By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Brown County, Green Bay Fire Chief, David Litton, gave an update to the common council at its Tuesday, May 5, virtual meeting.
Litton said as of May 5 there are 1,552 confirmed cases and 11 deaths in the county.
“The testing has moved forward in several of the targeting facilities in the county and city where we know we had large breakouts and hot spots,” he said. “Starting (May 1) and working through the weekend, the Resch Center was set up to test families of the workers from the larger facilities and then moved to open community testing for those who were symptomatic.”
Litton said a second site in the city opened May 6 between the YWCA and Casa ALBA in downtown Green Bay.
He said 3,161 tests were administered since April 29.
“The state was in short supply of the COVID test for a while, but more became available,” Litton said. “When things are operating well, we can test about 960 people per day between the two sites. About 80 people have come out of isolation and have been released.”
He said the number of positive cases is increasing because more testing is being done.
“There are three objectives currently going on with the health department – testing, providing housing and quarantine options for positive COVID tests and minimizing the spread through contact tracing and indexing,” he said.
Litton said there are two isolation and quarantine sites set up in the city, but he wouldn’t disclose the locations due to privacy concerns.
“The current plan is to continue the testing through Saturday, May 16,” said Litton. “There are lots of factors outside of our control, but hopefully at that point, we can transition from the community testing back to the hospitals and clinics. We’ve had a major commitment from the city to help us get through the pandemic. Hopefully, we will see an end to this spike soon, but we can’t say for sure.”
Finally, Litton said the area hospitals are not being overrun and are keeping up with the demand.
“From all indications, about 80 percent or more of the people who are testing positive are not requiring hospitalization,” he said. “None of what’s happening is good, but if there’s one positive, it’s that our hospitals are keeping up.”
East Shore Drive flooding
Litton also discussed the flooding along East Shore Drive last week and the damage it did.
“We had 40 mph winds straight from the north, which pushed the water over the break wall and flooded about two-thirds of East Shore and many of the houses,” he said. “We checked roughly 120 houses and took a few people out by boat. Fortunately, there were no major injuries. Saint Claire Street along the East River also had some flooding.”
On top of this, Litton said the area-wide command center was set up in the basement at the museum, and the Fox River was rising to the point where officials didn’t know when it was going to recede, so the command center was moved to the jail.