• swansenreport

Bayfield Wisconsin Countywide Restrictions.

I find the recent Order of the Bayfield County Health Office regarding Countywide restrictions on the size of gatherings flawed in its premise. Not only flawed but an overreaching reaction to the announcement of four new cases in Bayfield County.

It doesn’t appear that Bayfield County is looking at real-world examples of prohibitive social gathering restrictions, and the resulting spike in COVID19 cases and hospitalizations.

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WHEREAS, Public Health is the science and art of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. Ensuring health security is the fundamental duty and responsibility of government at all levels – federal, state and local; and

I find nothing in the U.S Constitution nor in the Wisconsin State Constitution regarding this “fundamental duty.”

WHEREAS, thousands of large gatherings nationwide have resulted in large outbreaks of Covid-19 infections; and

A rather generic platitude with no citations or substance.

WHEREAS, since issuing this Emergency Order, we have continued to see incidences of large gatherings in Bayfield County that exceed what is determined to be a reasonable number of attendees, despite strong recommendations against large gatherings; and

All of the county Orders are just what is stated here, recommendations. Critical and free-thinking people can choose to take the county recommendations under advisement or not. What are the determining criteria for “reasonable?”

WHEREAS, as over the past 30 days, we have seen our number of Bayfield County COVID-19 cases more than double; and

Seeing as the Bayfield County Website COVID-19 Updates has been haphazardly updated and continues to have conflicting information, the statement here is called into question. Cases doubled from what number? Also, since numbers of cases across the country have been called into question as have case numbers here in Wisconsin, how are we to rely on the statements of cases given here?

WHEREAS, many COVID-19 infected individuals have absolutely no symptoms or only mild symptoms for which they never seek medical attention. Additionally, a significant number of Bayfield County residents have barriers to accessing healthcare services including no or limited transportation, underinsured or uninsured, poverty, and/or no medical home, which influences the level of testing available for sick individuals. Therefore, the actual number of infected and exposed individuals is grossly underestimated by local testing; and

Again, this conclusion has faults. There is transportation here in the county. The notion that the lack of insurance or underinsurance for individuals is without merit. Testing for COVID19 is available at no cost.

WHEREAS, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reside in the northernmost part of Bayfield County, and nearly ten percent of Bayfield County residents are American Indian. There exist many socioeconomic factors that put American Indian residents at increased risk for contracting COVID-19 and having more severe health consequences; and

In all the discussions and talk around the COVID19 issue, it has been emphasized that it’s about science. Now the health department is bringing in social and economic factors and appears to be muddying the issue. I thought this was about people’s health first and foremost.

WHEREAS, the state of our emergency services and healthcare infrastructure of Bayfield County is limited and easily strained even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no hospital in Bayfield County to accommodate increases in COVID-19 cases when neighboring hospitals see a surge in COVID-19 cases regionally. Furthermore, local ambulance and fire services rely heavily on volunteers—many of whom are retired, older adults—and any local outbreak jeopardizes the health of our volunteer emergency responders and threatens public safety by limiting the capacity to safely and effectively respond; and

I’ve seen no news reports from either local, regional, statewide, or Bayfield County that there has been or was any sort of surge that overburdened local or regional hospitals or medical facilities.

The above paragraph leads to the following questions. I’ve not seen or been able to find in the Bayfield County website answers to any of the following questions. This information needs to be readily available to residents of the county, as well as those who wish to visit Bayfield County and Lake Superior.

How many tests have been completed in the county?

How many tests were positive?

How many were negative?

How many of the positive tests have recovered?

How many of the positive tests were hospitalized?

While asking previously regarding “reasonable,” what is the magic about the 90-day length of the current order? What criteria were used in the selection of a 90-day order?

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