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County public health officials address questions regarding Kettle Moraine Correctional Institute outbreak data

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Sheboygan County Division of Public Health is getting a large volume of questions related to the alert data we shared yesterday, and specifically how the current KMCI outbreak is affecting our Sheboygan County data at large.

Why the KMCI outbreak is of concern and should be included in our overall county status alert/concern:

  • As of October 7th, 2020 we reported 572 inmates with confirmed cases of COVID19. That is 572

people who are ill, who are currently residing in a facility in our community.

  • The contact tracing for these positive inmates is not conducted by Sheboygan County Division of Public Health. The metric shared related to our inability to reach even half of the positive cases within our target 24 hour window, is not affected by the KMCI numbers, and is attributed to our community cases.
  • Hospitalizations of KMCI inmates occur within our regional health care systems, and must be taken into account when looking at our regional hospital capacity.
  • While we understand that the totals at KMCI may seem like they pose limited risk to the community at large it is important to consider KMCI has 300 staff members and many other contracted staff that also live, work and play in Sheboygan County and surrounding communities. Any ongoing transmission of virus within a congregate living setting — whether that be a prison or a long term care facility poses a direct risk to the community at large (and to those who are living within that setting)

NOTE on how data is collected/reported:

  • The “Very High” Activity Level that is referenced within our Public Health Emergency Alert references the DHS Activity Level dashboard.
  • The numbers used to determine our activity level includes the active cases related to KMCI.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) does not provide data on positive cases identified as residing within congregate living settings separate from total active cases.
  • In our daily updates we have attempted to make this distinction clear as it relates to our KMCI numbers.

Model for measuring community spread.

  • Under this model a case rate of greater than 350 per 100,000 (average of 25 cases a day over a

14 day period) would put a community into the “Very High Activity” category. Even without the KMCI cases included in Sheboygan County’s case count we had an average of 34 new active cases a day over the past two weeks with a case rate of 420 per 100,000.

Sheboygan County Data WITHOUT KMCI outbreak cases included:

  • Between 9/8-9/21 there was an average of 18 new positive cases identified per day – a case rate of 191.2 per 100,000
  • Between 9/22-10/6 there was an average of 34 new positive cases identified per day – a case rate of 420 per 100,000
  • Total local hospitalizations between March and June were 14
  • Total local hospitalizations between July and September were 73

KMCI Outbreak Mitigation and Response:

  • Public Health is actively partnering with KMCI leadership, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, DHS and the CDC to stop the spread of infection within KMCI and mitigate any further risk to those residents, the staff and the rest of the Sheboygan County community.

Aside from what is occuring at KMCI, the local trends for Sheboygan County are of concern, particularly as it relates to the increases in active cases, local hospitalizations, and public health capacity. This is certainly no time to be complacent and our collaborative alert is meant to reinforce the importance of action.

With COVID fatigue settling in across the community and state it is imperative for community members to remember that the standard harm reduction strategies that were important earlier this year are still recommended – more so now as we are seeing a strain on our healthcare systems across multiple regions in the state. Just this week we received a Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR) alert request for additional staff assistance and healthcare professionals to assist a hospital in the Fox Valley area who could not keep up with the volume of COVID positive patients needing care. We must take action to make sure our hospital systems never have to send such an alert locally.


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