What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a novel strain of coronavirus. It was first discovered in December 2019. The first cases were found in China and have since spread around the world. Because it’s so new, we are still learning as much as we can about this new virus. So far, we know that this coronavirus looks a lot like other respiratory viruses, like colds, the flu, or RSV.
You can learn more about the current situation here.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
People who have COVID-19 coronavirus sometimes get fevers, a cough, or have trouble breathing. Most people who get coronavirus don’t get really sick, but some people do and might have to go to the hospital. A small number of people with the virus have died. Most people who get sick from coronavirus start to feel these symptoms between two and 14 days after they catch it.
How does COVID-19 spread from person to person?
Coronaviruses spread through the air when someone who is sick coughs or sneezes, or through close personal contact like touching or shaking hands. It also could spread when a person touches an object that has coronavirus on it, then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Who is at risk of getting COVID-19?
Anyone who is close to someone who is infected with COVID-19 coronavirus is at risk for catching the disease.
How can I prevent getting COVID-19?
There is no vaccine to keep you from catching COVID-19 coronavirus. The best way to keep from catching coronavirus is to do all of the things you normally do during cold and flu season:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
- Try to not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands.
- Try to stay away from people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home and try to stay away from other people.
- Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze.
- Using a mask is only recommended for someone who is sick with coronavirus. Using a mask is not recommended for people who do not have the virus.
How do you treat COVID-19?
Most people who have COVID-19 coronavirus get better just by resting, drinking fluids, and taking fever medicine like Tylenol or ibuprofen. For people who get sicker, they may need to go to the hospital. There is no medicine or cure that works specifically on coronavirus.
What should you do if you are around someone who has COVID 19?
The symptoms you should look for are:
- • Fever
- • Cough
- • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
If you get any of these symptoms within 14 days of being around someone with COVID-19 coronavirus, call your health care provider right away. Tell your provider that you might have had contact with someone with coronavirus and tell them your symptoms.
Where do I get tested for COVID-19?
If you have recently traveled to an area with community spread or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and has symptoms, please call your primary care provider. Do not seek care without calling ahead.
For more information about COVID-19 from Ascension Wisconsin, please visit healthcare.ascension.org/covid-19.
If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19, contact your primary care provider. If you do not have a connection to a medical provider, and would like to be prescreened by Ascension, please call the Ascension COVID-19 Hotline at: 1-833-981-0711. If clinically recommended, individuals will be given a provider's order and referred to an Ascension COVID-19 specimen collection location.
I am traveling or just returned from a trip. What should I do?
Travel guidelines are changing rapidly. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' website.
What does isolation and quarantine mean?
Isolation and quarantine are two actions that can be taken by Public Health to help protect the public by preventing and containing the spread of a contagious disease. The goal is to stop more people from becoming infected. Isolation separates sick people who are known to have an illness or disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who have been exposed to an illness or disease while they are being monitored to determine whether they become sick. For COVID-19, the incubation period is a maximum of 14 days, therefore this is the time period that is used to determine the length of quarantine.
When Public Health takes the action of isolating or quarantining, then everyone involved may become part of the legal process. Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 252 Communicable Diseases, specifically § 252.06, authorizes the use of isolation and/or quarantine to stop the spread of a communicable disease.
What should patients do if they are quarantined?
While quarantined, the patient:
- • May not leave their home or place of containment without prior approval by the health officer or their legal designee
- • May not have contact with any new non-previously exposed people unless approved by the health officer
- • Must be under medical supervision for monitoring, diagnostic testing and collection of blood and other samples
- • May not remove or deface any warnings or placards posted by the health department
- • Has the right to confer with legal counsel
14 days after the last possible exposure/return from a level 3 area, the patient must:
- • Take their temperature two-times daily; and (report above ~100.4 degrees Fahrenheit )
- • Watch for COVID-2019 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath); and
- • On a daily basis permit a public health official to directly observe one or both of the temperature checks and review symptoms; and,
- • Immediately report to public health officials if they have any symptoms; and,
- • Discuss with public health officials their plans for activities so they can determine whether these are allowed.
- • Quarantined patients should not travel by any commercial conveyances (e.g., airplane, ship, long-distance bus, or train). Local use of public transportation (e.g., taxi, bus, subway) and travel should be discussed and coordinated with the public health department. If local public transportation is used, the patient must be able to exit quickly if they feel ill. Travel by private car is permitted.
- • Do not go to bars, restaurants, shopping centers, theaters, church, or any public places where they will be sitting or standing less than 6 feet away from others.
- • Do not go to their workplace (telework is permitted).
- • Do not go to school (which is currently closed).
- • Additional movement restrictions may be defined by your health department depending on circumstances (e.g. healthcare provider, first responders).
What is the guidance for emergency workers (MFD, MPD, EMS)?
Travel is not in the equation any longer for this group. If the individual came in contact (within 6 feet of the person) with a known case (someone who tested positive) for more than 10 minutes, they are required to self-quarantine and monitor for symptoms. Monitoring for symptoms means reporting immediately if the client has one or more of the following:
- • Fever (100.4 or higher) **must take temperature two-times daily
- • Cough
- • Shortness of breath
Will I be evicted if I can’t afford my rent?
No, not at this time. Governor Evers had banned evictions and foreclosures in the state of Wisconsin for 60 days starting Friday March 27th, 2020. Evictions are still allowed in domestic violence cases or when someone may face physical harm. This order does not include individuals on month-to-month leases.
Will my utilities be shut off if I can’t afford to pay them?
No, not at this time. The state of Wisconsin’s board has banned utilities from being disconnected during this current public health emergency. Homes will not lose access to water, electric or natural gas because of unpaid bills during this emergency period. The Public Service Commission (PSC) has also requested that utility providers reconnect homes that are currently disconnected. This ban is in place until April 15th and the moratorium from PSC is in place until the end of the public health emergency.