General COVID-19 Information

What is COVID-19?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

How does COVID-19 Spread?

 The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  •  Cough
  •  Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

  •  Fever
  •  Chills
  •  Repeated shaking with chills
  •  Muscle pain
  •  Headache
  •  Sore throat
  •  New loss of taste or smell


Are You A Close Contact?

A close contact is one who has had direct physical contact with a positive COVID-19 client or is one who has been within 6 feet of, for at least 15 minutes in 24 hours.
Many health departments in Wisconsin are unable to establish communication with close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases due to the ongoing increase in new cases. Positive cases are being instructed to notify their close contacts when needed.

​ If you are concerned about being exposed to someone with COVID-19, we encourage you to self-monitor your symptoms and seek testing if symptoms develop or no sooner than 3 days after your last exposure to the positive case. You can call the Health Department Intake Line at 715-349-7600 for specific contact-related questions.

​•You should self-isolate for 14 days after your last exposure and self-monitor for symptoms. Even if you test negative once during your isolation period, you can develop symptoms and test positive later during the 14 day incubation period. Individuals can spread the virus 2 days before symptom onset. Quarantine for 14 full days after the time of exposure remains the safest strategy for preventing asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

​ •For close contacts who do not develop symptoms during the 14 day incubation period, you may have options to shorten your quarantine time in order to reduce burden. Shortened quarantine options do not mean that close contacts are free to return to all normal activities - all close contacts must continue to adhere strictly to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, (i.e., consistent mask use, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings) for the FULL 14 DAYS after exposure.
​The three options for ending quarantine are:
14 Day Quarantine: Quarantine can end after DAY 14 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. This is still the safest option for people who are higher risk, such as long-term care facilities, shelters, jails and prisons.
​◾Stay home and monitor your health for 14 DAYS after your last contact with a person who had COVID-19.
​◾Watch for fever (100.4 F), cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms.
​◾If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk.
​◾If symptoms develop at any time, individuals should immediately self-isolate and get tested. ◾Individuals must adhere strictly to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, (i.e., consistent mask use, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings) for the FULL 14 DAYS after exposure.
10 Day Quarantine: Quarantine can end after DAY 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
​◾Stay home and monitor your health for 10 DAYS after your last contact with a person who had COVID-19.
​◾Watch for fever (100.4 F), cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms.
​◾If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk.
​◾If symptoms develop at any time, individuals should immediately self-isolate and get tested. ◾Individuals must adhere strictly to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, (i.e., consistent mask use, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings) for the FULL 14 DAYS after exposure.
7 Day Quarantine: Quarantine can end after DAY 7 with a negative rapid-antigen or PCR test result and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring.
​◾The person who was exposed can get tested no sooner than DAY 6 of their quarantine and must remain in quarantine until a result comes back. If the test comes back negative and you have no symptoms, your last day of quarantine may be as early as DAY 7.
​◾Stay home and monitor your health for at least 7 DAYS after your last contact with a person who had COVID-19.
​◾Watch for fever (100.4 F), cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms.
​◾If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk.
​◾If symptoms develop at any time, individuals should immediately self-isolate and get tested. ◾Individuals must adhere strictly to all recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions, (i.e., consistent mask use, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings) for the FULL 14 DAYS after exposure.
Follow all guidance from DHS on what to do if you have had contact with someone who was diagnosed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why might Burnett County Public Health guidance be different than CDC guidance?

    Burnett County Public Health is obligated by Wisconsin Law to follow Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) policies in place regarding COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.

  • What do I need to do if I have been tested for COVID-19 and am waiting for the results? Follow guidance from DHS on self-isolation and self-monitoring of symptoms for at least 10 days since symptoms first began AND for at least 1 day after symptoms resolve.

    You must isolate at home until you receive your test results.
    If you receive a negative test result, follow these recommendations until at least 24 hours after your symptoms resolve (no fever and improvement in other symptoms).
    New DHS guidance with options to reduce quarantine for close contacts DOES NOT apply to individuals with positive test results.

  • What are the different types of tests and how long does it take to get results?

    There are two types of tests used to diagnose COVID-19: Molecular (confirmatory) and Antigen (non-confirmatory)   

         Molecular tests are the most accurate type of test used to diagnose active COVID-19 infection by detecting the virus's genetic material. These tests are often referred to as PCR or NAAT tests and must be analyzed in a reference lab. Molecular tests can take anywhere from a day  to a week to return results.
    Positive results from molecular tests result in "confirmed" case status.

      
         Antigen tests detect specific proteins from the virus and are less accurate than molecular tests. Positive results are usually highly accurate, particularly in symptomatic individuals, but providers may order a confirmatory molecular test in situations where a symptomatic individual tests negative OR where an asymptomatic individual tests positive, depending on the circumstances leading to testing. Antigen tests can return results in as fast as 15-30 minutes depending on the specific test used.
    Positive results from antigen tests result in "probable" case status.

        Antibody tests may show if you have been infected by COVID-19 in the past. These tests are run using blood samples and have varying degrees of accuracy. Antibody tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19. Researchers do not know how long antibodies stay in the body following infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and do not know if antibodies give you protective immunity against the virus. Individuals who have had a previous COVID-19 infection are advised to continue taking protective measures, such as physical distancing, mask wearing, and hand hygiene.

    More information about COVID-19 tests can be found in this FDA fact sheet or this DHS publication

  • What is the difference between a Confirmed case and a Probable case?

    Cases are classified using the national case definition established by CDC and the CSTE (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists). 
       Confirmed: individuals who have a positive molecular test (PCR) result detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus (see testing information above), with or without the presence of symptoms.

      Probable: individuals with a postive non-confirmatory test (antigen, see testing information above) OR close contacts of lab confirmed cases who have developed symptoms but have not been tested.
    Burnett County Positive case counts that are reported daily on the Burnett County Facebook Page are a combination of the positive PCR cases and the positive antigen cases.

  • How are COVID-19 deaths reported? 
       COVID-19 Deaths: deaths among confirmed cases of COVID-19 that meet the vital records criteria set forth by the CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) case definition. Those are deaths that have a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death.        

    Deaths among people with COVID-19 that were the result of non-COVID reasons (e.g., accident, overdose, etc.) are not included as a COVID-19 death. 

  • If I wear a cloth face covering (homemade mask, scarf, bandana, etc.) in public, do I still need to practice physical distancing?
         YES!
    Physical distancing is the most important tool we have to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

        There is growing evidence to suggest that wearing cloth face coverings in public can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by infected people. It acts as a physical barrier between your cough/sneeze/spit and the air. The virus can spread before people show symptoms or while they are showing mild symptoms. This helps to protect the people around you. Physical distancing will protect you.
        Wearing a cloth face covering does not reduce immune system function or increase Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to a level noticeable by the wearer.

  • What is "Physical Distancing" and why should I do it?
       Physical distancing
    is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chance of contracting COVID-19. Examples include: cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings, not shaking hands, avoiding large group gatherings or activities, and staying home as much as possible.  
        Physical distancing can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

    People should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:    
         ◦Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home)
         ◦Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water
         ◦Cover coughs and sneezes
         ◦Avoid touching your face
         ◦Stay home when sick