Superior and Douglas County declared emergencies Monday as the nationwide response to COVID-19 ramped up.
"This is not a crisis right now. The steps we are taking are to prevent or minimize a potential crisis that could be very serious if it afflicts Douglas County," Superior Mayor Jim Paine said at a news conference. "Please think of your friends and neighbors; think of the people you could possibly infect if this disease arrives in Douglas County, which is very very possible, even likely."
Many city offices and the library will close at the end of the day Tuesday, though Paine said: "We'll still be able to conduct the business of the city."
County offices will remain open.
"We are asking the public if they can call or e-mail rather than show up in person," Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert said.
The City Council will have to approve the measure Tuesday night, and the County Board on Thursday. Declaring an emergency starts spending tracking in case the state or federal government is able to reimburse the city.
As of Monday there were 47 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Wisconsin, none of which were reported in the northwestern part of the state. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said clinicians no longer need public health approval to order tests.
Gov. Tony Evers on Friday ordered all K-12 schools to close Wednesday until at least April 5. Superior schools are on spring break this week, and staff are being asked to prepare for online learning.
Superintendent Amy Starzecki said mobile sites will be set up next week to provide food to those who need it during the closure.
Residents are asked to continue keeping their distance from others, avoiding crowds, washing hands frequently and staying at home when sick.
"I think it's really important not to become fatigued of hearing the warnings we're giving," said Douglas County Health Officer Kathy Ronchi. "It is imperative we continue to follow those directives, because we're finding that it works."