As Portage Co. surpasses 2,100 positive cases, health dept. urges caution

By Patrick Lynn

The Portage Co. Health Dept. on Friday issued an alert urging the public to take precautions against spreading COVID-19.

In a joint statement with Marathon and Wood counties, Portage Co. Health Officer Gary Garske pointed to “very high levels” of the coronavirus across the area. Portage Co. just confirmed its 2,000th case earlier this week, and on Friday surpassed 2,100 cases since the crisis began.

Of the total cases, 347 are active. It was not immediately clear how many of those patients were currently being hospitalized. 

According to the Portage Co. COVID-19 Dashboard, 605 of the total cases have been confirmed in the 20-29 age group, followed by 300 confirmed cases for those aged 50-59.

(Portage Co. Dashboard)

“Due to the escalation in cases, local health departments are not able to notify positive cases and their close contacts in a timely manner,” the joint statement reads. “This severely limits efforts to contain the virus. In response to the surge of cases, hospitals are enacting emergency and surge plans and are beginning to have staffing challenges. To stop the uncontrolled spread of this virus, everyone is being asked to take action now.”

The public is being asked to continue wearing face coverings and social distancing, limit their gatherings to groups of 10 people or less, check daily for symptoms, and wash their hands frequently. 

“Attending gatherings of any size, whether small or large, with anyone outside of your immediate household is not recommended, as it may contribute to additional community spread,” Garske said. “The virus continues to be spread through the community and should be assumed that it is everywhere.”

Portage Co. data is updated daily, except on national holidays, on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard.