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Fond du Lac County man who died from coronavirus was on Egypt cruise

(WCAX)
Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 9:38 AM CDT
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A Fond du Lac County man who died from coronavirus was a passenger on an Egypt river cruise in which the virus spread to people on the ship, according to the Fond du Lac County Public Health Officer.

Public Health Officer Kim Mueller said the man was in his 50s, but no other information was released about his identity. She would not release information on possible underlying health conditions.

Fond du Lac County coronavirus update March 20

FIRST ALERT: A Fond du Lac County man in his 50s has died from coronavirus. The county has also seen an increase in cases. Health Officer Kim Mueller is giving us an update:

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Friday, March 20, 2020

Mueller also announced Friday that the county has received an additional confirmed case of COVID-19. That brings the total to 15 confirmed cases in the county. The newest case is a person who had known exposure to international travel.

No cases in Fond du Lac County are through community spread at this time, Mueller says. That means they are all linked to travel or someone exposed to a person who had been traveling.

"Looking at all of our cases we are able to put a link to where they got the virus," says Mueller.

On person has been released from isolation.

Nine people who were on the Egypt river cruise tested positive for coronavirus in Fond du Lac County. Travel company Someday Travel said the tour spent seven days on the Nile River and two days in Cairo.

"Upon our return on March 2, our travelers began to have symptoms of coughing, low grade fever, achy bodies and fatigue," reads

"The Fond du Lac County Health Department was notified upon our return. They advised us based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations at that time that Egypt was not a high-risk country, and as such, that testing approval by the state would not happen. Upon these recommendations, we all went about our lives. As we are all learning more about COVID-19, this pandemic is quickly evolving. Days later, Egypt became a high-risk country and some of our travelers’ symptoms progressed."

BUSINESS RESTRICTIONS

Mueller has issued a public health order that goes beyond Gov. Tony Evers' ban on gatherings of 10 people or more.

"I am invoking my authority as the public health officer to implement and enforce more stringent mandates that go beyond what Gov. Evers set forth in his emergency order #5 prohibiting mass gatherings," said Mueller.

Mueller has ordered the closure of barbers and hair salons, nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo and body art studios at 5 p.m. Friday.

"This is due to the high likelihood that residents and employees will be within arms' length for more than 10 minutes," says Mueller.

Mueller says it also clarifies restaurant/bar rules and religious and funeral service rules.

"Restaurants may only remain open for takeout, drive-thru and delivery. Dining rooms must close, and takeout orders must be taken over the phone or online prior to the customer arriving for pickup orders. Customers cannot order in person or congregate inside the establishment while their order is being prepared," says Mueller.

People cannot self-dispense condiments or coffee.

Grocery stores and gas stations must close all seating for eating food.

People who violate public orders face up to 30-days in jail or a fine up to $500, according to the county.

“I have communicated with all local law enforcement agencies in Fond du Lac County and we are united in our commitment to uphold these Pubic Health Orders," says Fond du Lac County Sheriff Ryan Waldschmidt. "We ask that if you engage in any group activities, you do so in a responsible manner consistent with the Public Health Orders so that enforcement isn’t required. In these unprecedented times, we need to come together as a community and take care of one another by following these practices aimed at minimizing the spread of this virus.”

"We have been asked why we are not releasing the municipality of where the positive cases of COVID-19 in Fond du Lac County live. We are not providing this information because it does not provide any additional protection to anyone to have this information. When someone is tested, they are instructed to self-isolate, reducing the possibility of contact with the general public, right away. Prior to them self-isolating, they may have had contact throughout the county. Fond du Lac County Public Health works diligently to track where a person visited and had exposure to the general public," reads a statement from the health department.

“Our Health Department team and local law enforcement fully appreciate the magnitude of these orders. We are all heartbroken over the death of one of our community members that was diagnosed with COVID-19 and we extend thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to their family and friends," says Mueller. "We are committed to keeping our community safe during this Public Health Emergency and I understand that the daily lives of so many in our community have been turned upside down. The orders of State and local officials have been made for the safety and best interests of the public in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19. We hope everyone in our community voluntary follows these Public Health Orders and enforcement will not be required.”

DEATHS IN WISCONSIN

On Thursday night, Gov. Tony Evers announced the deaths of two people--the Fond du Lac County man, and a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County.

On Friday morning, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner announced the agency was investigating the death of a 66-year-old man from complications of COVID-19.

"Decedent was a Milwaukee residents and had been hospitalized for several days prior to his death," reads a statement on Twitter.

LOCAL BUSINESS SUSPENDS PRODUCTION

Mercury Marine tells Action 2 News it is suspending production at a number of facilities for Mercury and Brunswick boat group starting next Monday, March 23.

The Fond du Lac company says it's monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and decided to move up the summer slowdown by a few months.

It expects the slowdown to last two or three weeks.

Action 2 News reported last week that an employee of the marine engine manufacturer had been exposed to the coronavirus while traveling overseas. The employee didn’t realize they had been exposed until after returning to work.

Mueller says they are giving businesses guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services about social distancing.

"We have provided all businesses that guidance and recommendation, but really, it needs to come down to what's most appropriate for the business. Depending on what the business does," says Mueller. "For a business that's a factory and they have a lot individuals that are together all at once, maybe that would be their most appropriate approach to it. Another business may be able to continue their business in another way.

"I think it should be up to that business specifically. As long as we are providing them that most important guidance to social distancing."

PREVENTING THE SPREAD

for more information on symptoms.

DHS recommends taking these steps to help stop the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom, blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If you do not have soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.