WAUPACA, Wis. (WBAY) — Health officials in Waupaca County say they have confirmed the first death associated with COVID-19 in their area.
Officials announced the death late Saturday morning, saying the death was also the first confirmed case in the county.
Jed Wohlt, the Public Health Officer for Waupaca County, said they are saddened by the death, and their hearts go out to the family, friends and community.
Waupaca County reported its first confirmed case on Wednesday, and at that time, said the patient was self-quarantined per state and federal recommendations.
The death in Waupaca County brings the state total of deaths to 16.
County officials say 26 people have tested negative for COVID-19.
On Friday, a travel advisory was issued to secondary and seasonal home owners in Waupaca County, saying anyone who has seasonal homes in the area are asked to stay in their winter home at this time due to a large population of older adults and vulnerable populations.
The state Department of Health Services broke down data about the patients on Friday.
54% are female, 46% are male
Cases by age group:
Children and young adults under 20: 10%
Adults in their 20’s: 13%
90 and older: 1%
The disease is now confirmed in 41 of the state’s 72 counties.
Bayfield – 2
Brown – 6
Calumet – 1
Chippewa – 3
Clark – 2
Columbia – 6
Dane – 138 (1 death)
Dodge – 6
Douglas – 5
Dunn – 2
Eau Claire – 7
Fond du Lac – 19 (1 death)
Grant – 1
Green – 3
Iowa – 3
Iron – 1
Jefferson – 6
Juneau – 2
Kenosha – 23
La Crosse – 14
Marathon – 1
Marinette – 1
Milwaukee – 468 (8 deaths)
Monroe – 1
Oconto – 1
Outagamie – 4
Ozaukee – 30 (3 deaths)
Pierce – 4
Portage – 1
Racine – 9
Richland – 2
Rock – 12
Sauk – 8
Sheboygan – 7
St. Croix – 4
Vilas – 2
Walworth – 5
Washington – 27
Waukesha – 61
Waupaca – 1
Winnebago – 7
Wood – 2
Health officials say the real numbers are much higher because they’re trying to limit testing, particularly focusing on health care workers or people in places with more vulnerable people, like nursing homes.
“We are not in a backlog situation,” Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said, “but we need to expand our capacity to test, and we’re doing that.”
“Because it’s a brand new infection and because the technology took some time to develop, testing is not widespread. We don’t have millions of tests to do, so we’ve really prioritized doing these tests in these high consequence settings,” Dr. Ryan Westergaard, state infectious disease specialist, said.
State health officials said most people fully recover from the coronavirus in a week or two. Twenty to 25 percent of people are hospitalized after their diagnosis. About 10 percent go into ICU.
Friday, health officials say they don’t report the number of recovered patients because there is no standard way to determine and report that. Westergaard said it’s hard to test whether a person stopped having symptoms but are still sick, and they don’t test patients twice.
In a news conference Thursday, health officials emphasized the most likely way to get the coronavirus is from person-to-person contact. “The most important way this spreads is through coughs and sneezes and close contact,” Dr. Westergaard with the state Department of Health Services emphasized.
Health officials addressed a number of questions, including whether it’s safe to get food from takeout or the grocery store or eat produce other people touched. Health officials acknowledged the virus can live on surfaces for a few hours to a day but said our usual ways of getting food are still safe. Again, they emphasized the person-to-person risk is higher than touching something that might have the virus on it.
“It is a risk. It’s not as risky as person-to-person contact, but it’s something everyone can pay closer attention to. We can probably cut down on some of that household or community transmission,” Westergaard said.
Can people get the coronavirus twice? Scientists don’t know yet if being exposed to the virus once builds enough immunity.
Can a pregnant woman pass the virus to her unborn child? There’s no evidence of that, because coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets.
They also said it would take time before we see the effect of social distancing for slowing down the spread of the virus.
Test results are now being turned around in 1 or 2 days. Wednesday, 40 labs around the state were reporting data to the state.
Here’s how you can prevent the spread (INFORMATION FROM DHS):
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
* Stay at home as much as possible. Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates, and nonessential appointments.
* Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
* Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
* Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
* Stay at least six feet away from other people.
* Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles).