Fond du Lac County announces new coronavirus cases, says no community spread

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - The Fond du Lac County Health Department has released more information about additional coronavirus infections in the county.

The county announced two newly confirmed cases Sunday, bringing the total to 17.

"One was due to international travel, and the other one has a connection to a positive case here in Fond du Lac County," says Health Officer Kim Mueller.

CLICK HERE to watch Mueller's Monday update.

Mueller says local and state health officials do not believe there is community spread in the county. Community spread happens when a person becomes ill but has no known connection to a coronavirus patient or has not traveled.

"Because we know there is an epidemiological link of these two cases, with the help of our state health department, we are confident in saying we are still not seeing community spread here with our current positive cases," says Mueller.

A 55-year-old Fond du Lac man died from coronavirus. Dale Witkowski, 55, got coronavirus while on an Egypt river cruise. CLICK HERE to read Dale Witkowski's obituary.

“We ask you to be serious about COVID-19. Please do not panic, rather educate yourself and your family. Please do not blame or shun, rather be supportive and compassionate, especially with the people who have tested positive for this virus. We responded too slowly as a country and now we are seeing devastating effects in our country, state and community and for us, our family. Knowledge and mindful, safe practices are what is needed now,” reads the obituary.

Fond du Lac County has set up a coronavirus helpline for people who believe they had contact with a confirmed patient or are experiencing the symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. That helpline is 844-225-0147.

The State Laboratory of Hygiene is currently testing people in the top two tiers. There is a 48-hour turn around time for results.

These are the top two tiers:

TIER ONE

• are critically ill and receiving ICU level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure

• are hospitalized (non-ICU) with fever or signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness (cough, shortness of breath) and either known exposure to a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient or travel to an area with sustained community transmission

TIER TWO

• are hospitalized (non-ICU) with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of lower respiratory tract illness

• are health care workers with unexplained fever and signs/symptoms of a lower-respiratory illness, regardless of hospitalization

Everyone else who has the symptoms but does not fit in the two tiers will have their tests sent to another lab with a six-to-seven day turn around for results. These people will be told to isolate themselves and act like they have the virus.

"That period of time would be the start of your symptoms seven days later, as well as being fever free for 72 hours," says Mueller.

For more information on coronavirus, call 211.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says COVID-19 is spread via coughs and sneezes.

"This is similar to how influenza is spread. The virus is found in droplets from the throat and nose. When someone coughs or sneezes, other people near them can breathe in those droplets. The virus can also spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it. If that person touches their mouth, face, or eyes, the virus can make them sick," says DHS.

CLICK HERE for Wisconsin's guide to COVID-19.

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).

CLICK HERE for a guide on how to properly disinfect your surfaces.