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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): What you need to know

Concerned that you have COVID-19 symptoms? Have questions? Click here to use our online screening tool. 

*Screening tool is unavailable in Internet Explorer; please use Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple Safari. 

COVID-19 is a dangerous and highly contagious disease. The most common symptoms are fever and cough. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but it causes serious illness in about 20%. The overall risk of dying appears to be about 1% to 2%. Adults over age 65 and people with serious medical conditions have the highest risk of severe illness or death. The risk of death also is increased for people 50-64 years old, and even younger adults can develop severe illness that requires intensive care. There is no cure or vaccine, although a new antiviral drug (remdesivir) is available for emergency use in the sickest patients. The only way to stay safe from COVID-19 is to avoid getting infected.

Some people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, but they can still spread the virus to others by talking, coughing or sneezing. The risk is highest when people are indoors and standing close (within 6 feet) of each other. The risk is especially high with prolonged contact in households, nursing homes, large workplaces, and other closed indoor spaces. You can protect yourself and your family by staying at home. If you must leave home, keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people. CDC recommends wearing a cloth facemask (not a medical facemask) in public places such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

Frequent handwashing is important. The virus can spread by touching contaminated objects and surfaces such as door handles, cups, eating utensils and towels. Clean and sanitize objects and surfaces that are routinely touched. 

Contact your health care provider if you develop fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches or headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nasal congestion or GY symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Always call your health care provider before coming to the clinic or hospital, except in an emergency. 

You can use our online screening tool if you have questions or need advice. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, stay in a separate bedroom if possible and away from household members. Follow these CDC recommendations if you are sick or caring for someone who is sick.

We are taking extraordinary steps to be ready for a large increase in COVID-19 cases. Check this page frequently for the latest updates.  

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Minnesota Department of Health, Johns Hopkins, Marshfield Clinic Health System

Current Situation and Recommendations

  • Over 4.8 million COVID-19 cases and over 157,000 deaths have been reported in the US. In Wisconsin there have been over 57,000 cases and 978 deaths. The rate of COVID-19 is highest in southeastern Wisconsin and Brown County. Social distancing now helps prevent a surge of COVID-19 cases in a short time that can overwhelm hospitals and intensive care units.

  • The virus spreads easily from person-to-person, similar to the flu virus. COVID-19 commonly causes fever and cough, and it may also cause shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, and headaches. Some people develop loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion or running nose, or GI symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Symptoms usually start about 4-5 days after infection, but it may take up to 14 days.

  • Social distancing is important to slow the spread of COVID-19. Stay at home and stay away from other people. Wear a cloth facemask if you must leave home for groceries or essential services. Wash your hands often, use a tissue for coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your face. Use disinfectants to clean surfaces that are touched by different people.

  • Marshfield Clinic Health System offers COVID-19 testing for populations based on recommendations for Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Click here for more information.

  • Call your medical provider if you need care for fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nasal congestion, or GI symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal painIt is important to call before coming in (except in an emergency). 

  • For the latest public health recommendations from CDC, click here. If you are an older adult, review this CDC checklist to be prepared.

Get answers to common questions about COVID-19 

Try our COVID-19 symptom checker

Graphic of COVID-19 Chatbot

If you feel you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have any questions, please use our online screening tool. You can check your symptoms and learn more about next steps.


Start Screening


Note: Our screening tool is currently unavailable in Internet Explorer; please use Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple Safari. Please also turn off pop-up blockers.


You may also call our COVID-19 Helpline, open 24/7, at 877-998-0880.


Marshfield Clinic Health System Updates

Steps we are taking to keep our patients safe

COVID-19 patient testing

Temporary patient and visitor restriction information

Temporary location changes to hours

Patient and visitor masking policy

Steps we are taking to keep our employees safe

Patient health screening update

Changes to pharmacy services

Changes to optical shop hours

Changes to Family Health Centers

COVID-19 How you can help

COVID-19 transportation help

Coping resources during COVID-19

Business Health Solutions changes


News Updates

Marshfield Clinic Health System Research Institue receives $22.5 million to be CDC Reference Lab for COVID-19 Research

Marshfield Clinic Health System resumes non-urgent procedures at Marshfield, Eau Claire hospitals

COVID-19 Community Support Fund: $400,000 awarded to Wisconsin organizations

A local health system is implementing ‘telehealth’ for daily routine exams


For additional tips, info and updates on COVID-19, visit our Shine365 blog.


MCHS Employees: Click here to access the online symptom tracker.

MCHS Vendors: Click here to access the online symptom tracker.


CDC Resources

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Microsite

Coronavirus Symptoms PDF

Stigma Related to COVID-19


Additional Resources

WI DHS Outbreaks in Wisconsin

MCHS Symptom Log

Advance Care Planning information

10 things you can do to manage your health at home