Coronavirus Outbreak

For up-to-date information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) website or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.  
2-1-1 is available to assist the general public with questions related to COVID-19. You can dial 2-1-1 or visit their website for more information. 

Questions? Call the Washburn County Health Department at 715-635-4400 

Click here for COVID-19 Vaccine Information
The new CDC mask guidance for vaccinated individuals is a recommendation based on the latest science. Masks are REQUIRED for anyone using public transportation in the U.S. Businesses, employers, health facilities, and schools may all mandate masking within their facilities. Unvaccinated individuals should mask whenever in public.
Vaccination remains our best strategy for combatting COVID-19. The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing hospitalization and death. They also work very well to prevent infection once fully vaccinated. The Delta variant is 200 times more infectious than the previously circulating strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Vaccinated individuals getting sick is rare BUT if they are infected, they can spread it to others - unlike previous variants.
Based on the high rates of unvaccinated individuals, in combination with how infectious the Delta variant is, use of masks by vaccinated individuals in addition to unvaccinated individuals may help reduce some of the spread of the virus. 

Health Department Advisories and Safety Recommendations:
WCHD COVID-19 Advisory #1: Advisory to Seasonal and Second Homeowners - 03/23/2020 (replaced by Advisory #2)
WCHD COVID-19 Advisory #2: "Safe Summer" Travel Advisory - 05/15/2020
WCHD COVID-19 Advisory #3: "Safe Practices" - 05/15/2020
WCHD COVID-19: Situation Report - 06/15/2020
WCHD COVID-19 Advisory #4: Face Coverings - 07/16/2020
Guidance for Cloth Face Coverings - recommended for use by the general public and businesses
Governor Evers' Executive Order #105: Declaring a State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency - issued 02/04/2021
Governor Evers' Emergency Order #1: Face Coverings 
- effective through 04/05/2021
Emergency Order #1: Face Coverings Frequently Asked Questions 
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's "Safe Reopening" guidance for businesses
COVID-19 Screening Checklist for Parents - for screening children each day prior to sending them to school
COVID-19 Resources for Parents and Guardians - Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Staying Safe in Your Community - Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Daily Activities and Going Out - CDC
Guidance for Small Gatherings - CDC **note: CDC defines small gatherings as informal gatherings with family and friends you regularly socialize with
Guidance for Large Gatherings - CDC **note: CDC defines large gatherings as a gathering with multiple people from multiple households present in a private or public space. Examples include conferences, trade shows, sporting events, festivals, concerts, or large weddings and parties.

RESOURCES FOR COUNTY RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES: Find information on county announcements, resources for families (including child care and WIC program updates), resources for mental health, resources for businesses and non-profits, and more.

Data Links:
DHS COVID-19 Wisconsin Summary Data
DHS COVID-19 County Data
DHS COVID-19 Activity Level Map 
DHS COVID-19 Vaccine Data

DHS COVID-19 Understanding the Data 
CDC COVID Data Tracker
Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Global Map 
Harvard Global Health Institute: Key Metrics for COVID Supression

World Health Organization COVID-19 Dashboard 

Washburn County Data:
View the Washburn County data update by clicking here 
**updated Mondays
Breakthrough Case Information - 08/25/2021

News Releases
 - 08/02/2021
Last Washburn County Public COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Friday 4/30
- 04/28/2021
COVID-19 Variant B1.1.7 Identified in Washburn County
- 03/31/2021
Travel During COVID-19
- 03/26/2021
Washburn County Providers Opening Clinics to All Eligible Groups
- 03/18/2021
Washburn County Vaccinating Healthcare Entities Provide Updates Regarding Eligibility
- 03/11/2021

Working Together Before Moving Forward-Prioritizing 65 and Older Vaccinations
- 02/24/2021
Washburn County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Rescheduled - 02/18/2021
Washburn County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics Moving Forward
- 02/03/2021
DHS Announces Groups Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Tentatively Beginning March 1
- 01/26/2021
Washburn County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics
 - 01/24/2021
COVID-19 Vaccination for Adults 65 and Older
- 01/19/2021
DHS and Laboratory Partners Identify Variant Strain B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2 in Wisconsin
- 01/13/2021

Potential Exposure at Washburn County Business
- 12/08/2020
COVID-19: Three Additional Deaths in Washburn County
 - 12/01/2020
Stay Home, Stay Safe - Celebrating Holidays as COVID-19 Cases Surge
- 11/23/2020
COVID-19: Second COVID-19 Death Confirmed in Washburn County
Potential Exposure at Washburn County Business
- 09/28/2020
COVID-19: First COVID-19 Death Confirmed in Washburn County
- 09/11/2020
Herd Immunity and the Dangers of COVID Parties
- 08/14/2020
COVID-19: Face Coverings and Slowing the Spread
- 08/03/2020
COVID-19: Spike in Cases among Washburn County Teenagers - 08/02/2020
COVID-19: Four New Cases Confirmed - 07/27/2020
COVID-19: Contact Tracing Requires Cooperation - 07/20/2020
COVID-19: Additional Confirmed Cases - 07/07/2020

Bayfield County COVID Case at Ashland, WI Hockey Tournament on June 27/28
- 07/06/2020
AG Kaul Warns of, Outlines How to Indentify Contact Tracing Scammers
- 06/22/2020
COVID-19: Fourth Confirmed Case in Washburn County – Asymptomatic Individual - 06/18/2020
COVID-19: Third Confirmed Case – No Risk to Washburn County Residents - 06/08/2020

COVID-19 Prevention and Testing - 05/28/2020
COVID-19: Second Confirmed Case in Washburn County - 05/20/2020
After Safer At Home: Washburn County Encourages Residents and Businesses to Continue Safe Practices - 05/14/2020
WI National Guard Assisted Drive-up Testing Event Available for Washburn County Residents - 05/01/2020
Washburn County Increases COVID-19 Testing Capacity - 04/28/2020
First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Washburn County - 04/13/2020
Guidance for Washburn County Residents on CDC Cloth Face Covering Recommendations - 04/04/2020
Governor Evers Announces Resilient Wisconsin - 04/03/2020
Washburn County Health Department: Answering COVID-19 Questions - 03/26/2020
Washburn County Remains Open with Limited Access - 03/24/2020
Protecting Your Mental Health During COVID-19 - 03/20/2020
Update on Services in Washburn County - 03/20/2020
Safety Precautions for Staff and Washburn County Residents Due to COVID-19 - 03/19/2020
Washburn County Issues Declaration Regarding COVID-19 - 03/18/2020
Ongoing Monitoring of COVID-19 - 03/10/2020

Wisconsin Exposure Notification App (updated 12/23/2020)

WI Exposure Notification is a smartphone app that uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology(link is external) to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. Once you activate the app, your phone exchanges anonymous signals with other phones that are near it for at least 15 minutes. If somebody who has the app tests positive for COVID-19, they can then send an alert using the app to those other phones. This will allow people who are close contacts to quickly get the care they need and avoid exposing others to the virus.

The WI Exposure Notification app is available to download for free from the Google Play Store or enable in Settings on your iPhone. The more people who use the app, the faster we can stop the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

More information is available on the WI DHS website.

If you are sick... (updated 5/14/2021)

  • If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19 stay in isolation until:
    • at least 10 DAYS have passed since symptoms first appeared 
    • AND you have been free of fever (without use of fever reducing medications), productive cough, and other symptoms of respiratory infection for 1 DAY (24 hours) 
    • NOTE: DHS options to shorten quarantine for contacts DO NOT apply to individuals who have positive test results
    • See DHS guidance on what to do if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19
    • trouble breathing
    • persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • new confusion or inability to arouse (wake) a person
    • bluish lips or face
    • Note: this list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning
  • Notify your close contacts that you have tested positive and give them instructions to self-quarantine and self-monitor for 14 days after their last contact with you. NOTE: WCHD advises 14 day quarantine for all close contacts. Employers may decide to use shortened quarantine options (below on same page) if it is their policy. 
  • Tips on managing respiratory symptoms at home
  • CDC guidance on what to do if you are sick

Testing for COVID-19 (updated 9/23/2021)

  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or anyone who believes they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 is encouraged to seek testing
    • You must call for testing prior to visiting the clinic you are seeking testing at.
    • You will not be tested without orders from a provider.
    • DO NOT show up to a clinic or ER without calling the facility prior to your arrival.
    • Individuals are encouraged to call their Primary Care Provider to be tested. 
  • Northlakes Community Clinic - Minong: 715-466-2201 **only testing current patients
    Indianhead Medical Center/Shell Lake Clinic: 715-468-2711 **open to current patients and/or Washburn County residents only
    Essentia Health: Start an online screening visit through Essentia Health
    Marshfield Clinic (any location): 844-342-6276 **only testing current patients
    Prevea Rice Lake: Click to visit their website and set up an appointment
    Additional information on testing options and community-based testing sites available on the DHS website **open to all members of the community, free of charge. Nearby locations in Rice Lake and Hayward.
  • The Minnesota Department of Health has opened up the DECC (Duluth) saliva testing site to Wisconsin residents. To be tested at this location, click to schedule an appointment.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has partnered with Vault Medical Services to make available at-home COVID-19 saliva testing collection kits to all Wisconsin residents, with or without symptoms, at no cost. You can order a collection kit online and have it shipped to your home (PO boxes not allowed). The kit will include detailed instructions on how to collect the saliva, whivh includes a video call with a testing supervisor through Vault Medical Services, and ship it back via UPS dropbox to the lab for processing. Click for FAQ.
  • If you have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results, you must isolate at home until you receive your results. See the DHS Testing: Next Steps and Results handout for what to do once you've been tested. 
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have been denied testing, call the Health Department at 715-635-4400

If you are a contact of someone with COVID-19: (updated 5/14/2021)

  • Health departments in Wisconsin may be unable to establish communication with all close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases. Positive cases are being instructed to notify their close contacts. 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 at 715-635-4400 for specific contact-related questions. 
  • Follow guidance from DHS on what to do if you have had contact with someone who was diagnosed.
  • 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. Click to view the shortened quarantine options.
    • The Washburn County Health Department advises 14-day quarantine for all close contacts. Employers and schools may decide to utilize the shortened quarantine options. They may not utilize the shortened quarantine options if social distancing and mask use cannot be maintained. 
  • Guidance for individuals who have already had COVID-19

Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals (updated 11/23/2021)

  • To be considered fully vaccinated, the following conditions must be met:
    • you have received two doses for Moderna and Pfizer OR one dose for Johnson&Johnson AND 
    • it has been two or more weeks since getting your final dose
  • Exposure to COVID-19 
    • Vaccinated individuals with an exposure to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if ALL of the following conditions are met:
      • They are fully vaccinated
      • Contact occurred after 2 weeks (14 days) since the second dose in a two dose series or since the first dose in a one dose series 
      • They have remained symptom-free since the current COVID-19 exposure
    • Vaccinated individuals with an exposure to COVID-19 should still:
      • Monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after the last date of exposure
      • Get tested and isolate pending results if symptoms develop
      • Wear a mask if in public settings during the 14 days after exposure
    • This guidance does not apply to patients receiving inpatient care in a healthcare setting or residents of long-term care facilities. 
    • Vaccinated indivuals who do not develop symptoms but are seeking testing after exposure should be tested days 5-7 after last contact with the positive case. 
  • Fully vaccinated individuals must following masking guidelines at all times in the following settings:  
    • Health care settings
    • K-12 Schools
    • Places where masks are required by local, tribal or territorial laws, rules, and regulations. This includes businesses and workplaces with masking policies in place
    • Residents and employees of correctional and detention facilities and homeless shelters
    • Travelers on all planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transporation hubs such as airports and stations
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should mask in counties with "substantial" or "high" levels of community transmission. View the CDC COVID Data tracker to determine where you should be masking. Find the full CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals here
  • Fully vaccinated individuals may resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Fully vaccinated individuals may refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States

Updates from Our Local Providers
Essentia Health - Spooner Clinic
Hayward Area Memorial Hospital
Northlakes Community Clinic
Marshfield Clinic
Mayo Clinic Health System 
Prevea Rice Lake
Spooner Health
Washburn County WIC (women, infants, and children)
Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 Screening Tool

Frequently Asked Questions (updated 08/02/2021)

Why might Washburn County Health Department guidance be different than CDC guidance? 

  • The Washburn County Health Department is obligated by Wisconsin Law [Statute 252.03(3)] 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. 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).
  • You must isolate at home until you receive your test results. 
  • 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 use nasopharyngeal, nasal, or throat swabs in the majority of tests, with some tests using salvia. Samples must be analyzed in a reference lab. Molecular tests can take anywhere from a day (in some locations) to a week (depending on the capacity of the reference lab) 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 molectular 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 using nasal or nasopharyngeal swabs, 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 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

How are COVID-19 deaths reported?

  • Cases are classified using the national case definition established by CDC and the CSTE (Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists). 
  • 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. 
  • Probable Deaths: deaths among probable cases of COVID-19 that meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • test positive using an antigen test method
    • have symptoms of COVID-19 AND known exposure to COVID-19, meeting the national case definition of a probable case (linked above)
    • COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is listed on the death certificate
  • 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 or a Probable death.

Why did masking guidance for fully vaccinated individuals change?

  • Previous CDC guidance allowing fully vaccinated individuals to resume all normal activites without the use of masks was based on evidence from previously circulating strans of the COVID-19 virus that showed lower risk of transmission to others by a vaccinated individual if they contracted the virus. 
  • The Delta variant is now the main circulating variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Delta is known to be significanly more infectious than previously circulating variants and has a substantially higher viral load. 
  • While vaccinated individuals are less likely to contract the virus and get sick, evidence suggests that once infected they may be able to spread it to others at a similar rate as unvaccinated individuals spread it. Further research is being conducted to confirm this.

What is "Social Distancing" and why should I do it?

  • Social 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.
  • Social 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
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should refer to the guidance above on this page

If I wear a cloth face covering (homemade mask, scarf, bandana, etc.) in public, do I still need to practice social distancing?

  • YES! Social 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. Social 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.
  • Tips for making your earloop mask fit tighter
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should refer to the guidance above on this page

Should I cancel my travel plans?

  • Any interactions with non-household members carry a risk of exposure to COVID-19, whether you travel elsewhere or mingle within our community. You should monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 daily and seek testing if you develop any. 
  • Check travel recommendations from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  • Check CDC's recommendations regarding travel during COVID-19 and current CDC travel health notices.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals should refer to the guidance above on this page

Are there resources to support my Mental Health? 

Questions about schools: Access specific school district information and announcements on COVID-19: Shell Lake, Spooner, Northwood, Birchwood