234 or (608) 555-1234
Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov|