Community Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Occurring in Dane County
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 11:53am
Community members should stay home as much as possible
Public Health Madison & Dane County is announcing several new cases of COVID-19 that indicate community spread of the virus. The term “community spread” means there is no known source of the disease, such as recent contact with an infected person or travel from an area with a high number of cases. Seventeen people in Dane County have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“We have reached the level where community spread of COVID-19 is happening,” says Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “Given this level of spread, we are directing community members to practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible. People should also continue everyday prevention strategies like washing hands frequently.”
Community spread of the virus means there is an urgent need for people to restrict movement and stay at home as much as possible. Avoid groups, gatherings, playdates, and nonessential appointments.
“We expect the number of people with COVID-19 to continue to rise in Dane County. This is why we issued our order to limit gatherings to under 50 people, including closing schools. It’s possible these orders will need to be amended to be more restrictive as the situation evolves,” said Heinrich.
Due to community spread of the virus, Public Health directs community members to:
- Stay home whenever you can, especially when you are sick. If sick, isolate yourself from other members of your household, including pets.
- Limit contact with others. This includes canceling events, gatherings, playdates, and nonessential appointments. Minimize trips in public, avoid traveling, and work from home as much as possible. If you must go out, stay at least six feet from people whenever possible.
- Order necessities online for delivery. If possible, order supplies you need so you can stay home.
- Use virtual visits with your doctor. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call your doctor’s office before going in. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested. If your symptoms are too severe to be managed at home, call 911 or call ahead to the emergency department. Use virtual visits if possible to avoid coming in contact with others.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Do this often because it’s the easiest, most effective way to keep from getting sick.
- Follow other everyday prevention strategies. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, avoiding shaking hands or being in someone’s personal space, get your flu shot, avoid touching your face, and cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. Find more information and resources on coronavirus on our website, publichealthmdc.com/coronavirus. Follow us on social media (@publichealthmdc on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for updates.
Note: Given that we anticipate more positive tests, we are no longer issuing news releases for each person diagnosed with the virus. Instead, we will be putting an updated number of positive cases on our website each day.
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