COVID-19 : Coronavirus FAQs

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified.  There are many common coronaviruses that circulate among humans and cause mild illnesses like the common cold.


What is the source of COVID-19?

It is suspected that an animal coronavirus originating in bats emerged, infected people, and is now being spread person to person.  The outbreak originated in Wuhan, China and has a link to seafood and live animal markets.


How is COVID-19 being spread?

Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. There are also areas of “community spread” where people have become infected when it is not known how or where they became infected. The current understanding is that COVID-19 is spread by droplets expelled when a person coughs or sneezes, that are then inhaled by another person.  COVID-19 can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching one’s own mouth, nose or eyes.


What are some ways I can protect myself and others?

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Perform diligent hand hygiene especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Adopt “social distancing” practices. This means avoiding large crowds, not hand shaking, maintaining a distance of about 6 feet, etc. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported by patients with COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and difficulty breathing.  This illness can progress to a severe pneumonia.


Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19?

Information based on COVID-19 spread in China shows that some people are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 including older adults, and people who have chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.  The CDC advises that individuals who are high risk should take every day precautions to keep space between themselves and others, keep away from other who are sick, wash hands, avoid crowds and avoid non-essential travel. Those at high risk should strongly consider staying home as much as possible until the pandemic resolves in the United States.


Who should be tested for COVID-19?

Individuals should contact their primary healthcare professional if they have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.  The healthcare professional will determine if testing for COVID-19 is indicated.  Individuals can also contact their local public health department for guidance at the numbers provided below.


Brown County, WI920-448-6400

Door County, WI920-746-2234

Manitowoc County, WI920-683-4155

Marinette County, WI715-732-7670

Oconto County, WI920-832-5100

Outagamie County, WI920-832-5100

Winnebago County, WI920-232-3000

Calumet County, WI920-849-1432

Delta County, MI906-786-4111

Menominee County, MI906-863-4451


Can a person test negative and later test positive for COVID-19?

A negative result means that the virus that causes COVID-19 was not found in the person’s sample.  In the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected.


If the sample was collected while a person had symptoms, a negative result likely means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness.


When can individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 be released from isolation?

Current CDC guidance on when an infected individual can be released from isolation includes meeting all of the following requirements:

  • For patients undergoing repeat COVID-19 testing:
    • The patient has tested negative on at least 2 consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart AND
    • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever reducing medications AND
    • The patient has improvement in symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat)
  • For patients not undergoing repeat COVID-19 testing:
    • The patient has been fever free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medications AND
    • The patient has improvement in symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) AND
    • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared

How many people in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with COVID-19?

In Wisconsin there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19. As the number of cases is rapidly changing, please check the following webpage to see the most up to date information:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Outbreaks in Wisconsin


What countries are currently under travel advisories due to COVID-19?

At this time the CDC has issued a Level 3 travel alert for all international and cruise ship travel. To see the CDC’s most up to date information, check the following webpage:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Coronavirus Travel Information


What are people who have traveled from areas with ongoing spread of COVID-19 being told to do?

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is working with state and local public health departments to implement after-travel health precautions. Depending on travel history, some individuals are being asked to stay home and avoid contact with others for 14 days from the time they left the area and to self-monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, individuals have been informed to call the provider’s office or emergency department before presenting for medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.


If I have close contact with someone who is under self-quarantine due to their travel or exposure history, what do I need to do?

The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of someone for a prolonged period of time.  Close contact can occur while living with, caring for, or visiting someone.


If the person under quarantine is symptomatic, you should self-quarantine per the health department’s direction.


If the person under quarantine is asymptomatic and you are also asymptomatic, no further actions are needed unless the person under quarantine becomes symptomatic.


If the person under quarantine is asymptomatic and you become symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath), contact your healthcare professional or your local health department to report your symptoms and exposure history and follow their guidance and recommendations.


If you have had close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, your physician or your local health department can provide further direction.


What is BayCare Clinic doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation. BayCare Clinic is actively monitoring CDC’s and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ recommendations surrounding COVID-19. In response to these recommendations, BayCare Clinic has developed pathways to help triage and manage patients who may call the clinics or present to the clinics with respiratory illness and fever.

For your safety and the safety of others, we may postpone your appointment or procedure, if your visit is non-urgent.


What are some reputable sites where I can find more information?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Home Page


Wisconsin Department of Health Services: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Home Page



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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.