UPDATE: Wisconsin confirms first case of new coronavirus, patient at home in isolation

Coronavirus

(WFRV) – State health officials have confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus in Wisconsin, just the 12th in the country.

Health officials said Wednesday that the patient is isolated but state health officials would not say where they are located, their age, or any other details.

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Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer in the Department of Health Services Bureau of Communicable Disease, said the person was never hospitalized but was evaluated and tested at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the immediate health risk to the general public for contracting this virus is low.

The state says the patient is an adult with a history of travel to Beijing, China prior to becoming ill and was exposed to known cases while in China. The individual is isolated at home, and is doing well.

DHS, UW Hospital and Clinics, the local health department, and the CDC are working together to prevent disease transmission by evaluating close contacts of the patient and health care personnel who cared for the patient.

“DHS is operating with an abundance of caution and is working very closely with the local health department and UW Hospital and Clinics to ensure that this patient and any close contacts are closely monitored,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers. “The risk of getting sick from 2019 novel coronavirus in Wisconsin is very low. We are responding aggressively to the situation and monitoring all developments. We are committed to keeping the public fully informed and will continue to provide updates as this situation unfolds.”

“UW Health has taken precautions, including ongoing staff training and recently expanding our travel history questions,” said UW Health Medical Director of Infection Control Dr. Nasia Safdar. “Since initial treatment at University Hospital, the patient has been self-quarantined at home. We are coordinating with the CDC, DHS, and local health authorities.”

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, which may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after someone is exposed to the virus. Symptoms have ranged from a mild illness (like a common cold) to severe pneumonia requiring hospitalization. We are encouraging travelers returning from China or contacts of patients with a confirmed case who become ill to let their health care providers know of their possible exposure before arriving at the health care facility.

The steps that all Wisconsin residents can take to help prevent the spread of this virus are the same as those used to protect against colds and flu: cover your coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, and stay home when you’re sick. Influenza and other seasonal respiratory viruses are common in Wisconsin at this time of year.

For more on the 2019 novel coronavirus, visit Local 5’s web page dedicated to the illness here: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/coronavirus/

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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