Coronavirus Disease 2019
The Rock County Public Health Department strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information during this COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to bring you a series of Q&A videos to answer the questions that are most important to you. Please submit your questions to [email protected] to be answered in a future video.
What is coronavirus, how does it spread, and what are the symptoms?
Coronavirus disease 2019 is a new virus, so experts are still working to fully understand the disease and its symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating information as it becomes available for this rapidly evolving situation. For the most up-to-date information, visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC.
What do I do if I think I'm sick from coronavirus?
If you think you may have coronavirus or COVID-19:
- Call before going to a doctor or emergency room
- Wear a facemask when you are around people and before entering a healthcare facility
- Tell them about your symptoms
- Avoid contact with others
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if no soap and water are available.
What is being done to keep people safe?
What Rock County Public Health Department is Doing
Our team has been receiving regular updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), and other key organizations since January. As a public health department, we have emergency preparedness plans, including a pandemic plan, that are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that we are prepared to respond to public health emergencies. Here are some key things that we have been doing to keep you safe and healthy:
- Monitoring patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. When we receive confirmation that you have tested positive for COVID-19, our team is in contact with you to ensure proper isolation procedures, obtain contact information, monitor symptoms, and determine when isolation can be discontinued.
- Monitoring people who may have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. We follow standard communicable disease contact investigation procedures to follow-up with you if you have come in contact with an infected person, which includes contacting you to let you know you may have been exposed, giving you information about symptoms to watch for, and making sure you quarantine or isolate yourself if you meet certain risk criteria.
- Staying up-to-date on the latest information and guidance. Since information and guidance surrounding COVID-19 and the virus that causes the disease are constantly changing, we attend virtual meetings, webinars, and receive regular updates from the Wisconsin DHS, the CDC, and other organizations.
- Helping communities prepare, respond, cope, and recover. We have been working hard throughout this pandemic to find, create, and update resources for businesses, organizations, schools, individuals, and families to help our community during this time. We are also working in collaboration with partners throughout the response and recovery of this pandemic.
- Providing accurate, up-to-date information. We strive to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information through our website and social media accounts, Facebook and Instagram.
How do you monitor people who might be at risk for coronavirus?
- Monitoring travelers. This was a strategy used early in the pandemic when most of the transmission was coming from people who had traveled internationally. We followed the CDC monitoring guidance and received information from the Wisconsin DHS about all high-risk travelers returning to Rock County. We contacted these travelers with instructions about how to isolate themselves and symptoms to watch for. These people remained isolated and monitored for symptoms for two weeks.
- Monitoring people who may have come in contact with someone who has coronavirus. We follow standard communicable disease contact investigation procedures to follow-up with anyone who may have come in contact with an infected person, which includes contacting them to let them know they may have been exposed, giving them information about symptoms to watch for, and making sure they isolate themselves if they meet certain risk criteria.
I was in the mall, movie theater, or other crowded, public space. Am I at risk?
We currently have a large amount of community spread in Rock County so these activities would put you at very high risk of getting COVID-19.
I think a student or staff member may have been exposed to coronavirus. Should they be excluded from school?
A student or staff member should quarantine for two weeks if they have been identified as a close contact to someone who has tested positive. This means that they should stay at home and not have any contact with anyone outside of their household. If virtual school is an option, the teacher or student can still participate virtually.
How can I keep myself healthy?
These tips will help prevent coronavirus, as well as other diseases like the flu.
As an individual
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
As an employee/employer
- Keep tissues and hand sanitizer in easy to access places. Encourage employees to keep these items at their desk too.
- Create a Business Continuity Plan. This plan helps businesses map out how to provide essential services if a number of employees are sick or unavailable.
- Work with your cleaning staff to make sure workspaces are cleaned and disinfected correctly. The CDC has basic information on cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html
- Consider longer-term policies. Offering paid sick leave, allowing staff to work from home, and creating mandatory flu vaccination policies can help keep employees healthy.
What is the difference between Quarantine and Isolation?
Isolation versus Quarantine
The difference between having to isolate or quarantine has to do with whether or not you have a confirmed disease. Anyone who has a confirmed disease (has tested positive) must be isolated. Anyone that has a known exposure to someone who has tested positive or anyone who is awaiting test results is quarantined. If you are quarantined and then receive positive test results, you would be instructed to isolate. Very often these two terms are used interchangeably; which is not accurate and can cause confusion.
If you are asked to quarantine, this means that you should stay at home as much as possible. You should not run errands or go to work. You should wear a mask whenever you are around other people.
If you are asked to isolate, you cannot leave your house. You should stay in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom if at all possible. Family members or caregivers should limit the amount of contact they have with you and wear a medical mask when they are taking care of you.
For more information about isolation and quarantine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/index.html and https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/diagnosed.htm.