The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Fond du Lac County Health Department, and Waukesha County Public Health Department announced today that a fourth, fifth, and sixth person have tested positive for COVID-19 in our state.
The Waukesha County patient was exposed while traveling in the United States and internationally, and is currently isolated at home. Both Fond du Lac County patients were exposed while traveling, one in the U.S. and one internationally. One patient is hospitalized, while the other person is isolated at home. County health officials are working to determine the people who have been in contact with the patients to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms.
Additionally, DHS is issuing new guidance for travelers on a cruise in Egypt:
- If you were on a cruise in Egypt and you have symptoms like fever or respiratory illness, call your provider to be tested and quarantine at home immediately.
- If you were on a cruise in Egypt and do not have symptoms, call your local health department and quarantine at home immediately.
- If you have been in close contact with someone who has been on a cruise in Egypt and is ill, you also need to quarantine at home and inform your local health department.
“Additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 weren't unexpected as this illness spreads across the country. These latest confirmed cases should remind us how important it is to follow the recommended steps to prevent illness and contain the spread of COVID-19,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers. “We continue to urge state residents to monitor the DHS COVID 19 webpage and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for updated guidance on this evolving health situation.”
These cases come after two Dane County residents and one Pierce County resident tested positive for COVID-19. The first Dane county case was confirmed on February 5; that person isolated at home and has now recovered after testing negative for COVID-19. The other two cases were announced earlier this week and both individuals are isolated at their homes.
People who have traveled in the past 14 days to places where there is community spread of COVID-19 (international and domestic locations) are asked to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. If symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are present, they should contact their local health department and health care provider for possible testing. People should call ahead before arriving at a health care facility for testing.
Fond du Lac County Public Health, Waukesha County Public Health, and DHS responsibilities include:
- Identifying and contacting anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. These people are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. People with symptoms are tested for COVID-19.
- Performing follow-up testing for individuals who test positive to determine when a person can be released from isolation.
- Providing guidance to clinicians regarding testing.
- Preparing Wisconsin for community spread of COVID-19.
"We are working with our partners and local hospital systems to ensure we are getting residents the care and testing they need to ensure we are protecting the community as a whole," said Kimberly Mueller, Health Officer with the Fond du Lac County Health Department.
As we begin to see more spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., we want people to be prepared for actions that may be disruptive but are necessary to slow the spread of disease, such as temporary closures of colleges and universities, child care facilities and schools, workplace social distancing, and measures like replacing in-person meetings with teleworking and modifying, postponing, or canceling mass gatherings.
“Waukesha County is working with the state to manage this situation and to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 as much as possible,” said Benjamen Jones, Waukesha County Public Health Officer. “The best things residents can do is follow simple CDC guidance to protect themselves by doing things like washing their hands and staying home if they’re sick.”
People should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:
- Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.
- Covering coughs and sneezes.
- Avoiding touching your face.
- Staying home when sick.