Washington County Judge John Durrenberger currently has no plans to issue an order mandating residents stay at home or shelter in place.

County Judge John Durrenberger speaks at a press conference in front of the Washington County Courthouse March 23rd. (Mark Whitehead)

Durrenberger in a release this (Friday) afternoon said, at this time, elected officials in Washington County believe it necessary to continue practicing all the recommended social distancing practices, while also empowering people to self-regulate their lives rather than be “told to do” something. He said in his release “we can choose to panic, hoard supplies, and shut down the county, or we can choose to be rational”.

Emergency management officials, as of this afternoon, have confirmed five COVID-19 positive cases, ranging from 40 to 92 years old. Emergency Management Coordinator Bryan Ruemke said two of the COVID-19 positive individuals are in their 40s, one person is over the age of 60, and two are in their 80s and 90s. Durrenberger said two of the cases are currently hospitalized, the other three are at home under quarantine, and all confirmed cases so far are “likely from community spread”.

Durrenberger said there are likely more COVID-19 cases that the county does not know about, and may never know about as some cases do not show symptoms. According to Durrenberger, the county’s hospital emergency room volume is currently lower than average, EMS/911 call volume is lower than normal, and primary care physician clinics are seeing fewer patients than ever before. He also pointed to data suggesting that greater than 98 percent of the people infected with the virus will survive, only 2 to 3 percent of patients will require ICU or ventilator-level care, and upwards of 70 percent will not even show symptoms.

Durrenberger thanked the community for heeding the warnings that have been released and making sacrifices in order to limit the exposure and spread of the virus. He said there are things the community can do better in its fight against COVID-19, but at this time Washington County Commissioners do not feel that applying more stringent ordinances is the answer for today’s concerns.

You can read Durrenberger's full release here.

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