CHIPPEWA FALLS — Although President Donald Trump is taking the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, Chippewa County Public Health Director Angela Weideman said she is not recommending the medication as a preventative measure to combat COVID-19.
During the county’s weekly COVID-19 press conference, Weideman said she is not getting a lot of calls from the public about hydroxychloroquine.
“It is not approved by the FDA as a treatment,” Weideman said. “We do not recommend anyone take hydroxocloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.”
Trump announced on Monday he has been taking the drug for about a week and a half, even as studies are indicating it has few positive effects to combat the disease and could cause harmful side effects.
Weideman also said she is still reviewing the permits for Rock Fest in July, and Country Fest, which has been moved to August. Weideman said she is working with fest organizers to make sure they have measures in place before the permits are issued.
“The organizers want these events to be safe,” Weideman said.
In the past week, 425 Chippewa County residents were tested for the virus — a new high — but that was also because of the drive-thru testing events in Thorp and Ladysmith. Weideman said she isn’t aware of future drive-thru testing events coming to the area.
Overall, there have been 43 positive COVID-19 cases in the county, which is up six cases since Friday. Of those, 31 are no longer showing symptoms, with the other 12 still being monitored. No one is currently hospitalized in the county from the virus, and there haven’t been any COVID-19-related deaths.
The number of people age 40 and younger contracting the virus has been growing, with 21 of the 43 cases falling in that category, she added.
Weideman is pleased to report that tests are becoming more readily available, as the supply of swabs and reagents used to take the tests has been growing. However, at this time, the county is still focusing on testing people who are showing symptoms of the disease.
The message from each speaker Wednesday was a reminder that the virus is still in the community even with the safer-at-home order eliminated. Chippewa Falls schools Superintendent Heidi Taylor-Eliopoulos said that the best way to ensure kids are able to return to school in the fall is to follow social distancing guidelines now.
Chippewa County Administrator Randy Scholz said there still isn’t a firm date for when the county courthouse will reopen. Anyone who needs to get into the building needs to make a reservation.