Throughout Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13, Verona city officials worked to formulate a response to the threat of the virus.

On Friday, city administrator Adam Sayre told the Press the senior center, library and public works building were set to close, but only if the Verona Area School District pulled the trigger first.

By 4 p.m., Gov. Tony Evers had made that decision for the district.

The library and public works building are now closed to the public, as is the senior center, which serves a particularly high-risk population.

On Tuesday, March 17, Mayor Luke Diaz declared a state of emergency in the city of Verona.

Sayre told the Press in an email that the declaration makes the city eligible to receive any potential federal disaster aid, and ensures full allocation of city resources during the pandemic.

With elections three weeks away, city officials began encouraging people to vote absentee, by mail. But for those who have to vote early in person, Clark promised clean counters and pens and extra hand sanitizer available at City Center.

Fitch-Rona EMS is also taking precautions with the increase of COVID-19 cases, partly by looking at reducing the number of agencies involved with calls.

In an email to the Press last week, Fitch-Rona EMS chief Patrick Anderson wrote staff is working with the police and fire departments in the cities of Verona and Fitchburg to minimize the number of responders who might be exposed to an illness.

“They may still respond, but (we) may just have one patient caregiver enter a home unless more help is needed,” Anderson wrote.

Staff have also been extra vigilant when cleaning ambulances and equipment following calls where people showed signs of upper respiratory symptoms and fevers, Anderson added, and are planning for the possibility of staffing shortages due to infections or quarantine requirements.

Renee Hickman can be contacted at or follow her on Twitter at @ReneeNHickman

Kimberly Wethal and Neal Patten contributed to this report