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Wisconsin Department of Health Provides Update on Coronavirus Response Efforts

Wisconsin Department of Health Provides Update on Coronavirus Response Efforts Photo: WDIO/MGN

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: February 07, 2020 06:12 PM

After a case of the 2019 novel coronavirus was confirmed in Wisconsin, the state's department of health and Gov. Tony Evers provided an update to residents on statewide efforts being done to respond.

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Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health are reminding residents that the risk to the general public remains low and that they should not be alarmed. Efforts are being done to get testing results done faster.

The department is doing this by ordering test kits from the CDC. They're expecting them to arrive soon to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene.

They hope to have the testing available to Wisconsin residents within the next one to two weeks.

Five suspected cases were sent to the CDC. Results are expected to come back sometime by mid next week.

The positive case remains isolated and is said to be doing fine, it's not a severe case. Local health experts are reminding folks that those at highest risk are those with recent travel history to China.

"Only travel history or direct contact with a case puts someone at risk of exposure. It's extremely important to avoid placing stigma on members of our community based on race or ethnic background," said Jeanne Ayers, the Wisconsin health officer and administrator of the Department of Health Services division of public health.

Dr. Rajesh Prabhu, an Essentia Health Infectious Disease physician in Duluth, said it's important to remember that suspected cases being tested are only those who show signs of severe symptoms.

"More severe symptoms like severe cough, high fever, difficulty breathing. Some other people also develop other symptoms like gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, so it's a very wide spectrum of illness," said Prabhu.

Prabhu said it's important to also remember that there's other viruses right now that are causing severe illness and death, like influenza.

Influenza is currently the most common respiratory virus spreading in Wisconsin. It has similar symptoms to the coronavirus. Folks are encouraged to get the flu shot.

The department of health said they'll continue to aggressively monitor the situation. They encourage residents to avidly wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing, and staying home if they're feeling sick.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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