COVID-19

A Bayfield County resident who recently attended a large gathering in Ashland and is believed to have been exposed at that event has tested positive for COVID-19.

The patient became ill July 1 after attending a June 27-28 hockey tournament in Ashland and health officials believe the patient was exposed to the virus at the tourney. The Bayfield County Health Department is asking anyone who attended the event to be tested.

“If you attended this event and are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to get tested at a local clinic as soon as possible,” county Health Officer Sara Wartman said in a release. “There is also an upcoming free testing event on Friday, July 10 from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. at the Iron River Community Center in Iron River, Wisconsin. No symptoms are needed to be tested at that event.”

The state Department of Health Services said Monday that Wisconsin has seen 32,061 cases since the pandemic began in March. That's an increase of 484 cases since Sunday.

The death toll has held at 796 since July 3, however. Nearly 80% of victims have recovered, leaving the state with 6,018 active cases as of Monday.

The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state’s totals because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

The positive test in Bayfield County came Monday as 43 states across the country reported increasing coronavirus caseloads. Several states that opened their economies early set new records for cases Monday, and governors from California and Arizona to Texas and Florida were again restricting public gatherings and closing bars and restaurants.

In Wisconsin, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and his administration violated the Constitution when they shut down businesses.

That leaves public health officials with few options but to ask the public to cooperate with best hygiene practices.

“As our area returns to normal activities, this new positive case reaffirms the presence of COVID-19 in our community and evidence that community spread in our area is still occurring,” Wartman said in the release.  “This report highlights the importance of practicing COVID-19 prevention, such as continuing to practice physical distancing, cleaning commonly touched surfaces, frequent and thorough hand washing, as well as wearing a mask when out in public. County residents must be vigilant to disrupt the spread of the virus.”

Wartman said public health efforts are focused on identifying the newest patient’s close contacts and mitigating the impact of this virus. Anyone identified as  at risk will be contacted by the health department. When impossible to determine all persons exposed, additional information will be added to the Bayfield County COVID-19 webpage with locations of possible exposure. 

“Practicing COVID-19 prevention practices, limiting close face-to-face contact with others, and self-isolating when ill are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Wartman said.

As of Monday Ashland County had reported four positive COVID-19 cases with no fatalities; one of Bayfield County's previous three patients died this spring. Douglas, Iron and Sawyer counties in recent days also have reported new cases.

For local updates about COVID-19 and other public health news, follow the Bayfield County Health Department at https://www.bayfieldcounty.org/COVID

For updates on COVID-19 in WI, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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