WAUKESHA COUNTY -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Fond du Lac County Health Department, and Waukesha County Public Health Department announced Wednesday, March 11 that a fourth, fifth, and sixth person tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
DHS officials said the Waukesha County patient was exposed while traveling in the United States and internationally, and was isolated at home.
Both Fond du Lac County patients were exposed while traveling, one in the U.S. and one internationally. One patient was taken to the hospital, while the other person was isolated at home.
County health officials were working to determine the people who were in contact with the patients to isolate or quarantine people and test those exhibiting symptoms.
Travel guidance for people on cruise in Egypt
DHS Wednesday issued 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," said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers in a news release. "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. 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.”
Prior cases in Wisconsin
Two Dane County residents and one Pierce County resident tested positive for COVID-19. The first Dane county case was confirmed on Feb. 5. That person isolated at home and recovered after testing negative for COVID-19. The other two cases were announced Monday, March 9 (Pierce County) and Tuesday, March 10 (Dane County) and both individuals were isolated at their homes.
Precautions being taken
People who traveled in the past 14 days to places with community spread of COVID-19 (international and domestic locations) should 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 in the release.
With further spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., DHS officials asked that people 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 in the release. “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.