Racine County reported its first coronavirus (COVID-19) related death. The man died Friday from complications related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). He was in his 70s.

Of the 24,293 people tested in Wisconsin, 1,916 tested positive for the virus, 487 were hospitalized, and 37 died, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Forty-six of those cases are people from Racine County, according to the Central Racine County Health Department.

“We are so saddened by this death, and our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, and community,” said Margaret Gesner, Health Officer for the Central Racine County Health Department.

Somewhere between 20 and 60 percent of adults could contract the virus, and about a fifth of the people who get COVID-19 could need to be hospitalized, according to officials at the Harvard Global Health Institute. 

Why is COVID-19 a big deal?

“Our health department continues to work tirelessly and employ all possible resources to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our community,” Gesner said.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave called the situation heartbreaking, and he offered family and friends of the man and everyone battling the disease his deepest condolences.

“Racine County continues to fully support public health and other partner agencies to do all we can to combat COVID-19 in our communities, and the Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center are providing additional resources.”

COVID-19 testing limited, health officials say

Officials warned that the actual number of cases is much higher than what the state has reported.

Symptoms range from mild to severe. Still, about 80 percent of people experience mild symptoms. It can take from two to 14 days after someone is exposed to the infection to appear.

Read more: What are the symptoms?

“For every person who tests positive for the disease, there are likely many more people infected with mild symptoms who will not be tested due to current testing capacity. We urge all residents to comply with the ‘Safer at Home’ order and continue to practice good hygiene to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus.”

There is a nationwide shortage of tests. But, not everyone needs to be tested, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Who gets tested for COVID-19 is based on the clinical judgment of the clinician. The state emphasized that providers should check patients “for whom a timely diagnosis of COVID-19 is critical to inform management decisions.”

State lab testing sites will only test Tier 1 and Tier 2 specimens. Meanwhile, healthcare providers need to find alternative lab testing sites for lower priority specimens.

“It should be emphasized to patients and providers that there is no role for testing asymptomatic individuals. Testing should be reserved for making a diagnosis of COVID-19 in patients suspected of having the disease, to inform clinical management and infection control decisions,” according to the memo.

Governor announces mental health tool

In other news, state officials announced an online tool for residents who have mental health issues or are experiencing stress called Resilient Wisconsin.

Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm unveiled the new Resilient Wisconsin initiative in a press conference Friday.

“We are announcing Resilient Wisconsin today, in the middle of this pandemic, because building resilience is how we will band together and grow as a state in the face of COVID-19,” Evers said. “Resilience is not the absence of stress, but rather, using tools to manage and adapt and recover from that stress. Resilient Wisconsin is designed to help you learn, develop, and use those tools.”

The tools focus on preventing stress as well as help people who are experiencing mental health issues. The website contains information about practicing self-care, staying connected, and reducing stress.

“In the face of intense challenges like the ones we face today with COVID-19, it can feel selfish to prioritize your own needs. But it’s not selfish, it’s self-care, and we need that self-care to deal with our stress and make it possible to care for others,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.

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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.