Public Health Madison and Dane County employees and members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a drive-through COVID-19 testing facility at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis., on May 13, 2020. Here, Wisconsin National Guard members perform the tests, asking people to blow their noses before administering nasal swabs. Wisconsin has dramatically expanded its testing capacity during the pandemic, but experts say too few Wisconsinites are showing up — potentially thwarting efforts to neutralize the virus.

The Ashland County Health Department on Tuesday announced that customers and staff at four local businesses may have been exposed to coronavirus earlier this month.

Health Officer Elizabeth Szot said the businesses are being identified so residents can be aware of their possible exposure and because tracing contacts with patients who visited large businesses is difficult.

The businesses and dates of possible exposure are:

L&M Fleet Supply in Ashland on July 16 from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on July 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

River Rock Inn & Bait Shop in Ashland, on July 16 from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Walmart in Ashland on July 20 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Bear Crossing in Glidden on July 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The Health Department urged anyone who visited the businesses on the dates and times listed to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days from the time of exposure. Symptoms include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

Positive coronavirus cases across the country now are growing exponentially, soaring from 3 million to more than 4 million over the past two weeks, with a death toll approaching 150,000.

Ashland and Bayfield counties have followed the same pattern since early June, going from a combined five cases to at least 34 as of Tuesday as new patients have been identified almost every day.

Szot said in a release that the numbers “clearly demonstrate the presence of community spread” of the disease.

She again urged residents to avoid gatherings of any size, to stay apart from one another when out in the community, to wear face coverings and to frequently wash and sanitize hands.

“We are in this together,” she said. “We can choose to protect each other and ourselves and thereby protect our community and economy.”

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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