A 53-year-old Rock County resident died from COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, about two weeks after first showing symptoms, county health officials said Tuesday.
It is the first reported death from the disease in the county, according to a news release from the Rock County Public Health Department.
The resident had no known contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and had not traveled internationally. The person had traveled to Milwaukee 10 days before showing symptoms of the disease, according to the release.
Public Health Officer Marie-Noel Sandoval said the person died in Rock County, but she is unsure where within the county the person died or whether the person was hospitalized.
The individual was known to the health department as a confirmed case and had been in quarantine. The person started showing symptoms on about March 18, Sandoval said.
The health department will be working with family members to make sure they are quarantining and monitoring for symptoms, Sandoval said.
The health department has not publicly shared whether anybody in Rock County has been hospitalized with the disease.
It is difficult to keep up with details on hospitalizations, Sandoval said.
People might go to the hospital and be released before test results are confirmed, Sandoval said.
There are 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rock County and 1,351 confirmed cases statewide. The actual number of cases is much higher, officials say.
At least 25 people have died statewide because of the disease. That number does not include the Rock County death, according to the release.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce that one of Rock County’s citizens has passed away from COVID-19,” Sandoval said in the release.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones. We are facing extraordinary circumstances and continue to urge everyone that this virus is real, it is deadly, and we must continue to maintain social distancing and adhere to the Safer At Home Order.”
State officials have said for every person who tests positive for the disease, there are likely 10 more people infected with mild symptoms who will not be tested.
That number is probably conservative, Sandoval said.
The virus that causes the disease is likely being spread in Rock County by people who do not know they are infected, according to the release.
“Our only weapon for this virus is to social distance. That’s it,” Sandoval said. “If we can do that, we may come out a little better on this whole ordeal.”
Health officials across the country have warned that people over the age of 60 and people with underlying health conditions are most likely to be negatively impacted by the disease.
Sandoval did not answer whether the 53-year-old Rock County resident had other health conditions.
“I don’t think there is any particular norm with this because it is new,” Sandoval said. “... Everyone has equal opportunity to not do so well.”