We have been in the “Safer at Home” policy since 3/15/20. At the present time (4/20/2020), we have had 4,499 confirmed cases as of 4/16/20 in Wisconsin. We have also had 230 deaths. Approximately 51,000 people have been tested in the state (about 0.9% of our population). Thus about 8.8% of those tested were positive. It is assumed that most if not all of these had symptoms which qualified for them to be tested.
In Door County we have had 19 confirmed cases and 1 death. We have tested about 0.08% of our population (assuming a county population of 27,587). It is also assumed that virtually all of those tested qualified by having symptoms or close contacts of those who tested positive.
I think these numbers show that at least in our county we don’t have evidence for community spread. That is great and hopefully we can keep it that way for as long as possible. It also shows that in the state and in our county, we are not testing a very large percentage of our population although the number of people being tested per day is rising rapidly. Wisconsin has extended the “Safer at Home Emergency Order to May 26th.
I believe that we have been very fortunate so far. The Safer at Home Policy has worked to blunt the rise of COVID-19 infections, and has saved lives. It also has allowed our healthcare facilities to keep from being overwhelmed in most areas. This means that the people of Wisconsin have believed in the system. That is why it has worked.
We are coming to a time when we have to look to the future and how we can get back to whatever sense of normal there can be. In doing so we must not forget what we have accomplished. We must use this time to prepare for the future and still stay as safe as possible.
When we look at areas in our nation where healthcare systems have been pushed to the limits, we tend to look at these healthcare workers as being heroes. First of all it isn’t just the doctors and nurses. Healthcare workers also include lab and X-ray techs, ward clerks, dietitians, social workers, chaplains, custodial workers, security, hospital administrators, first responders, etc. All of these are vital in the care of each and every patient being taken care of. These people have dedicated their lives in the service of others. Each of these have put their own lives and perhaps the lives of their families at risk in the service of others. They did not choose to become heroes nor do most want it. They want to be able to do their job in the best way possible. The way we can honor them and their work is by participating in “blunting the curve”, by keeping ourselves safe. Many of these healthcare workers have been pushed to their limits and perhaps beyond. If we become careless and selfish by ignoring the means of mitigating this virus, we will put our own lives at risk. We will also put the very heroes we wish to honor at risk, and their health and lives will be sacrificed as well.
We have come a long way and accomplished a lot. Let us move forward as safely as possible. Let us continue to honor those who serve us by keeping them as safe as possible as well.
Rod Krueger, M.D.