Health officials urge stay-at-home for July 4 weekend

State and local health officials are urging residents to stay home and follow best public health practices during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
Wisconsin has seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases with half of all positive cases coming within the past five weeks, according to the state Department of Health Services.

Nearly 20% of total COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin have tested positive within the past two weeks, the department said in a press release Thursday.

The spike is being attributed in part to an increase in infections among younger people, and contact tracing by some local health departments has revealed that many of these cases can be traced back to bars.

“This message is especially important for younger people to hear,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “We know this is a time people like to celebrate with friends, but COVID-19 is still spreading in our state, and we need everyone to take the necessary precautions.”

While there were more confirmed COVID-19 cases during early May compared to early June, more than twice the percentage of cases (14% compared to 7%) reported attending a gathering or party or meeting up with people outside their homes within two weeks of getting COVID-19, and 1% reported attending a protest or rally during early June.

According to DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, “23% of our total cases in Wisconsin are people in their 20s.”

“Compare that to our cases in early April when 11% of positive cases were in their twenties,” she said. “In order to help decrease the infection rate in our state, we need younger Wisconsinites to take more precautions like staying home, physical distancing, and wearing cloth face coverings whenever possible.”

The Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department posted some Fourth of July tips of its own on its Facebook page:

• Stay inside and watch televised fireworks. (Bonus: less sweating and no bug spray needed)

• Have a picnic in the backyard.

• Host an online patriotic movie night.

• Get crafty with patriotic projects. Share your community spirit and decorate your house in a patriotic display.