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First COVID-19 related death reported in Sauk County
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First COVID-19 related death reported in Sauk County

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Sauk County Health Officer Tim Lawther fields a question from an attendee at the March 10 coronavirus response meeting.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported Friday that Sauk County had recorded its first COVID-19 related death.

Sauk County Health Officer Tim Lawther said the person died in part due to a COVID-19 infection, but other factors such as an ongoing illness, were responsible for the person’s death.

Officials currently aren’t releasing information about the person because of concerns over privacy, Lawther said. No changes will be implemented as a direct result of the death, but the county plans to issue an alert telling residents to stay home.

So far, eight people have tested positive for coronavirus in Sauk County.

Columbia County reported its sixth and seventh confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday afternoon. Two hundred and eleven residents have so far tested negative for the novel coronavirus and there have been no deaths in the county.

“Together we can make a difference in the fight against COVID-19,” Health Officer Susan Lorenz said. “Stay home if you can and especially if you are sick. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.”

In the state, 842 had tested positive for COVID-19 and 13,140 tested negative as of Friday afternoon. There have been 13 deaths.

Lawther said people need to stay in their homes unless they are providing an essential service. Social distancing should be strictly adhered and anyone who begins to develop symptoms, such as fever, coughing or a shortness of breath, should isolate themselves in their home. If they live with others, the person should implement social distancing within their home and fellow residents should begin to monitor for signs of their own symptoms.

“People don’t seem to be taking this seriously enough, so our communication is going to be increased,” Lawther said. “As you see folks around doing non-essential things, it does indicate to us that folks aren’t taking it seriously. And really, that’s our only hope to stop this, is everybody has got to work together to take this seriously.”

Last week the health department reported Columbia County is experiencing “community spread,” which means the virus “seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community,” Lorenz said. Two of the first five confirmed cases were people who had not traveled out of the community.

Lorenz posts health updates regularly on the county website, found by clicking on the “coronavirus” link at co.columbia.wi.us.

The Sauk County coronavirus information hotline is 608-355-3200. The Columbia County hotline is 608-742-9253.

Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget or contact her at 608-745-3513.

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