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Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring throughout Wisconsin. Governor Evers has issued a 'Safer-at-Home' order that requires people to mostly stay at home except for essential travel like buying groceries, picking up medicine, and caring for others. Schools are closed statewide, and all bars and restaurants are closed with limited exceptions. This intense social distancing is being maintained to prevent many COVID-19 infections and save lives in the coming weeks and months.
COVID-19 is a dangerous and highly contagious disease. The most common symptoms are fever and cough. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but it causes serious illness in about 20%. The overall risk of dying appears to be about 1% to 2%. Adults over age 65 and people with serious medical conditions have the highest risk of severe illness or death. The risk of death also is increased for people 50-64 years old, and even younger adults can develop severe illness that requires intensive care. There is no cure or vaccine, although a new antiviral drug (remdesivir) is available for emergency use in the sickest patients. The only way to stay safe from COVID-19 is to avoid getting infected.
Some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, but they can still spread the virus to others by talking, coughing or sneezing. The risk is highest when people are indoors and standing close (within 6 feet) of each other. The risk is especially high with prolonged contact in households, nursing homes, large workplaces, and other closed indoor spaces. You can protect yourself and your family by staying at home. If you must leave home, keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people. CDC recommends wearing a cloth facemask (not a medical facemask) in public places such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
Frequent handwashing is important. The virus can spread by touching contaminated objects and surfaces such as door handles, cups, eating utensils and towels. Clean and sanitize objects and surfaces that are routinely touched.
Contact your health care provider if you develop high fever, shortness of breath, cough or weakness. Always call your health care provider before coming to the clinic or hospital, except in an emergency. You can use our online screening tool if you have questions or need advice. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay in a separate bedroom if possible and away from household members.
Follow these CDC recommendations if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick.
We are taking extraordinary steps to be ready for a large increase in COVID-19 cases. Check this page frequently for the latest updates.
Last updated: May 28, 2020
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Minnesota Department of Health, Johns Hopkins, Marshfield Clinic Health System
Current Situation and Recommendations
Over 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and over 100,000 deaths have been reported in the US. In Wisconsin there have been over 16.900 cases and 550 deaths. The rate of COVID-19 is highest in southeastern Wisconsin and Brown County. Governor Evers has issued a 'safer-at-home' order to reduce the number of cases and deaths in Wisconsin. Social distancing now helps prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases in a short time that can overwhelm hospitals and intensive care units.
The virus spreads easily from person-to-person, similar to the flu virus. COVID-19 commonly causes fever and cough, and it may also cause shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, and feeling tired. Some people develop loss of taste or smell with COVID-19. Symptoms usually start about 4-5 days after infection, but it may take up to 14 days.
Social distancing is important to slow the spread of COVID-19. Stay at home and stay away from other people. Wear a cloth facemask if you must leave home for groceries or essential services. Wash your hands often, use a tissue for coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face. Use disinfectants to clean surfaces that are touched by different people.
Availability of COVID-19 lab testing is increasing, but laboratories still do not have the capacity to test everyone with COVID-19 symptoms. Marshfield Clinic Health System offers clinical testing, and patients who are hospitalized are the highest priority. It is not yet possible to test everyone with mild respiratory illness.
Call your medical provider if you need care for cough, fever, or shortness of breath. It is important to call
before coming in (except in an emergency). Contact your provider right away if you have high fever, shortness of breath, cough or weakness.
For the latest public health recommendations from CDC,
click here. If you are an older adult,
review this CDC checklist to be prepared.