5 people in Wisconsin being tested for deadly Coronavirus

Local health officials inform the community just in case it hits the La Crosse area

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Five people in Wisconsin are being tested for the deadly Coronavirus, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

More than 2,800 cases worldwide, including five in the U.S., are confirmed.

The new Coronavirus hasn’t made its way to La Crosse, at least right now.

“We certainly haven’t seen any of that here,” La Crosse County Health Department public health nursing manager Jacquie Cutts said. “So we think the risk is low.”

But because the disease is so new, it’s hard for health experts to figure out whether or not we should be worried.

“It’s really difficult at this point to know,” UW-La Crosse Microbiology Associate Professor Peter Wilker said. “There’s so many unknowns about the virus and the nature of how it spreads person to person.”

Wilker is bringing his knowledge to the classroom.

“It’s very interesting to students when you are covering concepts and using things that are unfolding in real time,” Wilker said.

His discussions are making them think.

“This kind of stuff resonates with them, as it should,” Wilker said.

The La Crosse County Health Department is keeping in touch with other health organizations.

“We are in consultation with the CDC, with the state of Wisconsin,” Cutts said. “We have sent out what’s called an infectious disease alert. It just notifies providers and other people that are in contact with individuals about Coronavirus.”

Symptoms for the new virus are similar to that of a common cold, and if people are confirmed to have it, they are being asked to do certain things to keep it from spreading.

“Stay in your house, cover with a mask, your cough, stay at home,” Cutts said. “If you’re going to go into a providers office, you would wear a mask to try and limit the spread to anybody else.”

Even though the La Crosse area hasn’t seen the virus so far, Wilker plans to keep talking about it in his lectures.

“It’s the kind of thing that could potentially be a game-changer globally, right?,” Wilker said. “I hope it’s not.”

The D.H.S says another patient in Wisconsin was tested for the disease, but came back negative.

The department is not saying where the patients are being tested.