Wisconsin adjutant general, DHS deputy secretary talk National Guard in Brown County, contact tracing



Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk emphasized the importance of testing to allow officials to “isolate and box in” those infected with the virus rather than boxing in all Wisconsinites. She adds that Wisconsin is able to conduct about 11,000 coronavirus tests across 48 labs.

Contact tracing is also important, according to Willems Van Dijk. State officials are working to expand contact tracaing in order to slow the spread of the virus throughout the state. Currently, the goal is to have 1,000 contact tracers between DHS and local health departments.

Willems Van Dijk says officials are currently working to find how technology could assist in contact tracing. She adds that officials are also focused on ensuring the quickness and effeciency of contact tracing in Wisconsin.

She went on to explain that officials anticipate the state will continue to see a spread of the coronavirus, especially when individuals are unable to maintain social distancing. We should expect to see changes that we hadn’t seen before, according to Willems Van Dijk, such as people wearing masks in public spaces.

Major General Paul Knapp says that while some National Guardsmen who assisted during the April 7 reported symptoms, there is no longer an increased concern about this because it has been three weeks since the election. Willems Van Dijk says contact tracers will no longer be asking if patients participated in the election in May.

Maj. Gen. says there are a few National Guard citizen-soldiers currently within Brown County to assist with local officials. He says two teams are prepared to arrive in the community, but that number could be changed based on the situation. He adds that teams are looking at assisting in testing at already existing sites, assisting within a specific facility, or construct a new testing site. A formal plan for the National Guard’s presence in Brown County has not been finalized.

Maj. Gen. says the National Guard is not assisting in enforcing laws, they are focused on assisting in testing and following up with patients.

A total of 6,289 Wisconsinites have tested positive for coronavirus.


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