10/12/2020- Officials from the Oconto County Health Department and regional hospitals are speaking out jointly to warn residents about the significant uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 in the area. The recent surge in activity has led to an increase in hospitalizations and is straining the health care system, causing Oconto County hospitals to activate their emergency plans. Currently, just 17% of hospital beds are available in a seven-county region. Also due to the increase in activity, Oconto County Public Health is operating at crisis capacity and is no longer able to reach out to all positive cases in a timely manner or call the contacts of the positive case, further hampering efforts to contain the virus. Oconto County healthcare providers and Public Health are imploring residents to act now to stop the spread of COVID-19, including avoiding large gatherings, wearing a face mask in public, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and washing hands thoroughly and often.