Coronavirus: Wisconsin Now Has 6 Confirmed Cases; Barrett Asks For Emergency Declaration

Mar 11, 2020

For the most up-to-date information, read WUWM's March 19 coronavirus post.

Updated at 8 p.m. CT

Wisconsin now has at least six confirmed cases for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Wednesday.

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Two of the new patients are from Fond du Lac County and the other is from Waukesha County. Both Fond du Lac County patients were exposed to the coronavirus while traveling, one in the U.S. and one internationally. One of them is isolated at home, while the other is hospitalized. The Waukesha County patient was exposed while traveling both in the U.S. and internationally, and is isolated at home.

These cases come after two Dane County residents and one Pierce County resident tested positive for COVID-19. The first person in Wisconsin was diagnosed in early February. The other two were announced this week, and both of them are in isolation.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Wednesday asked Gov. Tony Evers to declare a public health emergency, as the state was confirming the new cases. He says an emergency declaration is necessary so first responders can be safe.

"It's to open the door for federal resources so that we can ensure our health care and public safety officials will have the personal protective equipment they need to continue to serve the residents of Milwaukee," Barrett says.

He says the federal government has stockpiles of equipment such as masks, gowns and gloves that health officials could access under an emergency declaration. Barrett says his request is a proactive measure and he doesn't mean to sound the alarm.  

People who've tested positive for COVID-19 have a range of symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Most people develop mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with pre-existing medical conditions, may develop more serious illness. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There's currently no vaccine to prevent the COVID-19 infection. To protect yourself, health officials recommend you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.