As of 4 p.m. Friday, Racine County has four confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
At least two of those cases are in the City of Racine. The municipalities where the other two cases were confirmed, including the newest case which was confirmed on Friday, has not been released.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that the statewide count of confirmed cases was 206, but it did not include Racine County's fourth case or Kenosha County's fifth case in its count.
Walworth County also has three confirmed cases.
On Thursday, there were 155 confirmed cases in the state.
There are more than 15,200 cases confirmed in the U.S.
Three people are now dead in Wisconsin from the novel coronavirus. Gov. Tony Evers confirmed the first two deaths, a man in his 90s from Ozaukee County and a man in his 50s from Fond du Lac County, Thursday night. The third death, a 66-year-old man in Milwaukee, was reported Friday afternoon.
The Milwaukee man who died passed away after 7 p.m. Thursday.
"Unfortunately this number (of deaths) is expected to rise and things will get worse before they get better," Evers said Friday afternoon. "Our hearts go out to the families and communities mourning these loved ones."
Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm added, "We do expect the situation to worsen ... These deaths won't be the only deaths. There will be more."
Evers continued: "I want to recognize the hard work and courage of those caring for the patients with COVID-19, and all those on the frontline in the fight against this outbreak ... There are folks working around the clock to keep us all safe, our health care workers, our first responders, farmers, manufacturers, grocery store employees; and they can't stay at home.
"So, please, only leave your home if it is absolutely necessary."
At least two of Racine County's COVID-19 confirmed cases, and most of Kenosha County's cases, were the result of community spread — meaning they caught the virus locally, not from traveling to a "high-risk area" or having confirmed contact with someone else who was known to have the virus.
On Thursday Dottie-Kay Bowersox, public health administrator for the City of Racine, said in a statement: “We want to determine exposure routes and identify contacts who will need to be notified, quarantined and monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 ... It is important to note that these individuals are not linked with any school, child care or long-term care facility.”
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services updates the state's total confirmed cases, with a county-by-county tally, every day at around 2 p.m.
The numbers and distancing
Public health experts have advised that the quickly rising numbers don't necessarily mean the virus is spreading that much faster. The rising numbers are at least in part the result of more people being tested and labs around the state devoting more resources to conducting tests for COVID-19.
The virus is still believed to be spreading rapidly, however. Social distancing, which includes avoiding groups of people as much as possible and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others as much as possible, is still advised to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Kim Miller, Fond du Lac County's health officer, has said: "If you feel sick, stay home from work. Wash your hands frequently ... Avoid all unnecessary travel."
In a release Friday afternoon, Racine County gave the following reminders:
- There is a prohibition, by state order, of more than 10 people with —few exceptions
- Practice social distancing
- Stay home when you are sick
- Wash your hands often
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily