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County: National Guard COVID testing yields no new cases for county residents

By Brandi Makuski

No additional Portage Co. residents have tested positive for COVID-19 during National Guard testing offered in Stevens Point last week, according to the county health department.

Of the 348 tests conducted by Task Force Delta of the Wisconsin National Guard—500 tests were made available—only two positive results were returned, and both were individuals from neighboring counties.

A press release from the Portage Co. Health Department said the results show the Safer at Home order, issued in late March by Gov. Tony Evers, has been “proven to be important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

Evers’ order was later extended by Dept. of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, but last week that extension was struck down as unenforceable by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on May 13.

“The order being lifted does not mean that the risk of contracting COVID-19 has decreased,” said Ray Przybelski, director of Portage Co. Health and Human Services. “The order being lifted means that the responsibility of keeping our community safe has shifted from being enforced by law to relying on businesses and Portage County residents to make the choices that will keep our community safe.”

The county is encouraging everyone to maintain social distancing, practice frequent handwashing, avoid groups of 50 or more people, and wear face masks in public.

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