By Wausau Pilot and Review staff

NEWS RELEASE — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Pierce County Public Health Department announced Monday that a second person has tested positive for COVID-19.

The person was exposed while traveling within the U.S. and is currently isolated at home.

County health officials are working to determine people who have been in contact with the patient to isolate or quarantine people and test those who are exhibiting symptoms. Officials will hold a media briefing Tuesday to answer further questions.

“With a second confirmed case in our state we continue to urge state residents to take precautions to avoid illness,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers. “As guidance is evolving, it’s important for people to monitor the DHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for the latest information on COVID-19.”

People who have traveled to places with active COVID-19 in the past 14 days are asked to self-monitor and self-quarantine themselves. If symptoms, like fever, cough, or breathing problems occur, they are asked to contact their local health department and health care provider for possible testing.

The patient who tested positive is cooperating with home isolation and family members are also staying home.

The Pierce County Public Health Department and DHS responsibilities include:

  • Identifying and contacting anyone who has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19. These people are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. People with symptoms are tested for COVID-19.
  • Performing follow-up testing for individuals who test positive to determine when a person can be released from isolation.
  • Providing guidance to clinicians regarding testing.
  • Preparing Wisconsin for community spread of COVID-19.

If COVID-19 disease begins to spread in Wisconsin communities, state and local public health officials would consider community interventions such as temporary closures of child care facilities and schools, workplace social distancing measures such as replacing in-person meetings with teleworking, and modifying, postponing, or cancelling mass gatherings.

Decisions about the implementation of community measures would be made by state and local officials based on CDC guidance as well as the scope of the outbreak.

DHS is working with local and tribal health officers, health care providers, and other partners to be prepared in the event of a COVID-19 pandemic. While the risk of getting the illness remains low, people should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including:

  • Frequent and thorough handwashing.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Staying home when sick.