Winnebago County issues immediate countywide Safer at Home


Source: Wikipedia

The Winnebago County Health Department issued a countywide Safer at Home order today. The move comes one day after the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to invalidate the statewide Safer at Home order issued by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The county order incorporates all elements of the statewide Safer at Home order and provides guidelines to reopen the county in a phased approach as soon as it is deemed safest to do so, according to a Winnebago County Health Department press release.

The Health Department made that decision based on an underlying threat of COVID-19 that remains present in the community, a careful review of the Supreme Court decision and its own local progress using the Badger Bounce Back scorecard, the release stated.

“This is a challenging time, but we all have an important role in minimizing the spread of COVID-19, especially among the most vulnerable populations,” said Doug Gieryn, Winnebago County Public Health Department director and health officer. “By extending the Safer at Home order, we are joining a regional initiative with our neighboring counties to put strategies in place that will protect the safety and well-being of our residents and businesses.”

The Winnebago County Safer at Home goes into effect immediately today,  and will expire at 8 a.m. on May 20, 2020, or until a superseding issue is ordered. The order is issued under the authority of Wisconsin Statute 252.

The Health Department is adopting a phased approach to re-opening the economy and society, with each phase being incrementally less restrictive on businesses and individuals while protecting the public from COVID-19. The phases include:

Phase One: Phase One will include allowing mass gatherings of up to 10 people; restaurants opening with social distancing requirements; removal of certain restrictions including retail restrictions for Essential Businesses and Operations; additional operations for non-essential businesses; K-12 schools to resume in-person operation; and child care settings resuming full operation.

• Phase Two: Phase Two will include allowing mass gatherings of up to 50 people; restaurants resuming full operation; bars reopening with social distancing requirements; non-essential businesses resuming operations with social distancing requirements; and post-secondary education institutions may resume operation.

•Phase Three: Phase Three will resume all business activity and gatherings, with minimal protective and preventative measures in place for the general public and more protective measures for vulnerable populations.

The Winnebago County Health Department’s jurisdiction shall assess the most up-to-date Department of Health Services data to determine when it is appropriate to progress to the next phase. To move to the next phase, the state must meet the following criteria based on statewide public health data:

•Downward trajectory of influenza-like illnesses reported within a 14-day period; and
•Downward trajectory of COVID-19-like syndromic cases reported in a 14-day period.

•Downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period.

•Treatment of all patients without crisis care;
• Robust testing programs in place for at-risk healthcare workers; and
• Decreasing numbers of infected healthcare workers.

To view the complete order, go to

For questions or concerns, contact the Winnebago County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 920-232-3026. For up-to-date information, please frequently monitor the Winnebago County Health Department website and situation updates, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website, and the CDC website.