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COVID-19

If You Are Sick or Have Been Exposed
Please review the guidelines below and follow our Isolation and Quarantine Flowchart for exposures. 

12/7/2020 Update: 

The La Crosse County Health Department will be implementing the new CDC & Wisconsin of Department Health Services (DHS) quarantine guidance starting December 7th. (Details are below.) A 14-day quarantine continues to be the gold standard to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

11/9/2020 Update:

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The health department continues to prioritize contacting cases and contacts at highest risk, however due to record high numbers of cases over the past seven days has reached capacity. It is important that the public knows some cases and contacts may not receive a phone call at this time. For this reason, we ask any newly diagnosed person with COVID-19 to fill out this form and isolate themselves immediately. Cases should also personally notify anyone they have had close contact with about their positive test result and direct their contacts to quarantine and follow directions below. This notification should be shared with any person in contact with the positive case while they had symptoms AND during the 48 hours before symptoms developed.

 

I have tested positive for COVID-19

  • Please fill out this form to help our team get important information as soon as possible. 
  • Stay home.
    • Separate yourself from others inside your home, including animals, as much as possible.
    • Do not go to work, school, or other public areas.
    • Avoid using public transportation.
    • Restrict activities outside of your home, except to get medical care.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you can't wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub hands together until dry.
  • Tell those who need to know.
    • Tell your employer, school, or child care center about your diagnosis.
    • Fill out your own quarantine letter here.
    • If you know you have been in close contact with other people, tell them you have tested positive and that they should stay home for 14 days from your last contact.
    • You can anonymously tell your close contacts by visiting TellYourContacts.org to send a text or email to those who need to know.
    • WI DHS Next Steps
  • Avoid other people, even those in your household.
    • If you have to be around other people or pets, such as sharing a room or vehicle, or before entering a healthcare provider's office, wear a face covering or mask.
    • If you can't wear a mask because it's hard for you to breathe while wearing one, then keep people who live with you out of your room, and have them wear a medical mask if they come in your room.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and throw away in a lined trashcan. Wash hands thoroughly afterward. Soap and water are best.
    • Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes and glasses, or bedding.
    • Clean all "high touch" surfaces every day, such as counters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, phones, and keyboards.
    • Use a household cleaning product to clean, following the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Seek help if you need it.
    • If you are having a medical emergency, call 911. Notify dispatch that you have or may have COVID-19.
    • Monitor your symptoms at home and call before visiting your doctor.  If you have an appointment, please tell them you have or may have COVID-19.
  • In general, people can stop isolating 10 days after their symptoms started if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours and their symptoms are improving. The last day for isolation for someone who never had symptoms is 10 days after their positive test.  See more information from DHS regarding isolation and quarantine requirements here. 
  • Our department recommends against requiring employees to have a release letter to return to work, as this is an unnecessary burden during an emergency response for a communicable disease.   Submit your own letter to return to work letter here. Please call the healthcare provider who administered our test for confirmation of your test results. 
  • You don't need to be tested again if you've recently had a positive test. Your test may be positive for many weeks after you recover. You don't need a negative test to stop isolating.

    See more info from DHS by clicking either photo below.

DHS Page 1 info DHS page 2 info

I have COVID-19 symptoms but haven't been around anyone with COVID-19

  • Close contact is defined as closer than 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more total – OR – direct exposure to coughs, sneezes, or other body fluids.
  • There are many possible symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, loss of taste or smell, and digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • If you have these symptoms, you should be tested. Call your health care provider to request testing or get tested at a community testing site. Stay home while you wait for your test results.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Do not share personal household items. Clean your hands often. Clean all "high-touch" surfaces like doorknobs often.
  • Monitor your symptoms and call your health care provider if symptoms worsen.

I had close contact with someone with COVID-19 but am not sick 

  • Close contact is defined as closer than 6 feet, for 15 minutes or more total – OR – direct exposure to coughs, sneezes, or other body fluids.

  • Please complete our close contact form

  • Monitor your health for fever, cough, any new symptoms, and shortness of breath for 14 days after your last contact with the sick person.

  • Stay home; do not go to work, school, or childcare. Submit a letter to your employerif necessary.

  • A 14-day quarantine is the gold standard. However, there are now (as of 12/7/20) two alternative strategies for discontinuation of quarantine:

    1) Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing IF no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. Daily symptom monitoring must continue through Day 14.

  • 2) Quarantine can end after Day 7 ONLY if the result of a COVID-19 test is negative AND if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. Daily symptom monitoring must continue through Day 14. A pending test result on Day 7 is not sufficient.

  • Unless you are a staff member at a health care system who has consulted employee health and been provided with other guidelines, you must follow quarantine guidance.

  • Click the photo below for our COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance Document.
    Quarantine Screenshot

     

Consider being tested for COVID-19 5-7 days after exposure if you develop symptoms or are advised by public health to be tested. Some people have the virus but don’t have symptoms, so the only way to know for sure is to test.

I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and am sick

  • Please complete our close contact form as soon as possible.
  • If you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms, even if your symptoms are mild (for example, you think it might be allergies), isolate yourself. Submit a letter to your employer if necessary.
  • You should be tested. Call your health care nurse line (Gundersen 608-775-4454 or Mayo 507-293-9525) and tell them you have symptoms of COVID-19 and were exposed to someone who tested positive. If you can’t get tested by your health care provider or don’t have a health care provider, you should go to a community testing site when one is available.
  • Stay home while you are waiting for your test results. Even if you have a negative test, you still need to stay home for 14 days.

I live with someone who has COVID-19.

  • If the person with COVID-19 can self-isolate (separate bedroom, food delivered to their room, separate bathroom or disinfected after use, can maintain 6 feet of space) and you can avoid additional contact with that person:
    • If you develop symptoms, follow the guidance above.
    • Quarantine requirements: 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began isolation. 14 days is the gold standard for quarantine. However, there are now (as of 12/7/20) two alternative strategies for discontinuation of quarantine:

      1) Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing IF no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. Daily symptom monitoring must continue through Day 14.
      2) Quarantine can end after Day 7 ONLY if the result of a COVID-19 test is negative AND if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. Daily symptom monitoring must continue through Day 14. A pending test result on Day 7 is not sufficient.
  • I started my quarantine, but then had additional close contact with a household member or someone else who has COVID-19:
    • You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone who has COVID-19.  Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you also need to restart your quarantine.
    • If you develop symptoms, follow the guidance above.
    • Quarantine requirements: Date of additional close contact with a person who has COVID-19 + 14 days. (or use the alternative strategies for discontinuation of quarantine on Day 7 or Day 10 as described above if a full 14-day quarantine cannot be completed.) 
  • I cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19 (i.e. Providing direct care to the person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where I am unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet).
    • If you cannot avoid close contact, your quarantine will not start until your household member is out of isolation or considered recovered.  You must stay home the entire time that your household member is in isolation PLUS 14 days. (or use the alternative strategies for discontinuation of quarantine on Day 7 or Day 10 as described above if a full 14-day quarantine cannot be completed.)
    • If you develop symptoms, follow the guidance above.
  • See household quarantine guidance from the CDC here.

Someone in my home is sick from COVID-19. Besides being in quarantine, how do I support my household member?

  • The sick person should be in their own room and should have their own bathroom, if possible. They should have the door closed, and food and other needs should be left outside their door for them to pick up.
  • All household members should try to stay away from the sick person as much as possible.
  • The CDC has additional guidance for how to clean and disinfect your home  if someone is sick, including how to clean surfaces, linens, dishes, and trash.
  • The CDC also has information about how to minimize risk if you live in a house with close quarters  (e.g., small apartment with more than one person or a house with multiple generations).

I’m a health care worker.

  • If you work for Mayo Clinic or Gundersen Health System, you may be subject to different recommendations. Contact your employee health at your workplace for additional guidance.  Health care workers may follow CDC guidelines for critical workers if their employers tell them they should return to work.
  • If you are a healthcare worker for an organization other than Mayo or Gundersen, you should follow the guidelines provided by the health department above in other sections of this site.

My business has an employee who tested positive or is a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Find frequently asked questions, how to disinfect areas, and a helpful grid to help you determine when an employee should be excluded from work: