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Wisconsin DOC suspends prison visits during coronavirus outbreak

Source: Lisa Kennedy/MGN
Source: Lisa Kennedy/MGN(WTOK)
Published: Mar. 13, 2020 at 12:13 PM CDT
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The Wisconsin Department of Corrections has temporarily suspended all visits to its institutions in effort to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This includes volunteer visits.

"We take our responsibility to protect staff and persons in our care very seriously, and out of an abundance of caution are taking actions to minimize the risk of bringing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) into facilities," reads a statement from the DOC.

The agency says it will be working to expand other methods of communication. That includes phone calls and video visits.

Professional visits will continue.

Coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic.

Wisconsin has declared a public health emergency and recommends the cancellation of events involving 250 people or more.

As of this publication, there are seven confirmed active cases in Wisconsin. An eighth person has recovered.

As of this publication, there are seven confirmed active cases in Wisconsin. An eighth person has recovered.

COVID-19 is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

"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 the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with those conditions should take the proper precautions.

"You really need to be careful. Practicing good hand hygiene, good health habits. Social isolation is really important for them," says Prevea Health President/CEO Dr. Ashok Rai. "If they have symptoms, especially if they've traveled or been in contact with somebody, they should be calling us."

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

--Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.

--Covering coughs and sneezes.

--Avoiding touching your face.

--Staying home when sick.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China. The spread started in December 2019.