ELLSWORTH — One Pierce County resident has recovered after being diagnosed with the new coronavirus as of March 26, according to the Pierce County health department.

There were three active cases of the respiratory disease COVID-19 at that time. The health department also recorded four probable cases involving close contact with someone exhibiting symptoms, though they were not tested as of March 26.

The county does not release identifying details about COVID-19 patients n accordance with privacy law. Health officials will contact anyone believed to have been in close contact with an infected person so they can self-quarantine, a news release states.

Pierce County Health Officer AZ Snyder in a statement March 22 about the first individual said it was unknown where the person was exposed to the disease.

The Ellsworth School District Sunday morning, March 22, provided additional details in a districtwide alert stating an individual who attended a recent high school choir trip to New Orleans tested positive for COVID-19. Due to privacy laws, the district has not released further details about the person, who may or may not be a student.

Then Sunday evening the district sent an email saying a second person involved in the trip had tested positive for the virus.

Band and choir students were in New Orleans March 9-14, which also was spring break. The two people attended the senior high school choir trip, according to the message.

The group consisted of 44 students, 14 parents and two teaching staff, the email said. When the group left on March 9, all Wisconsin schools were still in session. The group returned the day after the governor’s Friday afternoon announcement closing schools and five days prior to the actual mandatory closing of Wisconsin schools.

"The trajectory of the virus changed dramatically from the time in which the group left to their point of return. At the time in which the group left for the trip to New Orleans, the State of Louisiana was not listed as an area of community spread. The first case in Louisiana was actually reported on March 9th, the day the group left," the district email reads. "Spring break was a time in which many of our families traveled throughout the country and to other countries. Due to the many changes that took place in an extremely short period of time, the decision was made to not have all district students return to school after spring break for the three days available prior to the governor’s closing date of March 18, 2020. "

Ellsworth schools have been closed since March 16. Gov. Tony Evers ordered all schools closed starting March 18, but gave school officials in counties with a confirmed case the leeway to close early. Ellsworth Public Schools did so.

The health department urges residents to cancel non-essential travel. Those required to travel by airplane or other confined modes of transportation are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning and to monitor for symptoms such as fever and cough.

There were 281 positive COVID-19 test results in Wisconsin and 4,628 that came back negative as of Saturday, March 21, according to the most updated statistics from the Department of Health Services. There are have been four deaths associated with the disease.

The first confirmed case in Pierce County was announced March 9. A case in St. Croix county was announced March 19.

Minnesota health officials on Sunday reported the highest one-day jump with 32 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the statewide total to 169 positive tests and one death.

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CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Voluntary Home Isolation: Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19-related virus.
  • Respiratory Etiquette: Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.
  • Hand Hygiene: Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
  • Environmental Health Action: Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.

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