Oregon Village Hall, 2015

Residents are being encouraged to vote by absentee ballot.

Gov. Tony Evers declared a public emergency this week as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow throughout the state – causing the Village and Town of Oregon to take action.

As of Monday, March 16, the number of Wisconsin cases 33, announced the Department of Human Services. There six in Dane County.

As the April 7 spring election — which features a presidential preference primary — takes place in less than a month, a village news release stated it will take extra precautions at polling locations. A Town of Oregon news release has similar precautions and advice.

Both municipalities are encouraging at-risk or sick residents to participate in absentee voting. They are also increasing cleaning assignments in its own buildings to ensure a clean and sanitary environment, according to the releases.

The village release stated poll workers will disinfect voting equipment throughout the day and encouraged voters to bring their own black or blue ballpoint pens to mark their ballots.

Both municipalities are asking their respective employees and residents to take their own health precautions.

If employees or residents feel ill, it’s advised they stay home and contact their physician for medical advice and preventative care. Employees should notify their supervisors immediately if they are experiencing symptoms.

The Town and Village are advocating for residents to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time, cover their mouth every time they cough or sneeze, disinfect used items frequently – cell phones, keyboards, desks and etc. – and avoid touching their face.

According to a Wisconsin Elections Commission document detailing Ever’s order, DHS is leading the response to the emergency and directing all state agencies to assist in the ongoing virus response.

The first cases of COVID-19 were seen in China in late 2019, and the disease has since spread internationally, affecting around 129,000 people and killing 4,500. The coronavirus family that causes the disease is also responsible for the common cold and respiratory syndromes such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

COVID-19 was deemed a worldwide pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, by the World Health Organization. The last time WHO declared a pandemic was H1N1 influenza in 2009.

Email Emilie Heidemann at emilie.heidemann@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.