The Door County Department of Health and Human Services announced today that there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Door County. The department announced the case in a press release Monday afternoon and said the individual has remained isolated since time of testing.
The patient is a resident who traveled within the state and is hospitalized in Green Bay, said Dan Kane, Door County Emergency Services Director.
“I would say it’s not community spread,” said Dr. Jim Heise said, Chief Medical Officer at Door County Medical Center in a Facebook Live Monday night. He said he believes that because this patient traveled to a part of the state where the virus has spread significantly. “The patient is doing reasonably well at this point,” Heise said.
The department said it is working to identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with the person. Those people will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. People with symptoms are tested for COVID-19.
“Everyone that needs to be notified will be notified,” said Sue Powers, Door County Public Health Manager.
The department did not immediately release details about the patient’s age or travel history.
The county has performed 102 COVID-19 tests to date, with one positive and 43 negative results. It is awaiting results on the remaining 58 tests. Wisconsin has been performing between 1,500 and 2,000 tests for COVID-19 each day.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday that the state is expanding its partnership with private labs to increase the pace of testing in the state.
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“These critical partnerships will important to not only increasing our testing capacity, but fighting this outbreak in Wisconsin by getting folks their results as quickly as possible so we can get them isolated and cared for,” Evers said.
“We would have a better handle on [COVID-19] if we could test more,” Heise said.
People who believe they have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms should call Door County Medical Center in advance at 920.746.3700.
Aaron LeClair, director of Door County Emergency Services, said this first case does not change much for his department because its protocols had been updated several weeks ago.
“We have been responding as if there has been community spread for more than two weeks to give a better level of protection for our people and the public,” he said. “The first time I saw the backlog in testing, we put everything into action because we might transport them one day and not find out they have the virus for a week.”
The temperature of all staff members is taken and recorded when they arrive for work each day; additional personal protective equipment has been mandated on every call; and new measures are in place when crews return to the station.
After each call, the crew and ambulance are decontaminated. All surfaces in the ambulance and any equipment used on the call are cleaned and sterilized. One ambulance has been stripped down to a cot and an oxygen bottle for responding to patients they believe have the virus to make it easier to clean the vehicle and reduce downtime for the vehicle and staff.
Response protocols have changed as well. Previously, if a patient wanted to go to the hospital, the crew took the person there, with no questions asked. Now crews work with an emergency-room doctor to evaluate the patient.
“If we feel there is not a need to go to the emergency room, we don’t transport them,” LeClair said. “If there’s a better way to treat them, we don’t want to take them to the ER. We have the confidence in our people to make those decisions, and the backup of the emergency-room doctor seals the deal.”
When crews return from a call to assist someone they suspect may have been exposed to COVID-19, they take additional precautions, such as removing their uniform before entering the station and showering immediately.
“My main goal is to keep our personnel safe,” LeClair said. “We want to make sure they’re taking care of their families and not bringing home any exposure.”