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Third coronavirus case reported in Wisconsin

Health officials said both the second and third cases are people exposed while traveling within the U.S.

PIERCE COUNTY, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has confirmed the state's third case of COVID-19 coronavirus, less than 24 hours after the second case was reported.

According to a Wisconsin DHS news release, the newest case is a person in Dane County. The second case in the state, reported on Monday, is someone in Pierce County. Health officials say both were exposed while traveling in the U.S., and are currently isolated at home.

Health officials are now working to determine who may have come in contact with both patients in order to isolate or quarantine those people, or test those who might be showing symptoms.

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An earlier positive case of COVID-19 coronavirus was reported in a patient in Dane County in early February; that patient was said to be making a "good recovery."

“As this is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Dane County, we have the experience in caring for patients in isolation and contacting those who may have been in contact with the patient," Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health for Madison and Dane County, said in a release Tuesday. "We will continue working with DHS and CDC, as well as our local health care providers and other partners, to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community."

Pierce County Health Officer A.Z. Snyder issued a statement Tuesday, saying that the county public health department will continue to work closely with their partners to respond.

“The individual who tested positive is cooperating with home isolation," Snyder said. "Their family is also staying home."

The person visited three Wisconsin schools over the weekend. According to the Prescott School District, the person was at a practice Destination Imagination event at Malone Intermediary School Friday. Snyder said during a news conference that the person was also in Malone Elementary for a brief period of time. According to the district, the person then attended an all-day Destination Imagination event Saturday in the Osceola School District. 

The Osceola School District cancelled classes Tuesday so they could clean the school. 

The Prescott School District chose not to close, but gave parents the option to keep students home.

"The Osceola School District decided to close because the areas where the individual visited in the schools were large rooms that required time to disinfect," the Prescott School District said in a statement posted to their website. "Prescott School District did not close because the areas this individual briefly visited on Friday, March 6th were small rooms. These rooms were thoroughly cleaned overnight, so there was no reason to close the school."

The district said none of their staff or students had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Snyder said the person was not coughing when they were in the schools and that the people who attended the events have a "low" risk of contracting the virus. 

"Our guidance is that if they attended the events, they need to monitor themselves for symptoms, but as long as they remain well they may return to work and school," Snyder said. 

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Wisconsin DHS advises people who have traveled to places with active cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days to self-monitor and self-quarantine.

"If symptoms, like fever, cough, or breathing problems occur, they are asked to contact their local health department and health care provider for possible testing," the release states.

“We are working with our local health departments to make sure everyone who has been in contact with our confirmed cases is notified. We continue to urge state residents to take precautions to avoid illness,” said State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers in the release. “As guidance is evolving, it’s important for people to monitor the DHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for the latest information and guidance on COVID-19.”

In Minnesota, the state has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920. The hotline is open until 8 p.m. on March 6, and open 9 a.m. to 4:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday.

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit /coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215.

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