COVID-19 confirmed in Dunn County

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  Dunn County’s first positive case of COVID-19 was reported on Thursday, March 19.

The person diagnosed with the coronavirus disease has mild symptoms, said KT Gallagher, Dunn County Director of Public Health, at a Facebook Live event on Friday, March 20.

The person affected had traveled extensively overseas and domestically, she said.

COVID-19 produces symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing.

Testing was completed March 17, and receiving a report of the positive result on March 19 was consistent with the lab’s current ability to provide results with 24 to 48 hours, Gallagher said.

The person suffering from COVID-19 is under voluntary quarantine for 14 days, she said.

One person who attended the Facebook Live event in person asked when people who had been in contact with the infected person would be contacted.

Case contact and contact tracing is what public health does, Gallagher said.

“We do it everyday,” she said, noting that most of the time, the contact tracing occurs for diseases that are not as potentially deadly or contagious as COVID-19, such as e-coli and sexually transmitted diseases.

“It is our job. It is what we do. And we are good at it,” Gallagher said.

Within minutes of receiving confirmation of a positive diagnosis at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Gallagher said she and members of her team started on the work of identifying all of those who had come in contact with the infected person.

Gallagher said she would be bringing on additional people to help make those contacts, and while she could not say for sure when the contacts would be completed, the work would be completed as soon as possible.

Another question for Gallagher pertained to “community spread” of the novel coronavirus in Dunn County.

The infected person in Dunn County had traveled to areas where COVID-19 was already established. Community spread of a virus is when someone contracts the disease but did not have contact with anyone known to already have the disease.

Very few counties in Wisconsin have community spread right now, Gallagher said.

“If we all do our part, stay home and practice good hygiene … I’m hoping we can get out in front of this,” she said.

As of Friday morning, 20 tests for COVID-19 had been completed in Dunn County, and some results were still outstanding, Gallagher said.

As time goes on and more people are tested, there will always be some outstanding tests, she noted.

Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 206 cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and three deaths from the disease.

On Thursday, there were 155 cases in Wisconsin and two deaths.

3 Comments

  1. Sharon C McLarnon on March 24, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Provide city in Dunn county with corona virus case so residents can take additional steps to protect themselves.

    • Editor on April 6, 2020 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks for your inquiry! DeWitt Media has contacted health officers in both Dunn and St. Croix Counties about the release of this type of information, i.e. postive case numbers by community and it is deemed a privacy issue.

      According to Kathryn Gallagher, Dunn County Health Department director, in an email to us stated, “There continues to be a fair amount of unfair stigma associated with COVID-19 infection. Some of our communities are very small and close knit. Sharing any kind of demographic data may make it easier to identify an individual and inadvertently make them a target for discrimination and do significant harm. People’s medical information is their own.”

      Here is a link to the Wisconsin Department of Health website that answers many frequently asked questions concerning the current COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/privacy.htm

  2. Larry Hollingsworth on March 26, 2020 at 10:38 am

    How many cases have been reported since November 19.? ( Dunn County)

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