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Health officials report first Dane County COVID-19 death

Health officials report first Dane County COVID-19 death

COVID-19 coronavirus

Electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

A Dane County resident in their late 70s has died from COVID-19, Public Health Madison & Dane County reported Wednesday.

The individual is at least the sixth person in Wisconsin to pass away due to conditions stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic. The first deaths in the state were announced last week Thursday by Gov. Tony Evers. 

“We are saddened by the loss of one of our community members, and we extend our sympathies to their loved ones,” said Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County.  

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The death was announced the same day that Evers’ “safer at home” order went into effect, shuttering “non-essential” businesses in Wisconsin while still allowing hospitals, clinics, grocers, and other establishments to operate.

Health officials warned Tuesday that without the state’s new directive, up to 1,500 Wisconsin residents could die and more than 20,000 be hospitalized

“We strongly encourage community members to stay home unless activities are essential. In doing so, you’re not only helping protect yourself, but also our family, friends, neighbors, and fellow community members,” Heinrich said. 

To date, Dane County has seen 72 positive cases of COVID-19, according to figures from the state Department of Health Services, though one individual has since recovered. Those figures, updated Tuesday, showed 457 positive cases across Wisconsin and 8,237 negatives. 

“COVID-19 can cause serious health complications and death, especially among older adults and people with chronic health conditions, that’s why it’s important that we all work together to prevent the spread of illness,” Heinrich said in the statement. 

For more information on what the public health department is recommending, visit its coronavirus webpage.

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Briana Reilly covers state government and politics for the Cap Times. She joined the staff in 2019, after working at WisPolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter at @briana_reilly.

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