RACINE COUNTY, WI – A COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) case has been detected in Racine County after the person was exposed to the virus while traveling internationally.

Health officials reported the case Friday afternoon. The person with the virus is currently isolated at home, according to a press release by the Central Racine County Health Department.

The virus spreads mainly from person to person. Originating in China, health experts have signaled concern because little is known about the virus. It can cause severe illness and pneumonia in some individuals. Symptoms — which can be mild to severe — may appear two to 14 days after exposure. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

Health officials say early interventions can help slow the spread of the disease.

“Central Racine County Health Department (CRCHD) is actively working with this case, and CRCHD will continue to work with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our local partners to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Margaret Gesner, Health Officer for Central Racine County Health Department. “It is important to note that this person is not linked with any school, childcare, or long-term care facility.”

Officials are working to identify and contact anyone who has been in contact with this individual. At this time, those people are being asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from being exposed. They are also being monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. Those who have been exposed to the virus are being tested at this time.

The health department is working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)to make a determination as to when the person can be released from isolation. Tho department is taking guidance from DHS and the CDC.

“We are working with our partners and local hospital systems to ensure we are protecting the community as a whole,” said Gesner. “Based on the latest CDC data, those at highest risk for serious disease include older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. It is vital for the public to avoid getting sick by frequently and thoroughly washing their hands, covering their coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching their face, and staying home when sick.”

Gesner noted that with the declared Wisconsin and Racine County public health emergencies.

Here are the latest County public health emergencies, the latest recommendations include:

  • Limiting non-essential large community events and gatherings of 250 or more people.
  • Those who provide gathering activities for older adults, such as senior centers and congregate dining facilities, should plan for alternative ways to remain engaged with them that minimize their risk.
  • Avoiding all non-essential travel according to CDC travel guidelines. For domestic travel, DHS recommends against all non-essential travel to any U.S state where the CDC deems there is sustained community transmission of COVID-19.
  • For all travelers returning to Wisconsin from high-risk areas including U.S. locations, DHS is recommending that those individuals self-quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Creating a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
  • Consider a 2-week supply for prescription and over the counter medications, food, and other essentials.
  • Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g. family, friends, co-workers)

Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.

Denise Lockwood

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.