COVID-19 testing and Sheriff’s Department report top Waushara County Board meeting
On May 19th the Waushara County Board of Supervisors were briefed on the COVID-19 testing including the seven positives reported in the county. Administrator Robert Sivick and Waushara County Public Health Officer, Patti Wohlfeil, told the supervisors to date the county has seven positive COVID-19 test results. Wohlfeil said of those seven - five are recovered. She also added that of the seven only one was hospitalized.
Wohlfeil said for the mobile testing in Wild Rose on May 12th they tested 101 and there was one positive. On May 19th they tested 113 in Coloma and those test results would not be back for 4-5 days. She added, our numbers are not bad and we are opening things up in the Phase 2 of the comeback. “Most people have a good sense on what they should do. You take care of you and you take care of other by wearing a mask. Be vigilant,” she said.
The supervisors also questioned whether the Amish community was informed about the Safer at Home guidelines. Wohlfeil said that the health department has been to the Amish community multiple times and the guidelines were explained.
Sivick said that the county has been proactive and the Coronavirus Team was formed late February and now an Economic Recovery Task Force has been formed. The restaurant and tavern owners have been very cooperative. “Many are still apprehensive about going out. Waushara County has done well with Safer at Home. We are not an island and we cannot isolate ourselves,” he said.
As of May 20th masks will be required at the Waushara County Courthouse. He said the county continues to provide services and the employees are doing a great job.
It was announced that Scott Schuman, Parks Director for the past 31 years, is retiring and the county has hired Kevin Boehm to replace Schuman. Boehm was introduced to the supervisors and he said he has with 28 years of experience in parks management.
Chief Deputy Jim Lietz and Lieutenant Ryan McElroy gave the annual report for the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Deputy Lietz said that he was named chief following the retirement of Chief Deputy Curt Olson. Lietz reported the sheriff’s department has 55 full time positions plus four part time courthouse security positions.
In 2019 their major projects included continuing to work on a single point entry and upgrades to Courthouse Security; adding K-9 Storm with handler Sgt. Scott Eagan and completed the install of new HD squad car cameras.
There were 23 search warrants executed in 2019 and drugs seized included Heroin, Methamphetamine, Marijuana, Suboxone, Oxycodone, TH Vape Cartridges and Cocaine. He said the Drug Task Force awarded additional grants to fight the Heroin, Opiates, and Meth epidemic totaling over $180,000. Chief Deputy Lietz said they are seeing a rise in Meth and Heroin in the area.
Call volumes averaged 137 per day in 2019 with total calls at 49,870 and there were 43,207 administration calls. Waushara County had 6,663 calls to 911 and Emergency Medical Dispatch had 1,741, an average of 4.8 per day.
In the Waushara County Jail they booked 1,105 inmates, 805 males and 300 females. There were 167 booked on felonies and 675 on misdemeanors. The average daily population at the jail was 83 inmates and their busiest days were Monday and Tuesday from 2-5 p.m.
Waushara County had 532 crashes in 2019, 450 were property damage, 79 injury crashes, and 3 fatal crashes. They had 41 sex offenses, one robbery, 49 burglaries, and 87 assaults. Chief Deputy Lietz said there were 43 suicide threats and 17 suicide attempts. Domestic Abuse investigations rose from 58 in 2018 to 81 in 2019 and Disorderly Conduct was up from 191 in 2018 to 236 in 2019.
Chief Deputy Lietz was asked if he thought there would be an increase in calls due to the Safer at Home ruling being overturned by the state. He said that Memorial Day weekend would be a good test of problems that may occur.
In other business the board approved a resolution acknowledging the Commendable Service of George Peterman as Waushara County Supervisor and approved appointments to the Highway Traffic Commission through April 2022. Linda Freudenthal, Wautoma and Jody A. Jansen, Wild Rose, were approved to serve on the Tri-County Regional Economic Development Corporation.
The next regular meeting of the Waushara County Board of Supervisors will be held at the Waushara County Courthouse, Wautoma, at 7 p.m. on June 16.