KENOSHA COUNTY -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Public Health Madison & Dane County announced Thursday, March 12 two additional cases of coronavirus.
DHS officials said both patients had contact with the confirmed case out of Dane County reported Tuesday, March 10, and both patients were isolated at home.
“This brings the total of confirmed cases to seven in just one week," said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers in a news release. "As we see more cases, we remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of infection to others in the community. These cases should serve to remind all of us about the importance of social distancing and maintaining good hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the DHS website showed seven positive cases in Wisconsin, 84 negative cases, and one recovered.
CLICK HERE to access the DHS website.
'Pending' cases in Kenosha County; Carthage College moves to online classes
The Kenosha County Division of Health announced Thursday, March 12 two pending cases of coronavirus in Kenosha County.
"We do not know for sure when the results will be available," said officials with the Kenosha County Division of Health in a news release.
Carthage College officials announced all classes would be moved online beginning March 23, after the school's extended spring break. The initial plan called for students to complete online course work until at least April 14.
Carthage College President John Swallow
"I think we'll all want to return to something normal, but it's really a call we will have to make later," Carthage College President John Swallow said. "It's a very wrenching decision to have to do this, but we want to make sure we deliver the education we can to as many students as possible even in difficult times, so we felt we needed to take those steps."
Swallow called the pending cases in Kenosha County "concerning," but said, "At the same time, I'm expecting there will simply be more of a spread, and this is something we will all have to manage."
While students were encouraged to leave campus to stay at their permanent residences, officials noted dorms would be open for students unable to go home.
In the meantime, common areas on campus were being disinfected in an effort to keep students, faculty, and staff safe and healthy.
"We have lots of sanitizer out in lots of places, and we've been doing deep cleaning of public spaces and residence halls," said Swallow.
As of Thursday, Swallow confirmed no Carthage students had been tested for coronavirus.
For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Coronavirus in Wisconsin as of March 11
Other coronavirus cases in Wisconsin
Waukesha County, Fond du Lac 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.
They offered this travel guidance for people on a cruise in Egypt:
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Public Health Madison and Dane County announced Tuesday, March 10 that a third person tested positive for coronavirus.
The third person to test positive (the second positive case in Dane County) was exposed while traveling in the U.S. and was isolated at home, health officials said Tuesday, noting they were working to determine the people who were in contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those exhibiting symptoms.
"The diagnosis was made in the outpatient setting the patients called ahead and let them know they were coming personal protective equipment was worn appropriately and we think the risk is minimal," said Dr. Ryan Westergaard of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Pierce County Public Health Department announced Monday, March 9 that a second person in the state tested positive for COVID-19 -- coronavirus.
DHS officials said the person was exposed while traveling within the U.S. and was in isolation at home.
County health officials in an update Tuesday afternoon said the patient attended a practice Destination Imagination event at a school in Prescott on Friday, March 6, and an all-day Destination Imagination event on Saturday, March 7 at Osceola High School. Health officials said people who may have had contact with the patient would be considered "low risk," but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
Meanwhile, officials were working to determine all people who had contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those exhibiting symptoms.
The School District of Osceola, which is just north of Pierce County, canceled classes Tuesday, March 10 for cleaning.
Officials with the Somerset School District shared this message on social media on Monday night:
"The Somerset School District has just been made aware that an individual (not a student) who attended the Destination Imagination event at Osceola High School on Saturday, March 7, has a confirmed case of Coronavirus Disease 2019. According to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), spending time in the same indoor environment as persons known to have COVID-19 is considered to represent a low risk of exposure to the virus. We are monitoring the situation and will make you aware of any further developments. Thank you!"
Dane County -- first confirmed case in the state
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Public Health Madison and Dane County announced Feb. 5 a Dane County resident tested positive for COVID-19 -- coronavirus.
On Feb. 28, officials announced the patient had two negative tests and was released from isolation. Medical officials had been testing this individual every other day for several weeks.
Officials thanked the person who has had to remain in isolation since the end of January.
"This person has been nothing but patient and understanding," officials said in a YouTube video released Friday.
Precautions being taken
Governor Tony Evers declares a public health emergency over coronavirus
Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday, March 12 declared a public health emergency in response to new cases of COVID-19, directing the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to use all the resources necessary to respond to and contain the outbreak.
As of Thursday, there were five active cases of COVID-19 -- with Illinois and Minnesota also seeing increased cases. DHS officials noted with these new cases there needs to be extensive contact tracing to contain the spread of COVID-19.
DHS officials said Thursday 37 residents were returning to Wisconsin from the Princess Cruise Ship who may have been exposed.
The governor's executive order directed DHS to take all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent and respond to incidences of COVID-19, allowing the department to purchase, store, or distribute appropriate medications, regardless of insurance or other health coverage, as needed to respond to the emergency, and authorizing state funds to support local health departments with costs related to isolation and quarantine, as well as the use of the Wisconsin National Guard.
Executive Order #72 can be found here.
DHS officials noted Thursday if COVID-19 begins to spread in Wisconsin communities, state and local public health officials will consider community interventions such as social distancing, replacing in-person meetings with telework when possible, reviewing workplace sick leave policies, modifying, postponing or canceling mass gatherings, implementing restrictions on visitors to residential treatment and living facilities, and closures of schools, child care settings.
Decisions about the implementation of community measures will be made by state and local officials based on CDC and DHS guidance, as well as the scope of the outbreak.
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.