Confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to trickle slowly into northern Wisconsin counties.
On Wednesday a 65-year-old male with a recent out-of-state travel history was confirmed to have the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in Vilas County. The man was hospitalized but in stable condition, according to the Vilas County Public Health Department.
On Thursday a second patient was 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 Bayfield County Health Department revealed no information about the new patient’s age, gender, health condition, hometown or who the patient might have had contact with while contagious.
Bayfield County Health Department nurses have started to interview the patient and began tracking down all their contacts on Thursday, said Ann-Marie Coy, the department’s co-public information officer.
Coy said she doesn’t believe the patient knew they had COVID-19. Since the diagnosis, the patient is 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 first Bayfield County case was reported last week in a student who had traveled outside the area and returned to test positive.
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 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.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Thursday reported 707 positive cases of the coronavirus. That's more than 120 cases since Wednesday, when 585 positive tests were reported.
The number of deaths in Wisconsin caused by COVID-19 stands at eight.
Milwaukee County has the most cases, 347, followed by Dane County with 114.
• 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.