LCO Tribe Declares State of Emergency and Activates Emergency Operation Plan

The recent events concerning the COVID-19, also known as the “coronavirus” bring attention to the responsibility of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians tribal government to preserve and protect the health, welfare, and safety of the LCO members. The Tribal Governing Board and Health Center officials, as well as other tribal service areas have been meeting regularly to develop the response plan to address the COVID-19.

 

Today, March 16, 2020, Chairman Louis Taylor signed Resolution #17-2020 declaring the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians is in a Medical State of Emergency.

 

The Tribal Governing Board convened a meeting Monday 16, 2020, of tribal departments and Casino Administration that met during the past week to draft and initiate the Emergency Operations Plan. This Emergency Operations Plan is a response to an emergency or urgent incident or threat. The Executive action authorizes and supports the Chairman to implement the Executive Order to carry out precautions and emergency measures utilizing all resources available to ensure the health and well-being of LCO Tribal members. The Declaration of the State of Emergency by the LCO Tribe will ensure that preventative measures are taken as necessary to prepare and protect Tribal Members should an outbreak occur.

 

As we work towards the care and safety of our community, the LCO Health Center, Public Safety agencies, Emergency Management, and Tribal Governing Board will keep our members updated with timely information. The contingency plan called the “Continuation of Operations Plan,” or COOP is a Living Document that provides direction as we prepare for the care and safety of our communities and enterprise.

 

Nationally, both President Trump and Wisconsin Governor Evers made declarations of emergency status for federal and state governments, and we are anticipating the release of emergency resources which local and tribal governments may access for the health and preparedness of our community as a result of COVID-19.

 

The Tribe’s declaration of a State of Emergency allows the LCO Tribe to access critical resources to aid with tribal preparedness expenses incurred resulting from the COVID-19. By issuing the State of Emergency for the LCO Tribe, we are committed to the preservation and protection of our tribal membership as well as the places where we attend school and work within our community.

 

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), elders, immune-compromised, and people with acute health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and lung disease, and other chronic disease are at risk of contracting the virus and may have a harder time fighting off the illness. Some individuals may then be more vulnerable, so it is a protective measure that the LCO Governing Board enacts the protections of the State of Emergency for the health and safety of our membership and the community in which we live.

 

We continue to coordinate and communicate our strength as a united community in this challenging time. There will be upcoming announcements with the Health Center and TGB to keep you informed. This letter is not to cause alarm, but to inform our membership how we can help to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. We will get through this crisis and these immediate actions are vital to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 to our community. By listening to the needs of the community through the ongoing and past discussions with our directors, we understand the necessity of the measures that are hereby enacted through the State of Emergency for the LCO Tribe.

 

Activation of the LCO State of Emergency Plan

 

1. The LCO Health Clinic, Public Safety, and the Emergency Team are enacted to provide assistance, resource information, and critical care as needs arise for patients exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

 

2. Effective immediately, the employees who exhibit illness symptoms such as flu-like illness should:

 

· Stay home and phone in to the triage nurse at the clinic.

· Call your director letting them know you are ill.

· Initiate self-quarantine measures within your home, i.e., limit exposure called “safe and social distancing” of the CDC’s recommended six feet from others within your household.

· Follow strict recommendations from your provider for your healthy recovery.

 

3. The TGB and Program Directors have cancelled the community events and non-essential travel till further notice. These include:

 

· All divisions and department of the government. Please contact your director for all further communication and updates.

· LCO Tribal school is closed as of March 17, 2020, until further notice. The LCO College will have students learn from home remotely. Essential staff will work on site while all other staff will work from home, per Dr. Swagger, President. Academic plans are being readied to meet the needs of the students and college-age student body due to the closure of the local and tribal schools.

· Remember the elderly, those who are sick or living alone and if they need support services i.e., food, groceries, and supplies, please contact: (715) 892-7572.

 

4. If you can work from home, please contact your directors if you are able to do your duties at home.

 

5. To protect our Tribal Members, a travel ban is in effect for all Tribal employees. We are encouraging the use of conference calling as an alternative to in-person meeting for those department personnel who may still be working. If you have returned from an area where there has been an outbreak, you will not be allowed at work for 14 days. Any employee returning from annual leave should check with their Director regarding the required disclosure of any travel to outbreak areas. This directive aligns with the federal travel protections due to the spread of the COVID-19.

 

6. The Emergency Response Team will distribute the safety information as we receive updates.

 

7. Food Services for the elderly and children are a priority. Tribal services and Health Care will continue with additional resources i.e., food baskets and delivery. We will provide these updates to you.

 

How we take can take care of ourselves in our homes:

 

Precautionary Measures

 

We advise the following recommendations that all Tribal Members take as we address the COVID-19. Health officials are continually updating the information as the data and research through the CDC. What we do know is COVID-19 is spread mainly through person-to-person contact. The best safety precautions still involve everyday practices to avoid illness is:

 

· Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, sneezing, coughing, and touching your face.

· If hand soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% isopropyl alcohol.

· Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

· Cover your cough and sneeze.

· Frequently clean and disinfect touched surfaces daily. Use clean cloths. Open windows periodically to refresh the indoor air.

· Plan ahead for supplies and a 2-week food supply so you don’t have to go outside to grocery stores.

· If someone is ill within your household, designate a clean space for them, already prepared with supplies and prepackaged or covered food items they will need to minimalize the exposure to other individuals outside the home.

How we take care of our businesses:

 

8. To disseminate information, we will utilize the Tribe’s Facebook page and have established a COVID-19 Informational Page on the Tribe’s website at lcotribe.com/covid-19-tribal-information and the Health Center webpage lcohc.com.

 

9. Essential workers within our enterprises will adhere to COVID-19 protocols for their safety when cleaning or the workplace environment.

 

10. The Seven Winds Casino and Lodge are increasing cleaning and disinfecting measures, reducing occupancy space, and addressing health concerns to the Emergency Response Team as needs arise with the changing environment of the COVID-19.

 

The LCO Tribe is closely monitoring these events as we look ahead of the challenge that the COVID-19 has brought to our reservation. This situation has understandably created unexpected tasks, but we will meet each one to protect and provide safety for the health and wellbeing of our community. We are here to help our families during this challenging time

LCO Chairman Addresses Covid-19 and Latest Safety Measures

By Louis Taylor

LCO Chairman

March 26, 2020

 

On behalf of the Tribal Governing Board, I want to assure our Members that the Tribal Government is addressing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the current status of national events as it affects our communities. Here is an update of the following measures that have been taken to keep our Tribal Members, Employees, all Community Members as safe and healthy as possible. As of 3/25/20, we are at zero positive COVID-19 at LCO. However, to maintain safety, we closed non-essential Tribal enterprises, although there are a few essential departments that remain open with limited hours.

 

· LCO K-12 School and Waadookodaading have closed but are delivering meals to students.

 

· LCO Headstart and Early Headstart are closed. Staff are delivering food baskets and necessities to HS/EHS families, one basket per week for two weeks at this time.

 

· LCO Community Health Center is asking people to call instead of walk-in. The triage is set up for immediate screening for COVID-19 if you are experiencing illness: fever, cough, shortness of breath, and diarrhea.

 

· Food Baskets are being delivered to Tribal Members in need, Elders 60 and over (if no other means of food), ill and quarantined, high risk with medical issues, and homeless. Baskets will be assembled and delivered to homes Thursday. Please call Karen Gordon at 715-558-7911 for donations and volunteers. All Elder Centers are closed.

 

· LCO Housing is closed. Please call 715-634-2147 if you have a housing maintenance emergency.

 

· LCO Men’s Shelter and Women’s shelter are open for emergency housing.

 

· Sevenwinds Casino/Lodge/Convention Center and Grindstone Creek Casino - closed.

 

· Tribal Court has limited court appearances. Please call ahead if you require services.

 

· Until further notice, the LCO Tribal Administration Offices are closed to the public. Only essential employees will be working. Any business will be conducted by phone or email. If you need any assistance, please call or email the necessary department.

 

· LCO Voc Rehab is open by phone and email for their consumers. There will be at least one person in the office Mon-Fri to take phone calls.

 

· LCO Conservation is closed. If Wardens are required, call 715-634-5213.

 

· Grants writing for Health and Human Services funding are enacted due to COVID-19.

 

· C-Store and QuickStop hours are 8 am to 8 pm.

 

· Big Fish is closed.

 

Health Center/Clinic 715-638-5100 General Assistance 715-558-7474 or 7434

Tribal Government 715-634-8934 Conservation 715-634-0102

Tribal Accounting 715-634-7453 Tribal Police 715-634-8350

Vocational Rehab 715-634-9213 Tribal Court 715-558-7430

Income Maintenance 715-558-7458 Food Basket Requests 715-558-7911

Mens Shelter 715-558-2034 Womens Shelter 715-634-9360

 

We are asking everyone to be mindful of others, please stay home and adhere to safe-distance and daily selfcare. We are doing exceptionally well with precautions and quarantines. We will keep you updated as necessary as things are constantly changing. Please continue to follow the Tribe's Facebook page or tune into WOJB for these updates. I am extremely grateful for the employees and volunteers working together for the safety of our People.

 

Miigwech!

By Louis Taylor

LCO Chairman

 

I hope everyone is doing well, staying healthy , and remaining calm as we fight the COVID-19 epidemic surrounding our community.

 

Recent data from local county and State of Wisconsin health officials report the number of positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases is at 1,059 Statewide. The greatest number of positive cases are in Milwaukee and Madison. Sawyer County remains at 0, with no positive cases as of this writing.

 

If, and when (unfortunately it's inevitable), the virus reaches us here at LCO and Sawyer County, the County Chairman and myself as Tribal Chairman, along with Emergency Response Team Members, will be the first to be notified. Please don't believe any other sources. When the virus hits here, we will let our community know immediately.

 

LCO is doing great by following the Governor's "Safer at Home" Order. Please continue to practice social distancing.

 

If anyone is out of town, we ask that they remain at that location, until the virus passes. Our Tribal Members here are taking necessary precautionary measures by staying at home. We don't want out-of-towners coming here to jeopardize the health of our people who are following the Governor's Order.

 

It is inevitable that the Coronavirus will hit us here at LCO and Sawyer County. We can keep it minimal if we stay at home, limit interactions with others, keep at least 6 feet apart, and limit time getting groceries, medicines, or other necessities. As with any other illness, keep your distance and use good hygiene to prevent the spread of germs.

 

For updates on the Coronavirus in the State of Wisconsin, please visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid- l 9.

 

Tribal Government essential employees are working, but with no face-to-face contact with clients. A list of program numbers has been posted on the Tribe's Facebook page. Also, you may call the Tribal Office general number, 715-634-8934, leave a detailed message, and someone will return your call. Also, our essential businesses remain open with shortened hours. This information is posted on the same Facebook page.

 

Last, but certainly not least, I applaud the people working during this crisis. I know it is mentally exhausting and there is fear, no doubt. Your dedication is proven by your presence at work and you will be rewarded. Everyone, please remain safe and healthy; we will get through this.

By Louis Taylor

LCO Chairman

 

In an attempt to keep you informed with this ongoing crisis we face, there are many challenges ahead, but I want to assure you that we are taking every step necessary to keep our membership safe, healthy and informed. I’ll be personally working with our Emergency Response Team and will give regular updates as often as I can.

 

As a sovereign Tribe, we will decide when we will lift the public health emergency restrictions, but, at the present time we are following the Governor’s safer-at-home order. We have a good working relationship with the Governor who respects our sovereignty. The Governor, Lt. Governor and their administrative staff have been giving us weekly briefings.

 

The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB), Emergency Management, and Health Center have a very good working relationship with Sawyer County Officials and Public Health. The following agencies are holding a daily call to coordinate the joint effort sharing information and preventative measures taken: LCO and Sawyer County Emergency Management, Sawyer County and LCO Chairman’s offices, the Sheriff, LCO Health and County Health & Human Services.

 

In addition, all of our public safety agencies are communicating on a daily basis.

 

For the safety, well-being and financial security of our tribal employees and their families, the TGB is seriously looking at unemployment insurance options as we monitor the financial situation of our tribal entities to sustain current and future operations. We have adequate resources available, but to preserve those resources, we are considering the alternatives.

 

Until further notice, the TGB made the decision to close the LCO Tribal Administration Offices, but essential tribal government services will continue and be accessible by phone or email. If you need any assistance, please call or email the necessary department if you know the extension, or call the Tribal Office main number and leave a message.

 

TGB members continue to work on this constantly evolving situation and monitor this public health crisis. We are also receiving constant updates regarding the federal stimulus package and determining how this affects us as a Tribe in our current status and going forward.

 

I want our membership to know there are currently no confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sawyer County or LCO. When there is a first confirmation, Sawyer County Public Health will issue a press release and our Public Relations Department will immediately share that release. In the meantime, that official Press Release is the only source for confirmation you should rely on.

When and if we get a confirmed case, we have measures in place to deal with the situation.

 

I want to thank our community members for complying with the Governor’s Safer-at-Home Order and doing your part in leveling the curve here at LCO.

 

Our Tribal Governing Board wants all the volunteers and essential personnel who are continuing to work through this crisis to know how much we appreciate you and all you are doing to keep our people safe, healthy and financially secure.

 

Miigwech.

By LCDR Summer Pearson,

USPHS, MHA, MLS (ASCP)

Laboratory Manager

Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center

 

Lac Courte Oreilles Health Center is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and working with the Indian Health Service, Sawyer County Health Department, Wisconsin Department of County Health, and Hayward Hospital following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21.

 

Updated Coronavirus screening guidelines from the CDC state that if someone has a fever, cough or shortness of breath, and is not in need of urgent medical care they should first call their doctor or local health department to determine if testing is appropriate. The same approach applies to those that have been in direct contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19 and have a fever or symptoms of respiratory illness.

 

If you are worried you have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) or are experiencing fever or symptoms of respiratory illness:

 

A Sawyer County Community COVID-19 Screening Hotline has been established and is available Monday -Friday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm. The purpose of this hotline is to help identify people in our community who may be appropriate for coronavirus testing. All individuals who have any of the following respiratory symptoms: cough, fever or shortness of breath should call the hotline at 715-934-4518. A healthcare professional will ask you a series of questions to determine if testing is appropriate.

 

If the patient is a Tribal Member or has established care with Lac Courte Oreilles Community Clinic, they may receive their testing at the clinic. The employees on the hotline understand this and will instruct the patient where to go for testing and give the patient their appointment time. We have established a drive-thru testing site for patient convenience and staff safety.

 

Also, starting Monday, March 30, 2020 the Pharmacy will be performing curbside pick-up so patients can continue to ‘social distance’. Please order all prescription refills and medications by calling 715-638-5146. Please order 3 business days before your supply runs out, if possible. This will allow time to renew prescriptions from the prescriber, order products from the wholesaler, and get prior authorizations from the insurance carrier as needed. To double check that your order is complete the first time, please be prepared to tell us specifically, item by item, which medicines you need.

 

Medicine will be hand delivered to the clinic’s main entrance in the front. A pharmacist will be there to bring medication orders out to the vehicle and offer consultations as required. This will be for pick up only. Please call 715-638-5146 to order your prescription refills. Those needing home delivery let us know and we will deliver following CDC guidelines.

 

Dental is open for emergent dental services. Dental hours are 8am – 2:00pm. Please contact the dental department at 715-638-5144 for any dental needs.

 

The Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center has worked diligently preparing the Lac Courte Oreilles Health Center staff and community emergency response for the COVID-19 virus for several months and will continue to work with the state of Wisconsin and Indian Health Service to procure enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health care workers.

 

We Thank You for your support and assistance in helping to keep our community safe during this time. We encourage you to stay home and stay safe.

To: All Lac Courte Oreilles Patients

From: LCO Health Center Director

 

The LCO Health Center is open to all patients in need of services. In order to protect our community, please call your provider for scheduling. He/she will determine the level of care needed. If he/she determines you need to be seen, you will be seen.

 

See Governor Evers ‘Safer at Home Declaration’ below:

 

“I know the COVID-19 outbreak has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state. Issuing a Safer at Home order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do and it’s not something I take lightly, but here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously,” Evers said. “Each and every one of us has to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can flatten the curve to ensure our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers have the opportunity to do their important work. Let’s all do our part and work together.”

Submitted by LCO Health Center

 

Beginning Monday March 30, 2020, the LCO Health Center Pharmacy will temporarily convert to curbside medication pickup only.

 

We are doing this to increase social distancing and decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other infections, by reducing foot traffic within the LCO clinic.

 

Please order all prescription refills and medications by calling 715-638-5146. Please order 3 business days before your supply runs out, if possible. This will allow time to renew prescriptions from the prescriber, order products from the wholesaler, and get prior authorizations from the insurance carrier as needed. To double check that your order is complete the first time, please be prepared to tell us specifically, item by item, which medicines you need.

 

Medicine will be hand delivered to the clinic’s main entrance in the front. A pharmacist will be there to bring medication orders out to the vehicle and offer consultations as required. This will be for pick up only. Please call 715-638-5146 to order your prescription refills.

Daily Report from Emergency Response Team

As the COVID pandemic spreads, we have asked community readers what they most want to know. All of the tribal information can be found on this page i.e., Tribe's Facebook page and there are other news sources as well. We are doing our best to keep you up-to-date as things are constantly changing from day-to-day.

The latest information at LCO

Monday, March 16:

  • Chairman Louis Taylor signs Resolution 17-2020, declaring State of Emergency for the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Chippewa Indians.

  • Chairman Taylor and the Tribal Governing Board authorize the closing of schools and tribal departments until further notice to stem the spread of COVID-19.

  • Emergency Operations Response Team is activated for surveillance, reporting, supplies, training, medical emergency, utilities, health and public safety, and food supply.

  • Essential personnel at all business locations will remain, as necessary. TGB will be available. We will make active efforts to support the members in this challenging time.

  • The LCO Tribal Governing Board issues advanced notice of critical care support for food and supplies as necessary.

  • The LCO Tribal Governing Board issues medical and public health quarantine notices and safety protocol for travelers and employees.

  • Wisconsin reports there 47 cases in 10 counties. This is an increase of 29% from 33 active cases two days ago. Most cases are in southern counties and no confirmed cases in Sawyer County.

  • MILWAUKEE - 13 cases
    FOND DU LAC - 11 cases
    DANE - 10 cases
    SHEBOYGAN - 3 cases
    WAUKESHA - 3 cases
    WINNEBAGO - 3 cases
    OUTAGAMIE - 1 case
    PIERCE - 1 case
    RACINE - 1 case
    WOOD - 1 case

  • Governor Evers bans all large gatherings of 50 or more people. The CDC is in Fond du Lac County to assess transmission spread.

LCO Chairman Issues Statement on Covid-19 State of Emergency and Activation of Emergency Operations

Sevenwinds and Grindstone Creek Casinos Closing in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, as a Sovereign Nation, is concerned about the health of our Tribal Members, Employees, Visitors, Community Members, and Guests. We have made the decision to proactively temporarily suspend operations at our Casino Operations, including Sevenwinds Casino , Lodge, Convention Center, and Grindstone Creek Casino, starting at Midnight Wednesday, March 18., 2020.

 

There have been no cases of COVID-19 connected to our Casinos. However, in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and for the protection of our guests and employees, we feel this is in everyone's best interest.

 

We look forward to opening our Casino doors as soon as possible and will notify the public on our reopening soon.

 

Hoping everyone stays well during these trying times and the current pandemic will soon be behind us.

 

Please visit our Facebook Pages or Website page for additional information.

COVID-19 Statement from the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians 

Greetings Tribal Members,                                                                   March 13, 2020

 

The Tribal Governing Board is aware that people are worried about the spread of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, and we want to reassure you that we are well prepared to care for our tribal members if the virus were to spread to the northern regions of our State. You may have heard there are 19 confirmed cases in Wisconsin.

 

Please carefully read the following fact sheet (World Health Organization, 2020) and follow the recommendations listed for ways to prevent the spread. We have been following recommendations from federal and tribal authorities, Centers for Disease Control, White House, Indian Health Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, about precautions we must utilize so we can be better prepared. We will have information sessions on updates from Public Health, Public Safety, and Emergency Preparedness Teams through our clinic as they occur so we can monitor the health about the spread of the COVID-19 for our tribal community.

 

Also, if you become ill with fever and cough symptoms, just like with the flu, please call your supervisor, do not come to work, and contact your medical provider.  Finally, we understand that many in are worried about travel. While the risk of contracting the Coronavirus is low in our area and there are some travel restrictions in other parts of the world, if you are uncomfortable about flying please go to the CDC website as it is updated at all times and there are notices and warnings regarding travel. Please remember that you are not only protecting yourself but also your entire community.

 

We are taking this seriously and monitoring the situation constantly. We will notify tribal members immediately if there are additional recommendations about travel and health precautions. At this time, we are postponing all Tribally sponsored events and temporarily putting all staff travel on hold until further notice for the protection of our Tribal Community.

 

Best Regards,

Louis Taylor

Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman

TGB Issues Memo to All Tribal Employees

The Tribal Governing Board has been working with all departments who will be responding to the COVID 19 Virus Pandemic and we are declaring a Medical State of Emergency. As our Schools are closing, and we are concerned for the health and well-being of our Elders, Children, Community Members, and Staff, we are imposing the following guidelines for operations:

 

1. If staff members are sick or exposed to someone from one of the “Hotspots of Positive COVID19”, then they need to be allowed to go home and quarantine themselves. The staff will be allowed to return to work when cleared by their medical provider. The staff member will be put on administrative leave and it must be written on their timecards for the days of leave “COVID-19”. It will be expected of all staff quarantined, that you will not be out in public and will restrict yourself to your homes.

 

2. For staff members that are taking care of small children that are home due to school closures, then you also will be allowed to stay home or utilize “flex time.” The Staff member will need it to be noted on their timecards “COVID 19”. If, you can, it would be appreciated that you could work from home with the approval of your director and your time can documented.

 

3. For those that are quarantined, we will be setting up a contact person for you to call if you need food or supplies, which we will be having volunteers to assist us in providing food to these people in need. The schools and elderly centers will also be providing food to their students/clients. We will be working with our Food Distribution Program who at this time, will be able to deliver food to their client’s homes if needed.

 

4. Those staff members that are not quarantined or taking care of elderly or children, we appreciate your availability and dedication to the Tribe in your continued work here for our people and please understand that we will need you more than ever at this time. If your department is slow because of the restricted access or the programs being postponed or cancelled, please reach out and volunteer to some of our other areas to assist, or to help make or distribute food baskets. This is a time that we all need to pull together and help each other and our community.

 

5. Please understand that we have currently locked all Tribal Administration Building entrances except for the main door. We are limiting access so that we can screen people for any sickness or exposure. Please do not let anyone in the side or back doors as we want to keep all other staff and others as safe and healthy as we can.

 

6. Please continue to monitor the Tribal, School, Health Center, and Housing Websites, and Facebook Pages for updated information which will have links for additional information.

 

Miigwech for everyone’s cooperation.

COVID-19 Memo from the Tribal Governing Board

Due to the rapid spread of the virus in the U.S. and abroad, as well as the risks to the elderly and individuals who have respiratory issues or immune deficiencies, the Tribal Governing Board is asking people to adopt the following simple measures to aid in fighting the spread of the virus.

  • Individuals who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of fever, and any symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Individuals should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick

  • Employees should avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Sick? Contact a healthcare provider and stay home. Monitor your temperature.

  • Employees should wear a face mask at work if they’re not feeling well to prevent spreading diseases to others.

  • Employees staying with anyone who has travelled to a high-risk country should consider quarantining themselves.

  • Avoid touching your face, specifically your eyes, nose, and mouth. Avoid sharing food too.

  • Individuals should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Website Resources:

CDC – COVID-19 Situation Summary

CDC – Coronavirus for Businesses

CDC – Coronavirus for Schools

COVID-19 Statement from LCO Emergency Management

Matthew Reidell

LCO Emergency Management Coordinator

Lac Courte Oreilles Emergency Management is monitoring the current situation(s) surrounding coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) in conjunction with Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health officials. Currently, LCO Emergency Management is maintaining a level of readiness and situation awareness regarding COVID-19. LCO Community Health is the lead agency within the reservation for infectious diseases and LCO Emergency Management will support them as necessary.

LCO Emergency Management will continue to work with our tribal, county, state, and federal partners to provide the public with updated information and internally to ensure information is properly coordinated and disseminated. LCO Emergency Management, LCO Community Health, and our county counterparts have plans in place regarding infectious diseases and to ensure continued health and human service needs are met.

We ask that the public continues to follow proper hygiene and look for official information from public health agencies, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and Emergency Management. LCO Emergency Management will provide additional releases as necessary through the Tribe’s Public Relations Officer and its Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/LCOEmergencyManagement/

LCO Ojibwe School Closing as of March 17, 2020

By Jessica “Hutch” Hutchison

LCO Ojibwe School Director

 

Boozhoo Parents & Guardians,

 

In the interest of protecting the community of Lac Courte Oreilles, and in consultation with the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School Board, I have decided to close school beginning Tuesday, March 17th rather than the previously planned date of Wednesday, March 18th, in response to concerns from parents and families. Please take note of the following information:

 

Both the k-5 and 6-12 offices will be open from 8:00 to 12:00 Tuesday, March 17th for parents to pick up work folders with activities and homework for their children with activities and homework. If students are in school today, work has been sent home. This will include a flyer on accessing free internet services.

 

One meal per day, per student will be delivered between 11:00-12:00 Monday through Friday following CURRENT BUS ROUTES. We will not have capacity to make changes to routes. Staff will be delivering meals to front doors and will be required to track which students receive meals in order to receive reimbursement through our meal program. If you would like to opt out of this service, please call the school at extension 1221 and leave a message.

 

The secondary library will be open 9:00-11:00 on Tuesday, March 17th for middle and high school students to check out books.

 

The school building will be closed to all visitors after the buses depart this afternoon. A skeleton crew will remain on campus while cleaning and disinfecting takes place. The best way to contact teachers and staff during the break will be through staff email addresses, which can be found on the school website at www.lcoosk12.org.

 

You are encouraged to check the website and Facebook page, as well as local media for updates over the break. Announcements will continue through our automated system as needed as well.

 

My hope is that as a school and community we will pull together to keep each other safe. Thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility during this difficult time and know that our thoughts are with you and your families.

 

Sincerely

Jessica Hutchison

K-12 Principal/School Director

BIE Letter to Parents and School Leaders

By Tamarah Pfeiffer

Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)

Acting Chief Academic Officer

 

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is actively involved in supporting the U.S. response to COVID-19, or Novel Coronavirus, and continues to collaborate with Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

 

CDC considers this to be a very serious public health threat; however, based on current information, the immediate health risk within the U.S. is considered low at this time. Medical and public health experts across the Federal government are working to understand the virus, identify routes of exposure, and limit its spread in coordination with international partners.

 

There is no higher priority than protecting the safety of our students, employees and communities. We want to ensure all are aware of the tried and true hygiene practices that can be very effective in reducing the chance of getting sick. Public health officials across the nation recommend these basic prevention guidelines:

 

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer ;

 

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;

 

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick;

 

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or utilize your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue and wash your hands again;

 

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and

 

• Most importantly, if your child has symptoms of the flu or of any serious infection or virus, please utilize your best judgement to determine if your child should stay home or consult a physician to avoid exposing others.

 

• Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and may include: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.I ask for your help in reinforcing the recommended practices listed above with your children. In situations like this, it is best to rely on factual information from reliable sources.

 

For the most current information, please refer to the CDC website for general information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html.For school specific information from the CDC, please utilize the following webpages:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-for-schools. html https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response .html

 

Once again, we are monitoring this situation closely and will provide updates to our community should further steps become necessary. For inquiries or concerns, please contact the Bureau of Indian Education at crisisalert@bie.edu. As always, thank you for working with us to keep our schools healthy and safe.

LCO Health Center Current Activity Report Regarding COVID-19 as of March 13, 2020

Since the first warning from the CDC in January of this year, we at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center, have been diligently preparing for the possibility of a COVID-19 pandemic which could affect our community. We have also been planning how to serve our community in the most effective manner while preventing transmission to the best of our capabilities. We would like to advise the Tribal Governing Body and Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe that we at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center are confident that we are well prepared for the possibility of a local outbreak and have planning in place to meet unforeseeable eventualities.

 

The following is a list of some of our key actions for preparedness:

On January 30th, a Center of Disease Control and Prevention health alert was forwarded from the Sawyer county health department advising us that Covid-19 was diagnosed in a neighboring state and that it was an issue of health concern. With the health alert, we also received links to informational and training webpages from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. At that time, several key health personnel at the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center began to educate themselves about the situation along with recommendations from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. On that date, a clinic wide email was sent out to all employees with a Sit-Rep and instructions on what message to promote with patients. Namely:

  • The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, Center of Disease Control and Prevention always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    • Stay home when you are sick.

    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

On February 10th the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center Infection Control Officer sent information to all of our health professionals and paraprofessionals with the latest Sit-Rep from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, regarding a positive Covid-19 case in Wisconsin along with a graphic flow chart from the CDC containing clear instructions for assessing, identifying and reporting the disease as well as what to advise patients who were being tested. Our Lab also confirmed the ability to test for the illness, should someone present to the clinic with symptoms.

On February 19th, a Sawyer County Public Health Briefing was received from the Sawyer County Incident Command in preparation for the American Birkebiner Event with specific instructions for assessing patients for Covid-19. This briefing was circulated to health professionals who were planning on volunteering for the event. The possibility of Covid-19 transmission was given serious consideration in light of the number of international travelers that the county was preparing to receive.

On February 28th, key Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center staff participated in a Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 Provider Webinar.

On Thursday, March 5th, 2020, the Health Director for LCO-CHC, Gary Girard, attended an Emergency Preparedness meeting at Lac Du Flambeau with several other Tribes throughout Wisconsin. It was discussed that most Tribes did not have a plan and it was best practice to follow current CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines.

On Friday, March 6th, 2020, Jeanine Connell, RN, Infection Control Officer for Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center, met with Sawyer County Health and Human Services Department to open formalized lines of communication. The County reports they also will be following Center for Disease Control and DHS (Department of Health Services) guidelines in regards to COVID-19 testing. Sawyer County Health and Human Services reported testing should be completed based on these criteria as the number of available tests is limited. Key Clinic personnel also participated in a second COVID-19 Provider Webinar.

Currently The guidelines for testing are that if someone has had prolonged close contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19, has traveled on an airplane, and is contacted by a Public Health Department AND has signs and symptoms of Respiratory Illness i.e. fever, cough, lower respiratory infection symptoms to call the clinic to talk to a Nurse first as they will further investigate your symptoms to rule out other possible illness before referring an individual for testing.

 

Attached you will find a COVID-19 update from the Sawyer County Health Department along with the latest testing guidance released late on March 9th.  At this point we do not have any person(s) under investigation (PUI) in our county but with the third case confirmed in Wisconsin and the quick rise in cases reported in our surrounding states preparedness is key to serving our Community effectively.

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center Health Director, Gary Girard and Jeanine Connell, RN, Infection Control Officer, met with TGB to discuss what the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center currently has in place and how we are responding.

The outcome of the meeting was a determination that Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center will follow Center for Disease Control recommended cleaning procedure guidelines, which are already being done in patient care rooms after each patient. It was determined that support staff would be continuously available for cleaning, so that all community shared areas/surfaces, separate from patient care rooms, of the clinic will be wiped down with an antiviral solution at a minimum of every two hours to prevent the spread of disease.

Patients presenting with a cough, shortness of breath or fever, will be prompted by staff to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer upon entering the clinic to prevent transmission of any possible illness. Additional sanitation stations have also been set up in the clinic with instructions upon entering the clinic outer foyers that any patient sick with any of the above symptoms should don one of the supplied masks before entering the clinic common areas.

All staff that is directly assisting a patient with respiratory symptoms, will be required to follow CDC droplet precaution recommendations for utilizing the following Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines, consisting of an isolation gown, N95 respirator, face shield or safety glasses, and gloves which will be put on by medical staff prior to coming in contact with the patient.

Discussion was head regarding implementing an alternative testing site to decrease transmission. This site is still under discussion as to the best location. Currently, effective today, COVID-19 testing will still be performed in the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center, following the current Center of Disease Control guidelines, with patients being urged to place a mask on and sanitize hands upon arrival at the clinic, until an alternative plan is fully developed.

Any patients meeting the criteria for COVID-19 testing are to immediately be self-quarantined until the test results are returned, which currently take 3-5 days. If a positive test result is confirmed the patient must be isolated and actively monitored until cleared by Local Health Authorities.

This statement was also released by the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center, Health Director, Gary Girard, in regards to Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center prevention response actions.  “After meeting with TGB, we are hereby cancelling all unnecessary travel and large group events to control the spread of Covid-19. Please cancel the Bizhiki Wellness Gathering, the Volleyball Tournament, and similar gatherings until further notice. In addition, we will be designating a space in the Urgent Care facility for testing any community members whom have been in close proximity with infected individuals or in areas at Level 3 exposure. We are also implementing a new cleaning program during the day and after work hours to disinfect our buildings, which follow the CDC guidelines for this infectious disease.  In addition, any meetings which can be accomplished through telephone or skype will be utilized. Patients seen at the clinic will be offered a face mask and gloves. Finally, regular updates will be posted on the health center newsletter. We are working closely with the Sawyer County Health & Human Services and will be following their lead on this. Jeanine Connell is our Infectious Disease Coordinator. Please see her about any questions you have.”

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center held a Clinic Emergency Preparedness meeting to discuss the current plan for patients with possible COVID-19 and how to handle possible cases based on updated guidelines and planning for near future changes to increase prevention of virus transmission.

To date, Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center is currently following all CDC recommendations and aligning with Sawyer County Health and Human Services to provide consistent recommendations.

Center for Disease Control Considerations for COVID-19 Testing are listed below:

COVID-19 testing is typically not indicated for patients without an exposure risk who have mild respiratory illness or who are asymptomatic.

Patients with a fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Recently hospitalized patients, symptomatic individuals such as, older adults (age ≥ 65 years) and individuals with chronic medical conditions, and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).

Any persons, including health care personnel, who within 14 days of symptom onset had prolonged, close contact with a suspect or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient, or who have a history of travel from high risk geographic areas within 14 days of their symptom onset. Testing should be considered for individuals in this group even if symptoms are mild (e.g. sore throat).

When considering COVID-19 in any patient presenting with respiratory symptoms, whenever possible test for common causes of respiratory illness (e.g., influenza, RSV), and if negative, a test for COVID-19 may be considered. Per www.dhs.wisconsin.gov

The Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center, Clinic Manager, has organized with our Triage Nurse and developed a plan that follows the current Center of Disease Control screening questions that will screen for the virus and aid in determining if testing is necessary based on the Center of Disease Control guidelines listed above.

As a Clinic, we also want to remind the Community that we are NOT an Urgent Care or Emergency Care facility, if a patient needs respiratory supportive treatment, they will be referred to the local Emergency Room.

The Clinic CQI team did a “ghost call” on 3/11/20, reception and triage responded exceptionally per Center of Disease Control recommendations.   

In addition to our regular cleaning practice at the clinic we will be sanitizing surfaces every 2 hours.

The Health Director reminded staff current estimated mortality rates, based on a Center of Disease Control FACT sheet, of 3.5% of those diagnosed. Those rates are typical of immune compromised patients, the very young and very old. With 60% of our Community having risk for diabetes, heart conditions and other chronic illnesses, we are taking this virus very seriously and preparing in accordance with Center of Disease Control guidelines.

To put into perspective the likelihood of contracting COVID-19, based on China’s current reported statistics of 80,924 confirmed cases and the population estimated population of 1 billion citizens (which is a low estimate), the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 is less than .01% of the population, however this is only based on reported cases, which are typically the worst cases requiring supportive treatment from a medical facility.

All staff were reminded to inform Community members not follow the media for information, but reference credible sources such as the Department of Health Services and Center of Disease Control. Facebook and social media sites are NOT a reliable source of information, unless release from a credible source.

Jeanine Connell, RN, Infection Control Officer for Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center, or her delegate will continue to stay in close contact with Sawyer County Health and Human Services, for updates as virus information updates are received. She will then update staff and LCO Community media, such as Face Book, on a daily basis.

Dave Axt, Pharm D, for the Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center adds, “If you have questions about how your medications may be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, then contact the LCO Pharmacy at 715-638-5146”.

Commander Summer Pearson also briefed of Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center Lab Department procedures in regards to COVID-19:

“Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center-Laboratory Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak

The CDC currently recommends the providers rule out more common communicable diseases prior to testing for the COVID-19 virus.  The provider will use their judgement, following CDC guidelines to determine what tests should be ordered.  Here at Lac Courte Oreilles Community Health Center we have the capabilities to perform testing for influenza, and strep.  We have another instrument that will test patients more in depth for 14 other common viruses and bacterial infections.

These test may be used to screen patients prior to sending testing out for the COVID-19 as the tests listed above can be completed in 1 hour and 5 minutes and the COVID-19 test takes 3-5 days.

If the provider chooses to order the COVID-19 test, it is offered through LabCorp who we already contract with.  They can have the test results available in 3-5 days. 

Supplies:

We currently have 18 collection kits.  The supplies are on backorder and McKesson has assured us we will receive 90 more collection kits by the end of next week.

The collection kit consists of a nasopharyngeal swab and Universal Transport Media.  The swab is inserted into the nasal cavity.  The swab is placed into Universal Transport Media and closed tightly.  The test samples will be picked up daily by the currier for LabCorp who comes here every day at 4pm.”

Katie Sears, RN , Community Health Department Charge Nurse, reports Community Health Nurses have the appropriate training to deliver medications to patients that are in active quarantine. Due to limited staff this service, medication delivery, will be strictly limited to individuals that are quarantined so that we are spreading our resources as far as possible to affectively assist the greatest number of Community Members in need during this time. Medications will be delivered to a mailbox or front door only if the patient is quarantined. Patients requesting additional in-home nurse care while quarantined will be directed to follow up with the local Emergency Department as nurses are not capable of prescribing supportive medication treatment for COVID-19 symptoms.

Home visiting programs will continue as usual unless a patient is reporting active symptoms of COVID-19, then the nurse may advise the patient of the need to seek testing if there is question. Staff with carry PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) with them at all times when completing home visits in the event that a patient may report questionable symptoms.

Health Director, Gary Girard is looking into a Mobile Command Unit for a possible testing site outside of the Clinic to prevent introducing the virus into the Clinic. Community updates will be provided if and when this change is made. Currently we will follow standard check-in procedures and patients will be asked to sanitize their hands and wear a mask to protect other Community members and staff.

In case a patient is triaged over the phone with a complaint of respiratory illness and meets criteria for a person with medium to high risk of exposure to Covid-19, they will be registered and roomed in the old urgent care wing of the clinic to prevent unnecessary exposure of other patients to contagions.

LCO School District will be following the Bureau of Indian Education directives in regards to COVID-19.

We would like to allay any fears that the LCO Community Health Center or our partners with the Sawyer County Public Health department and area hospitals are not fully prepared for an outbreak of infectious respiratory disease in our community. We have highly skilled staff, who have trained and prepared for a public health emergency such as this one, and we have good relationships with local and State partners. We have a well thought out plan of action and we are actively collaborating with area partners on contingency plans. This pandemic will continue to have rapidly changing challenges; however, we are confident that we will continue to be able to meet the needs of the community. 

Governor Evers Declares State of Emergency

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today declared a public health emergency in response to new cases of COVID-19, directing the Department of Health Services (DHS) to use all the resources necessary to respond to and contain the outbreak. Just this week, Wisconsin has had 5 new cases of COVID-19 and Illinois and Minnesota have also seen increased cases. With these new cases there needs to be extensive contact tracing to contain the spread of COVID-19. Wisconsin also has 37 residents returning to Wisconsin from the Princess Cruise Ship who may have been exposed and need to be in monitored self quarantine for 14 days.

“We have been working aggressively to slow the spread of COVID-19, and this declaration allows us to get the resources we need to continue to be proactive when it comes to protecting Wisconsinites,” said Gov. Evers. “It is the latest step in the work our state agencies have been doing around the clock with our healthcare partners to prepare for the possibility of COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic.”

The governor signed an executive order that directs DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidences of COVID-19. It allows the Department to purchase, store, or distribute appropriate medications, regardless of insurance or other health coverage, as needed to respond to the emergency. It also authorizes state funds to support local health departments with costs related to isolation and quarantine, as well as the use of the Wisconsin National Guard.

Executive Order #72 can be found here.

Wisconsin's latest cases are in Piece, Dane, Fond du Lac, and Waukesha counties. The state's first confirmed case of COVID-19 was discovered in Dane County in early February. That patient was exposed to known cases while in China, and after isolating at home has now recovered and is doing well. 

If COVID-19 begins to spread in Wisconsin communities, state and local public health officials will consider community interventions such as social distancing, replacing in-person meetings with telework when possible, reviewing workplace sick leave policies, modifying, postponing or canceling mass gatherings, implementing restrictions on visitors to residential treatment and living facilities, and closures of schools, childcare settings.

Decisions about the implementation of community measures will be made by state and local officials based on CDC and DHS guidance, as well as the scope of the outbreak.

People should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water.

  • Covering coughs and sneezes.

  • Avoiding touching your face.

  • Staying home when sick. 

“This can be a frightening time, but our state has incredible health professionals who are working to contain the spread,” Gov. Evers said. “We cannot do this alone, we need all hands on deck to protect the public from COVID-19.”  

 

Recently DHS released new guidance for mass gatherings and travel, which can be found at the DHS website linked below.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

March 12 Letter from Governor Evers

I wanted to reach out to you today to give you an update on COVID-19 (formerly called the novel coronavirus). COVID-19 is a virus that has not previously infected humans and information about its rate of spread and its effects is still largely unknown, which makes it incredibly important to be highly cautious in dealing with the current situation. Given this, I wanted to give you an update on the work we’ve been doing so far, the current status of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, and the steps we are taking to keep families and communities safe.

 

As of today, there have been six people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin. One of these individuals has already recovered. The Department of Health Services (DHS), my administration, and I are taking this issue very seriously, and are continuing to take precautions across Wisconsin. We have also been working with partners at the local and federal levels to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information possible. The information in this email is current as of this morning, March 12, 2020, but please know that as this is a rapidly evolving situation, there will continue to be updates and changes. You can also find the most current information on the DHS website, which has guidance that is updated regularly for travel, self-quarantine, and school districts, among other important information.

 

Earlier this month, I directed the DHS to provide the public and legislators from across the state an informational briefing and give an update on the status of COVID-19. Over the past few weeks, the DHS has also hosted regular informational calls to provide updates to members of the media so we can ensure folks across our state are receiving the most current information we have available. I have also participated in discussions with Vice President Mike Pence and senior administration officials to receive updates on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and to share how Wisconsin and other states are responding to COVID-19. I also know that addressing public health issues like COVID-19 requires collaboration and communication to ensure our efforts are efficient and effective. Members of my administration have been in regular contact with other elected officials and partners at the local, state, and federal levels, so we can work together on preventing and responding to COVID-19.

 

Making sure that folks have access to the healthcare resources, care, and treatment they need is critically important as we continue to work to manage the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. On March 6, Insurance Commissioner Mark Afable and I asked health plan issuers to help Wisconsinites access testing and treatment for COVID-19 and ensure that healthcare is as accessible as possible as we continue to monitor this situation.

 

We requested that health plan issuers waive cost-sharing for COVID-19-related laboratory testing and radiology services, prepare for increased demand for telehealth services, review readiness and responsiveness plans to new COVID-19 cases, and that health plan issuers cover the immunization for COVID-19—in the event that an immunization becomes available—at no cost-sharing for covered members. We also asked that health plan issuers be flexible on prescription drug supply limitations and early refill limitations so folks can get their medication as quickly as possible and without worrying about increased exposure or risk.

 

I have also been working with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin to help secure federal funding to support our efforts in responding to COVID-19 in Wisconsin. On March 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Wisconsin will be receiving more than $10.2 million to support our response and prevention efforts for COVID-19. My administration is working quickly to determine how to best allocate these resources toward prevention and response across our state.

 

On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. I know that folks across our state continue to be concerned about the current status of COVID-19 and the work we are doing to prevent further spread in Wisconsin. Earlier today I hosted a press conference to give an update to the people of our state about COVID-19 and I also signed Executive Order #72, which declares a public health emergency in Wisconsin. Executive Order #72 directs the DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidents of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, and suspends any administrative rules that the DHS finds would increase the health threat or prevent, hinder, or delay our response to the COVID-19 emergency. It also directs the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard to assist in our response to the public health emergency. Additionally, the DHS also issued new guidance regarding mass gatherings, travel, and long-term care and assisted living facilities. Please see the DHS website for these updates. If you are interested in watching my press conference from earlier today, you can find the link on my Facebook page here.

 

We encourage you, your family members, and friends and neighbors to take the necessary precautions and preparations in the event of any continued spread of COVID-19. You can find some additional information below from the CDC as you take these important steps to protect yourselves and your family members. 

 

As we continue to receive updates on the status of COVID-19, my administration will be continuing to work to ensure folks and families across Wisconsin have the most accurate and current information. If you have additional questions, please call 608-266-1865 or 800-947-3529. Thank you again for reaching out to my office. 

 

Sincerely,

Tony Evers

Governor

LCO Ojibwe College Announces Covid-19 Protection Plan

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College

Emergency COVID-19 Protection Plan

The President has directed the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe College’s COVID-19 Emergency response and operations as follows.  This plan is aligned with state and tribal governments timeline to support students, faculty, staff with children in K-12.  Beginning March 17th and continuing through April 6th at which time we will reassess our plans and readjust as necessary.

  • Students will learn from home/remotely.

  • Only essential staff will work onsite, all other staff and faculty will work from home.

  • The library will be closed.

  • Official communication will come from the President ONLY.

  • Labs will be delivered in person on campus with students and faculty required to wear protective masks & gloves provided by the college.

  • The college will do its best to accommodate students/staff with laptops for those who do not have access to one. You may check these out through the Information Technology department.

  • Courses will be delivered online, Zoom & paper packets. If you are a student and you do not have Internet access, you may request paper packets from your instructor or you can access the colleges Internet by sitting in the college parking lot in your vehicle and enter your username and password to connect.

  • Support Services will continue via phone/email.

  • Prior to April 6th the President will reassess closure and update communication.

Sawyer County Board Chairman Declares Public Health Emergency for the County

The Sawyer County Board Chairman, Tweed Shuman, declared a Public Health Emergency for Sawyer County on Friday, March 13, stating because of emergency conditions, the County Board is unable to meet with promptness.

 

The Declaration stated, pursuant to sections 323.11 and 323.14(4)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes it is necessary and expedient for the health, safety, welfare and good order of the county to proclaim that emergency conditions exist; and the Public Health Emergency has caused the county to expend, commit and exhaust its pertinent available resources; and the county requests state assistance and advises the State of Wisconsin of our emergency conditions.

 

"NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to chapter 59 of the Wisconsin Statutes, as county board chairman or designee of Sawyer County, Wisconsin, I hereby declare a condition of disaster and proclaim until March 19, 2020 6:30 p.m. or such earlier time as a quorum of the county board convenes:

  • Travel/entry restrictions, as follows: No non-essential travel

  • Request Wisconsin state resources, as follows: National Stock Pile PPE

  • Authorize emergency purchases of goods and materials, as follows: PPE, Covid-19 test kits, Public Information Flyers, Cleaning supplies

  • Authorize emergency purchases of services, as follows: Cleaning Services

  • Authorize hiring, as follows: Staff to assist with case consultation and follow-up and approve OT for current staff.

  • Authorize public works contracting in excess of $20,000 without advertising or bid."

LCO Housing Authority Suspends Rent in Notice on Operations During Covid-19 Crisis

By Mark Montano

LCO Housing Director

March 23 update

 

The Housing Authority is providing the following operational updates in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Information and guidance during these trying and difficult times is rapidly changing. We ask that you continue to utilize all resources in order to stay up to date and current.

• Due to Governor Tony Evers "Stay at Home" Executive Order, which will be effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, beginning at the close of business on Monday, March 22, 2020 the Lac Courte Oreilles Housing Authority offices will be closed to essential services only until further notice. (UPDATED March 23, 2020 3:30pm)

• April 2020 rent will be suspended. (updated 3/23/2020)

• All exterior entrance doors will be locked with no access to the public.

• To ensure the health and safety of our Maintenance staff and also limit exposure to our tenants, the Maintenance Department will only be responding to Emergency or Health & Safety work orders. Additionally, when calling for maintenance services staff have been instructed to ask if anyone may be sick in your house so that the appropriate precautions can be taken by responding staff.

• All annual unit inspections are suspended.

• Tenant payments will only be accepted by phone with a valid credit/debit card. Payments may also be deposited in a drop box, which will be installed the week of March 23rd and will be located next to the main entrance. We strongly encourage using other forms of payment versus cash due to not being able to provide you with change. Envelopes will be available in a box located by the front entrance for use in the drop box.

 

• Applications for housing will be available on the Tribal website and may be emailed to info@lcoha.org or mailed to the Housing Authority physical address.

 

• Individuals on the current waiting list may update their information via email at info@lcoha.org or by telephone.

 

• All late fees will be waived until further notice.

 

• Recertification's will be performed telephonically and through the mail.

 

The Housing Authority takes this public emergency very seriously and are responding as quickly as possible in an effort to protect the public and our employees by reducing social interaction. We would also encourage all tenants to make certain we have all of your current contact information.

 

Please be safe and follow all safety guidance.

LCO Credit Union Operating Drive-Thru Only

The LCO Federal Credit Union will be operating through Drive-Thru only starting March 16th, 2020 until further notice. This is to protect not only the members of the credit union, but all LCO Tribal Members.

 

We will do our best to accommodate all members needs. Please be understanding and patient as we work our way through these times.

LCO Vocational Rehabilitation Announces New Policy Update as of March 24, During Covid-19 Crisis

By Megan Bisonette

LCO VR Director

In the latest effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, Governor Tony Evers has issued a "safer at home" executive order to begin at 8:00 a.m. on March 25, 2020 until April 24, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. To protect all staff, consumers and their families the LCOVR Office will remain closed to the public while the "safer at home" executive order is in place. Staff will be completing most of their work duties from home. During the week at least one staff member will be present each day to answer phones, complete case management duties and to continue providing essential services to consumers. Also, during this time all staff will be available via email, which are listed below:

Megan Bisonette- megan.bisonette@lco-nsn.gov

Sheila Butler- sheila.butler@lco-nsn.gov

Gwen Carley- gwen.carley@lco-nsn.gov

Rhonda Raines- rhonda.raines@lco-nsn.gov

Destiny Sharlow- destiny.sharlow@lco-nsn .gov

 

Please continue to monitor the LCO Vocational Rehabilitation Facebook page for updates. If you do not have access to email, please call the office at 715-638-5161. If you don't get an answer, please leave a voicemail and we will return your call within 24 hours. I'd like to thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

LCO Elder Center Going to Limited Services During Covid-19 Crisis

By Terrance Manuelito

LCO Tribal Aging Director

 

For the health & safety of all LCO Elder Center Clients and Staff, we are not currently open for congregate and socializing events.

 

Meals can be picked up in a take-out container. Today, March 16, 2020 & Tomorrow, Tuesday 17, 2020) Frozen meals for the remainder of week will also be available tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 between 11:00am – 12noon.

 

Home Delivered Meals will continue with possible additional meals in advance.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you! Please contact LCO Elder Center staff for any questions. Terrance (715) 957-0077/76, Alberta (715) 865-3379, Doreen (715)957-0027.

 

The following is a letter distributed to the Elders

by Terrance Manuelito,

Tribal Aging Director

 

In response to the global pandemic of COVID-19 Corona Virus the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Elder & Disabled Services/Nutrition program will institute the following plan to slow the progression of the virus and protect our Aging & Disabled community members.

 

1. The Congregate meal site will be closed until further notice, clients may come in, sign-in, and pick up a take-out container.

 

2. Home Delivered meals will still continue with the hopes of providing up to a week’s worth and/or frozen meals for clients, Staff is working hard to provide the daily meal and other meals for our Volunteers to deliver, which may include more than one visit, this is still a work in progress.

 

3. We encourage all clients to contact our department if they are experiencing any issues relating to the services we provide, we will attempt to address the needs of community members as we receive up to date information from our Leadership.

 

4. In regards to providing elders with “care packages”, that would contain essential daily cleaning supplies, we have contacted all available vendors that are either out of stock or on back order, we are currently looking into other options at this time.

 

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this pandemic has caused and we will continue to provide our services until further notice, your patience and understanding during this time is very much appreciated, Thank you.

Head Start Program Closing Until April 6

Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) families, with the recent Covid-19 planning and preparation, the Office of Head Start has provided guidance regarding program closures. The LCO Head Start Program serves very young children who play in close proximity to one another. As precautionary measure, our Program will close Monday, March 16, 2020 until Monday, April 6, 2020. We will be providing food delivery and pickup for HS/EHS families on Friday, March 20, 2020. We will continue to provide further updates to families as they become available.

 

Dear Head Start Families,

 

We are writing to provide you with information about the Coronavirus and the Agency's efforts to ensure the health and safety of all children and staff in our buildings. It is normal to be concerned about a new virus, so we want to work with families to ensure that we are receiving updates on a daily basis regarding prevention and best practice.

 

The Lac Courte Oreilles Head Start / Early Head Start Program will continue to monitor updates about the Coronavirus from local, state, and federal agencies, and will keep families informed should recommendations change. It is important that as of this email, Prevention Measures:

 

  • Continue to practice frequent hand-washing throughout the day

  • Continue to follow the Head Start Policy regarding illness and communicable disease which states that children shall not attend classes when they have a fever, cough, or nasal congestion. It is critical that children stay home when ill and seek medical attention regarding any flu-like symptoms.

  • The school will continue "Cleaning and disinfection" of all surfaces within the Center

 

For additional information on the Coronavirus Disease, please visit: htti1s:Uwww.cdc.gov/coronavlrus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

Please follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for the prevention of illness, found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.htm1

 

If you have further questions, please contact our health managers, Dianne or Mallory @71 5-634 8560 ext. 2255

 

Wishing the Best to all our Families,

 

Barbara Biller, Program Director

LCO Tribal Court Issues Safety Measures for Court Proceedings During Covid-19 Crisis

Mino Maajisewin Program Suspending Home Visits

By Jenny Bisonette

Program Director

 

In an effort to keep children, families, community members, and staff as safe as possible during this uncertain time of COVID-19, the LCO Mino Maajisewin Home Visitation Program is temporarily suspending in-home visits to participating families beginning immediately. Staff will not be providing transportation at this time. If you are in need of a gas voucher or other service, please contact your home visitor or Jenny Bisonette by phone or messaging. We are trying to limit face-to-face contact as much as possible. If you are sick and/or experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please protect yourself and others by staying home.

 

Mino Maajisewin staff want to maintain contact with our families by calls, texts, messaging, and possibly by “virtual home visits’ using technology such as Skype, FaceTime, or other options. Your home visitor will be contacting you in the next few days to set up a time to connect. Your home visitor will also let you know when we are able to start face-to-face home visits again. As of now, Mino Maajisewin will follow the Wisconsin’s School closure until Monday, April 6, 2020. Please note this timeline may change.

 

When regular routines are changed and, in a time, when much is unknown, we realize that this can be a time of greater stress for families. Please reach out to Mino Maajisewin staff if you are in need of additional resources or just need to talk through something.

 

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you to keep informed by regularly checking the WI Department of Health Services (DHS) DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC website.

Please contact your home visitor or other Mino Maajisewin staff if you have questions or need additional information. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this difficult time.

 

Jenny Bisonette, Program Coordinator: (715) 558-7734 / Cell: (715) 699-2959

Melody Guibord, Home Visitor: (715) 558-7736 / Cell: (715) 699-2435

Theresa Martin, Home Visitor: (715) 558-7737

Carla Miller, Family Resource Specialist: (715) 558-7739 / Cell: (715) 558-9462

Tiffiny Nielsen, Home Visitor: (715) 558-7738

Mary Tribble, Grant Manager: (715) 558-7735

 

Please see below for additional resources that might be helpful when talking to your child about COVID-19. This information comes from the Healthy Families America (HFA) website.

Coronavirus resources

 

For parents—this section provides resources for parents for how to talk with children about COVID-19. These strategies emphasize reassurance of child fears and anxieties, modeling proper hygiene, establishing routines in the case of school closures, and monitoring media use:

 

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), American Academy of Pediatrics

“How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus, ” New York Times

“What Parents Need to Know About Coronavirus,” New York Times

How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus, PBS Kids

Tips for Families: Talking About the Coronavirus, Zero to Three

Coronavirus and Parenting: What You Need to Know Now, NPR

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus, Child Mind Institute

Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

How to Prepare for Extended School Closings—and Not Lose Your Mind, Upworthy

Supporting and Reassuring Children around the World (in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Polish, and numerous other languages), Mindheart

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A HOPE-informed Guide for Parents, HOPE (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences)

Healthy Families America website

 

For children—this section provides age-appropriate resources for children (e.g., songs and videos) regarding proper hygiene, illness, and visits to medical professionals:

 

Coping After a Disaster (Ready Wrigley Books), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Cómo sobrellevar los desastres o eventos traumáticos (Read Wrigley Books), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Ready Wrigley Prepares for Flu Season, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

LISTO CALIXTO se prepara para la temporada de influenza, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

A Germ-fighting Superhero, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood/PBS Kids

Step-by-step Handwashing with Elmo, Sesame Street/PBS Kids

The Man with the Yellow Hat Explains How Germs Work, Curious George/PBS Kids

LCO Health Center Dental Department Going to Emergency Service Only

On behalf of Health Director:

 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the LCOCHC is taking measures to protect patients from unnecessary exposure. In doing so, the Dental Department is closing for routine treatment until further notice. The Dental Department will be seeing patients for true dental emergencies only at this time, and all non-emergent treatment will be delayed in an effort to reduce virus transmission. For select patients in the midst of treatment, completion of on-going treatment will be scheduled as appropriate. Please contact the Dental Department with any questions. Thank you for your efforts to “flatten the curve” as we work to best serve our patients and our community.

Governor Issues Safer-at-Home Order Until April 24

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order. The order is available here

 

The order is effective at 8 am on Weds., March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8 am Fri., April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. 

 

“I know the COVID-19 outbreak has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state. Issuing a Safer at Home order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do and it’s not something I take lightly, but here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously,” said Gov. Evers. “Each and every one of us has to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can flatten the curve to ensure our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers have the opportunity to do their important work. Let’s all do our part and work together.”

 

Individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but they must comply with this order as to when it is permissible to leave home. Similarly, if a business is an Essential Business or Operation as defined in this order, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work that is done in compliance with this order.

 

Under this order, Wisconsin residents are able to:

 

  • Perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;

  • Get necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home;

  • Care for a family member in another household; and

  • Care for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.

 

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Health care operations, including home health workers;

  • Critical infrastructure;

  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals;

  • Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food banks;

  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences;

  • Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities;

  • Child care facilities, with some limitations; 

  • Gas stations and auto repair facilities;

  • Banks;

  • Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection;

  • Hardware stores, plumbers, and electricians;

  • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;

  • Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security, and payroll; and  

  • Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.

The order contains detailed information regarding the exemptions provided to certain businesses. If a business is unsure about whether or not they are exempted from this order, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation here

 

The public should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

 

  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including play dates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;

  • Covering coughs and sneezes;

  • Avoiding touching your face; and

  • Staying home. 

 

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

LCO Conservation Offices Close Until Until Further Notice

LCO Chairman Addresses Safer-at-Home Order, Employees, Public Health and Emergency Management

LCO Health's Incident Commander Shares Info on Covid-19, Clinic Measures, and Screening Procedures

LCO Health Director Says Patients Still Seen Based on Level of Care Needed

LCO Health Center Pharmacy Going to Curbside Only

Chairman Advises No Travel to LCO in Latest Update

LCO Pandemic Mitigation Plans as of March 30, 2020

Tribal Office Closed as of March 26

Until further notice, the LCO Tribal Administration Offices are closed to the public, effectively immediately. Only essential employees will be working. Any business will be conducted by phone or email. If you need any assistance, please call or email the necessary department.

LCO Recycling Center Provides Update on Hours and Operations

LCO Development Closed, Available for Emergency Needs

Due to the COVID-19 LCO Development Corporation will be closing its doors to the public. You can still call LCO Development Corporation with any questions. We have two currently have two employees working in the office. We are currently working on getting a lock box for customers to be able to drop off payments during this period.

 

We also have a limited number of team members in the field as well for any emergency carpentry or electrical needs. We will continue to operate under strict safety measures to protect our employee's and the community.

 

Thank you for your cooperation at this time and stay safe.

 

Alan Johnson

LCO Development Director