RF City Council hears Covid update

Posted 9/22/21

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month RIVER FALLS – River Falls City Council’s Sept. 14 meeting began with a Covid-19 update by Pierce County Public Health Officer AZ Snyder, who said hospital …

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RF City Council hears Covid update


September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

RIVER FALLS – River Falls City Council’s Sept. 14 meeting began with a Covid-19 update by Pierce County Public Health Officer AZ Snyder, who said hospital and health care capacities in western Wisconsin are concerning.

“I’ll be honest, things are really tight right now,” Snyder said. “It’s not an emergency in every hospital, but certainly things are looking less than ideal.”

At the time of the meeting, 50 percent of Intensive Care Units in Wisconsin were at peak capacity, Snyder relayed. Western Wisconsin is home to six ICU’s and five were at peak capacity that night, which meant if a medical-surgical patient needed an ICU, they’d have to go “pretty far away from home to get an ICU.”

Snyder said ICU patients were being transferred as far as La Crosse or Faribault, Minn.

She advised that urgent cares are busy, which may mean waiting quite awhile for a Covid test. She advised taking advantage of community testing sites, such as UW-River Falls.

Snyder said River Falls Area Hospital Director of Nursing Jen Loesch said RFAH is doing well, as it’s not seeing the level of Covid patients that some hospitals are in the area. Beds are available.

“Their No. 1 issue right is staffing,” Snyder said. “Staffing has become a real issue in the health care industry, due to a nationwide nursing shortage.”

As for UW-River Falls, which resumed classes in early September, 54 students have tested positive for Covid-19, though many live elsewhere.

“They’re conducting asymptomatic surveillance testing of 10 percent of their unvaccinated population every week, so their positivity rate is substantially lower than the counties’, so they’re doing a good job of detecting disease on-campus,” Snyder said.

Alderperson Alyssa Mueller said she’s noticed people aren’t masking like they were three months ago. She questioned whether the city could require businesses to require masks. City Administrator Scot Simpson said municipalities have been put in a position of encouraging masks, leading by example and implementing a masking policy for their staff.

As for increasing Covid numbers in the counties, Simpson looked to schools’ lack of mitigation efforts as part of the reason.

“Some schools have done a better job than others of trying to mitigate and so we’re seeing the results of mitigation or lack of mitigation,” Simpson said.

Covid numbers on Monday, Sept. 13, showed 91 new Covid cases in the last seven days, with another 19 new probable cases in that time period. Snyder said the numbers might be lower than actual numbers, because the third-party vendor with which the state works to update those websites has been having technical issues.

RF Public Library update

River Falls Public Library Director Tanya Misselt heralded September as Library Card Sign-Up Month, which began in 1987. The council also officially proclaimed September Library Card Sign-Up Month in River Falls. A RFPL card gives users access to more than 1.4 million items in the MORE Library System, 90,000 of which are housed at RFPL.

All in-person programming will resume this month. All preschool programs will be held under the outdoor canopy as long as weather allows. Once weather drives everyone inside, their programs will take place in the lower-level community room.

New Youth Services Librarian Kathy Larson starts Sept. 20. She brings 11 years’ experience in public libraries, including seven at Bloomer and four in Eau Claire. She has master’s degrees in library information science and education/professional development.

Other business

•The council approved a change of agent for WE Market Coop (Whole Earth Food Cooperative of River Falls. The new agent is Robin Boles.

•The council approved a change of agent for Kwik Trip #301. The new agent is Brandyn Ruesink.

•The council approved a Reserve Combination “Class B” Liquor and “Class B” Beer License for Tattersall Companies, LLC, dba Tattersall Distilling Company. Jeffrey M. Wefel of Hudson will be the agent.

•Council heard a first reading of an ordinance concerning stormwater management performance standards related to phosphorous reduction.

•The council approved a preliminary resolution declaring its intent to exercise special assessment powers for the benefit of the River Falls Business Improvement District. The BID assessment has been in place since 1988. The BID Board wants to continue with an annual assessment of $44,500 to fund improvements in the downtown district. Each property in the business improvement district pays a portion of the assessment based on the assessed values as of Jan. 1, 2021. The city’s administrative costs of $2,500 are included in the assessment total. A public hearing on the final assessment is scheduled for Oct. 26, 2021, to allow property owners within the district to provide comments and voice concerns before the final assessments are approved.

•The council approved a resolution awarding Golf View channel rehabilitation to Mattison Contractors for $189,737.50.

•River Falls Fire Department will hold its annual open house Sept. 27. It will partner with Freeman Drug to provide free Covid vaccinations.

•UW-River Falls Homecoming is scheduled for Oct. 2.

•The city’s Fall Clean Up event is slated for Oct. 4-9. For more information, visit rfcity.org

•Run with the Cops will be held Oct. 5, in conjunction with Special Olympics. For more information go to specialolympicswi. org