A patient who later tested positive for novel coronavirus visited at least two locations in the Ashland area and health officials are warning people who were at the sites to take precautions.
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department said the patient visited the Bad River Casino in Odanah and the Northwest Wisconsin Cancer in Ashland, as well as the Brite Spot convenience store in Hurley and Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, Mich.
The patient was at the cancer center on March 18 and the casino after 3:30 p.m. on that same day, the department said.
"The health department is advising anyone who visited one of the sites listed above or who has had close contact for a prolonged period with someone who visited one of these sites to be aware that they have potentially been exposed to novel coronavirus," the health department wrote in a news release. "Exposure could have occurred at the site or several days later with close contact to someone who visited the site. Please notify your contacts of potential exposure. Exposure does not mean that you need to be tested even if you do have symptoms, but you should stay home if you are feeling ill."
The department went on to say that anyone who has visited one of the exposure sites and who develops symptoms such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath to call their health care provider or the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department at 906-482-7382.
Douglas County authorities likewise said Friday that they are tracking eight people, five of whom have tested positive for COVID-19 and three of whom are their families members who are presumed to be infected. The patients, aged in their 30s to 50s, live in Douglas County and the city of Superior.
All were quarantined at home and doing well, the Douglas County Health Department said. One was sent home from work sick with a cough and later found to be suffering from COVID-19; another had almost no symptoms, the department said.
The patients visited local stores and grocery stores before testing positive, the department said, reinforcing the need for everyone to stay home and to take safety precautions when venturing out.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported Friday that 842 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin, but they continued to warn that that number is likely far short of the actual number of patients.
Two people in Bayfield County have tested positive in what are believed to be unrelated cases; Ashland County as of Friday had no confirmed cases.