COVID-19 cases on rise in De Pere
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – With area schools back in session, COVID-19 cases in De Pere are on the rise, according to an update from Health Director Deborah Armbruster at the city council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15.
“We’ve for sure seen an increase in cases,” said Armbruster. “On Sept. 1, De Pere had 286 cases, and as of (Sept. 15), it’s 407. We attribute it to schools reopening and some of the activities going on. The cases are generally from a younger age group.”
Armbruster said the numbers prove schools are a significant contributor to the increase of coronavirus cases.
“St. Norbert College has 34 cases and numerous pending cases,” she said. “There are also 79 contacts in quarantine. St. Norbert is going above and beyond what most colleges are doing in regards to isolating and quarantining students.”
Armbruster said the De Pere school district currently has three outbreaks.
“An outbreak is classified as having two or more positive cases,” she said. “De Pere High School (four cases), the middle school (two) and Dickinson Elementary (two) have outbreaks. Also, there is one case each at Altmayer and Heritage Elementary schools and one at the 4K Step Ahead Day Childcare Center.”
She said the West De Pere school district has a higher amount of COVID-19 cases.
“West De Pere currently has 29 positive cases,” said Armbruster. “Fifteen are staff, teachers or coaches and 14 are students. The high school has nine, Westwood and Hemlock Elementary schools have two and three, respectively, and the rest don’t have specific locations listed.”
Alder Dean Raasch said De Pere is using a hybrid approach – half in school, half virtual – for high school students, while West De Pere is full-time, in-person for all learning.
“De Pere also doesn’t have any sports, and West De Pere does,” said Mayor James Boyd.
The area also has one school-aged hospitalization – a 15-year old in intensive care, Armbruster said.
“Do we know if there were underlying health concerns with the young person in intensive care?” Raasch said.
Armbruster said she asked the school nurse where the individual attended, but she didn’t get a solid answer.
In other news
• A $1,450 donation was accepted from the Baycare Clinic Foundation to the police department for bleeding control kits.
• A fish sculpture donation (approximate value of $8,000) from Definitely De Pere was accepted. The sculpture will be located at the corner of George and Wisconsin streets.
• As of Jan. 1, there will be changes to Brown County boat launch fees. De Pere has three boat launches (Bomier, Fox Point and Perkofski) included. An annual permit will increase from $35 to $60; the senior (62 and older) will be $50 instead of $30; a commercial permit will be $75, and a daily pass will see an increase to $6.
• Effective Sept. 16, wage increases were approved for the election inspector and the chief election inspector. The election inspector pay will increase from $10 per hour to $11, while the chief election inspector will go from $11 per hour to $14.