A doctor at a Wisconsin children’s hospital has tested positive for coronavirus, reportedly prompting tests of 200 health care workers and patients.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa said on Wednesday that a doctor had tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling outside the state before restrictions were in place. The doctor was quarantined at home and had mild symptoms.
“We have seen this happen at health care organizations across the nation, and we knew it was only a matter of time before we had a confirmed case on our team,” the hospital said in a statement.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the hospital was testing 10 patients and about 190 health care workers, but a national shortage of tests was leaving out some of those who may have been exposed to the doctor, including the father of a teenage girl with leukemia who is being isolated with his daughter.
Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday issued an order barring child care settings from having more than 10 staffers and 50 children present at the same time. The restrictions were scheduled to take effect on Thursday at 8 a.m. and to remain in place indefinitely.
Evers has also ordered a statewide ban on all gatherings of more than 10 people and closed all bars and restaurants except for delivery and pickup orders. Some bars ignored the order, while others were laying off employees in anticipation of the massive drop in business.
People who violate the order could risk up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, but enforcement is up to local law enforcement agencies, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement.
The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered schools, colleges, universities, bars, restaurants and other businesses throughout the state, just as it has across the country. Health officials are urging people to stay at home and to avoid contact with others in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported on Tuesday that 72 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in 11 counties. There was community spread in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties, one factor that was expected to continue to drive the numbers even higher.
“More importantly, it would result in increased risk to the health and lives not only of those who violate the order but also of their family members, their friends, and their communities," Kaul said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.