Risk to WI Public Remains Low as State Confirms First Coronavirus Case

February 06, 2020

The evolving picture of coronavirus changed Feb. 5, with the first confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Wisconsin. What hasn’t changed is the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS’) assessment of the risk to the general public for contracting the virus; that risk remains low for Wisconsin citizens.

The national and global picture of coronavirus continues to evolve. On Feb. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated infection prevention and control guidance for people under investigation or with confirmed 2019-nCoV in health care settings. The World Health Organization reports 28,200 global cases and over 560 related deaths. In the U.S., 12 people have tested positive for the virus, there are 167 negative results and 82 tests are pending. Six states have confirmed cases, and 36 states have patients under investigation. Wisconsin’s DHS Outbreaks and Investigations page is updated daily. For the 14 Wisconsin people under investigation including the single confirmed positive, seven tests were negative and six tests are pending.

The continued low risk of transmission relies on implementing actions to prevent exposure and relies on something Wisconsin hospitals, health systems and providers are already doing during this and every flu season: instructing patients and visitors to cover their coughs, wash hands frequently and wear a mask when seeking medical care for respiratory illnesses. DHS and CDC resources provide additional specific guidance for measures to take and preparation needed. Health care providers should contact the DHS Department of Public Health at 608-267-9003 for consultation and approval of 2019-nCoV testing for patients identified as at risk for 2019 novel coronavirus.

Wisconsin hospitals and health systems stand ready to protect our patients, our workforce and our communities, and WHA is committed to working with our members and public health leaders to support their efforts. Now is the time to complete training and ensure readiness, even as we hope prevention efforts avert the spread of 2019-nCoV in our state. WHA will remain in close contact with DHS and provide updates when new or important information becomes available.

Contact WHA Vice President of Workforce and Clinical Pracice Ann Zenk with questions.

This story originally appeared in the February 06, 2020 edition of WHA Newsletter