County admin sees hopeful trend but more testing needed

By Emmitt B. Feldner
for The Beacon

SHEBOYGAN – The County Board completed its reorganization in theater audience mode Tuesday.

Meeting in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Sheboygan campus Fine Arts Theater for the second straight week in order to achieve proper social distancing, the board approved standing committee assignments and organized the committees.

With supervisors and officials all masked and keeping at least six feet apart, County Administrator Adam Payne updated the board on the coronavirus emergency situation in the county.

“Overall, I’m encouraged and feeling hopeful,” Payne summarized. “I think Sheboygan County has hopefully seen the worst of it.”

While the number of reported cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the state, the number of active cases in the county is heading in the opposite direction, he said, with only five active cases in the county as of Tuesday.

“Recovered cases continue to go up and active cases continue to go down. We certainly hope that trend continues,” Payne reported.

“We continue to see the number of active cases (in the county) go down and this has happened for several weeks,” Payne stated. “The trajectory of positive cases has dropped like a rock.”

The county administrator expressed his feeling that state and federal guidelines for reopening local economies are not all that different. He outlined where the county stands in meeting those criteria, beyond the decline in active cases.

“We’re not doing that good with testing in Sheboygan County. We’re not testing to the extent we should be. I think the public’s going to demand more testing in order to feel safe,” Payne continued.

He said the county currently has eight public health employees doing tracing of COVID-19 cases and contacts, and just added eight more limited-term employees to do that vital work in containing and halting the spread of the virus.

“We’ve taken steps to protect our staff and the public,” Payne assured the board.

“We’ve gone through a lot in a short period of time,” he noted.

Payne urged state officials to come together on plans to address the pandemic and get the state open again.

“What we need are state leaders who sit down at the table and talk, put their ego aside and put the health and well-being of the people first. We should expect them to talk,” Payne stated.

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The membership of the board’s eight standing committees made by County Board Chair Vernon Koch and the Executive Committee were approved unanimously by the board.

The committees then met to elect officers and set meeting dates.

The committees, officers and meeting dates are:

Finance: William Goehring, chair; Roger TeStroete, vice-chair; Keith Abler, secretary; Thomas Wegner and Robert Ziegelbauer. Meeting second and fourth Wednesday of the month, 3:30 p.m., Administration Bulding room 119.

Health Care Center: Jacqueline Veldman, chair; Curt Brauer, vice-chair; Alan Bosman, secretary; Fran Damp and Marilyn Montemayor. Meeting second Wednesday of the month, 9 a.m., Rocky Knoll.

Health and Human Services: Brian Hoffmann, chair; Brauer, vice-chair; Goehring, secretary; Montemayor, Vicky Schneider and Wendy Schobert. Meeting first and third Tuesday of the month, 8 a.m., Health and Human Services building.

Human Resources: Damp, chair; TeStroete, vice-chair; Edward Procek, secretary; Charlette Nennig and Schneider. Meeting second (if necessary) and fourth Thursday of the month, 3:30 p.m., Administration Building room 302.

Law: Nennig, chair; Gerald Jorgensen, vice-chair; Hoffmann, secretary; Paul Gruber and Schobert. Meeting first and third (if necessary) Thursday of the month, 4:15 p.m., Law Enforcement Center.

Planning, Resources, Ag and Extension: Abler, chair; Michael Ogea, vice-chair; Rebecca Clarke, secretary; Gruber and Henry Nelson.

Property: Nelson, chair; Brian Hilbelink, vice-chair; Jacob Immel, secretary; George Kulow and Brian Smith.

Transportation: TeStroete, chair; Wegner, vice-chair; Bosman, secretary; Veldman and Ziegelbauer.

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