Eau Claire and Dunn counties both confirmed one new case of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the total confirmed cases to seven and two, respectively. Chippewa County still has one case.
As of Thursday afternoon, Wisconsin has eight deaths and 707 confirmed cases out of 12,290 tests, a rate of 5.75%. The new cases in Eau Claire County and Dunn County were not included in that 707 number.
Lieske Giese, Eau Claire City-County Health Department director, said as of Wednesday the county has completed 402 total COVID-19 tests, 277 of which were negative, seven of which were positive, a rate of 2.46%. Results are not yet known for 118 tests. Giese said testing supplies are available in Eau Claire County and testing availability is not a specific concern right now.
Giese said the stay at home order issued Wednesday by Gov. Tony Evers should help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus but will not eliminate cases. Under the stay at home order, Giese said people are not required to carry paperwork for essential travel and can be outside biking and walking, including in public parks, but should take precautions to not come into close contact with others. If people travel by themselves, Giese encouraged them to let someone know where they are going.
The local COVID-19 call center can be reached at 715-831-7425 with questions, and people can also contact the local chamber of commerce for clarification on what qualifies as an essential business.
Paulette Magur, Health Department communicable disease division manager, provided details on steps local health employees take after a resident tests positive for COVID-19.
Health workers contact the positive individual within hours of the positive test. They ask questions including where the person has been in the past 14 days; if the person has been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19; who the person has been in close contact with since being ill and two days prior; what are the person’s symptoms; and when did the symptoms start.
Magur said close contact means being less than six feet away from a person for at least 10 minutes. The Health Department orders the quarantining of people in close contact with a positive individual for at least 14 days.
A person with a positive test goes into isolation with no close contact for at least seven days. The Health Department monitors the person every day over the phone, asking about symptoms and if the person knows of any other people who came into close contact. After three consecutive days not showing symptoms, the person can stop isolating.
Magur said the seven people confirmed to have the coronavirus in Eau Claire County know where they got the illness and are all currently at home, so she is not aware of community spread as of now.
Giese and Magur encouraged people to find moments of levity in difficult circumstances. Giese said she walked home during a brief break today and danced in her kitchen with her daughter for a few minutes.
“Take time to find those little mental health breaks and use them,” Giese said.
Second confirmed case in Dunn County
The Dunn County Health Department was notified Thursday of a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county. The person who tested positive is isolated at a regional hospital.
“We are working quickly to get all of the facts about this case including any close contacts and a possible route of exposure,” said KT Gallagher, Dunn County Health Department director, in a news release.