A second patient has been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 in Bayfield County, the Health Department said late Thursday morning.
“The lab-confirmed positive case received today, March 26, 2020, did not have a history of travel or contact with a known positive case of COVID-19,” the department said in a release. “This is the first case of COVID-19 categorized as community spread in Bayfield County.”
The Health Department revealed no information about the new patient’s age, health condition, hometown or who the patient might have had contact with while contagious.
Health Department nurses have started to interview the male patient, who remains unidentified although he agreed to have his gender revealed, and began tracking down all his contacts on Thursday.
Ann-Marie Coy, the department’s co-public information officer, said she doesn’t believe he knew he had COVID-19. Since the diagnosis, he has remained at home in self-quarantine.
At this point officials don’t believe the new patient had been in contact with any of the previous patient’s contacts, she said, and encouraged everyone to do their part to help contain the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.
The second Bayfield County case was not among the 707 confirmed cases in Wisconsin reported Thursday by the state Department of Health Services. That figure is based upon lab-confirmed cases reported to the state by 9 p.m. the previous day.
The first Bayfield County case was reported last week in a student who had traveled outside the area and returned to test positive. She has since recovered at home and is out of self-quarantine.
Bayfield County Health Officer Sara Wartman said at the time that she expected more cases to be confirmed as tests were completed.
“This report provides even more reason to take Governor Evers’ ‘Safer at Home’ order seriously,” Wartman said in Monday’s release. “We fully expect to see additional cases of the virus in the county but hope that our outreach and guidance is helping to convince county residents to stay home to disrupt the spread of the virus. This is crucial to reducing the spread and flattening the curve.”
Wartman said her office is focused on containing the spread of the virus and mitigating the impact of the community.
“The Health Department completes comprehensive investigation of all communicable diseases. We are actively investigating this case and anyone identified as potentially at risk will be contacted by the health department,” she said.
The Health Department reiterated that the only way to protect the community and one another is to stay home and limit contact with other people.
Wartman has self-isolated and is working from home as are most other county qualifying workers.
“We are trying to be good role models,” she said.
Wartman reminded people that this new case shows COVID-19 is spreading in the community, and perhaps everyone can be out of quarantine sooner if they follow all precautions.
The department said:
• If you are experiencing any respiratory symptoms, such as cold, cough, fever or difficulty breathing, please stay home.
• If you have recently returned from out of the area, please stay home.
• If you have been notified you were a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, please stay home.
• And for everyone else — unless working in an essential service, again, please stay at home and avoid unnecessary trips in your community.
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.