Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


COVID-19 HITS HOME: First Cases in Eau Claire, Dunn Counties Confirmed [UPDATE]

V1 Staff

UPDATED 3-20-20, 5:26pm

Three Eau Claire County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Friday afternoon, Health Department Director Lieske Giese said. Two of the cases were diagnosed Friday, and one of those was travel-related, Giese said. 

Overall, 206 cases have been diagnosed statewide, and there have been three deaths, she said.

“(It’s) very, very difficult obviously, and all of us are thinking about those individuals and families,” she said. “And unfortunately, we will see more. We know that with this course of disease that it will happen.”

Below is a video of the Friday media briefing:

 The Eau Claire City-Council Health Department announced Thursday morning that it has confirmed by the first case of COVID-19 in Eau Claire County. The patient had traveled outside Wisconsin, and was likely exposed in another state, the health department said in a media release. "We understand that they have remained at home self-quarantined since that travels,” the department said. "We are working with the individual to identify anyone who may have had close contact with the person and quarantining those individuals for the next 14 days.”

As of Thursday, there were 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, and Thursday night Gov. Tony Evers announced the state had experienced its first deaths from the disease: a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County and a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County. (See the official announcement.) In addition, Dunn County public health officials announced Thursday that they had identified the first case of the virus in their county.

The health department held a media briefing at 10:30am Thursday to release more information about the local COVID-19 response, including the Eau Claire County case. Health Department Director Lieske Giese said that, despite the diagnosis, there are no additional steps that local people should take. She advised that those who feel sick should continue to stay home and that everyone should continue to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and avoid mass gatherings. Below is a video of the media briefing:

 Here’s the full media release:

Eau Claire, WI – March 19, 2020 9:35 AM – Today the Eau Claire City-County Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed the first case of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Eau Claire County. This was an individual who traveled outside of Wisconsin and likely had exposure in another state. We understand that they have remained at home self-quarantined since that travel. We are working with the individual to identify anyone who may have had close contact with the person and quarantining those individuals for the next 14 days. We are following CDC and State Health Department directions. The health and safety of all residents in our community is our primary goal.

The Eau Claire City-County Health Department and multiple community partners continue to follow the COVID-19 situation as it develops. As of March 18th, there were 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. Here is what the public needs to know:

• As the Health Department learns of any individuals who have been in contact with a person who is sick with COVID-19, we are contacting those individuals to stay at home and monitor their health.

• When people have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19, they are asked to stay at home for 2 weeks to monitor for symptoms. This is called quarantine. This does not mean that these people are ill. It helps to prevent the possibility of spread by limiting the number of people they are in contact with in case they get sick.

Everyone can help prevent the spread of illness in our community with a few simple, but effective action

• Practice good social distancing:

- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay home if you are feeling sick, and don’t get together in groups larger than 10 people.

- Limit in-person contact and maintain distance of 6 feet between others and you.

• Practice good personal hygiene:

- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or blowing your nose

- Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, then wash your hands. o Use hand sanitizer if you do not have soap and water readily available. o Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Be prepared with only a 2 week supply of food and medicine. This is only in case you were to be notified that you came in contact with a positive case and needed to self- quarantine.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, remotes, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

• Limit non-essential travel.

• Call your heath care provider if you have any questions about your health.

Please know that the health and safety of all community members remains our highest priority.

You can stay up to date with the latest information on the Health Department website coronavirus.echealthdepartment.org, Facebook, or Twitter. If you have questions, email us at echealth@co.eau-claire.wi.us, or call the COVID-19 phone line at 715-839-4725.


Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.