'Take this seriously:' Waukesha Co. officials encourage absentee voting after coronavirus confirmed

WAUKESHA -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Waukesha County Public Health Department announced Wednesday, March 11 that a person tested positive for COVID-19 in Waukesha County. DHS officials said the Waukesha County patient was exposed while traveling in the United States and internationally, and was isolated at home.

Waukesha County officials on Thursday, March 12 encouraged people not to panic when it comes to the coronavirus. Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said knowledge is the best line of defense and noted an ongoing and evolving situation.

"Panic is easy," said Farrow. "You see it at the stores. Our goal right now is to get information out."

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow

The case announced on Wednesday in Waukesha County, and two others in Fond du Lac County marked the first cases in southeast Wisconsin, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth in the state. By Thursday, two more cases were confirmed by state health officials -- the patients in Dane County.

In announcing the Waukesha and Fond du Lac County cases, state health officials issued new guidance for travelers on a cruise in Egypt:

    Farrow asked that people follow the recommendations of state health officials.

    "Washing your hands, keeping to yourself as you walk through large crowds," said Farrow.

    Rep. Robyn Vining

    Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) urged constituents not to take the situation lightly.

    "I want to be clear we should not panic, but we should be careful," said Rep. Vining. "Please take this seriously. We've got to flatten the curb of the impact, so our hospitals can handle this outbreak."

    Officials in the City of Waukesha noted an emergency management plan including pandemic outbreaks ready to use if needed. Officials also encouraged voters to go online and request an absentee ballot for the April 7 presidential primary, as did officials in other Waukesha County municipalities.

    "We have, on our WaukeshaCounty.gov website, we have a coronavirus button that will give them information on what to be looking for -- the symptoms," said Farrow.