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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. 


Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring throughout Wisconsin. Governor Evers has issued a ‘stay-at-home’ order that requires people to mostly stay at home except for essential travel like buying groceries, picking up medicine, and caring for others. Schools are closed statewide, and all bars and restaurants are closed with limited exceptions. This intense social distancing is needed now to prevent many COVID-19 infections and save lives in the coming weeks and months.

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 is also increased for people 50-64 years old, and even younger adults can develop severe illness that requires intensive care. There is no treatment or vaccine. The only way to stay safe from COVID-19 is to avoid getting infected. 

Some people 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. 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 high fever, shortness of breath, or weakness. 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.

Marshfield Clinic Health System is taking extraordinary steps to be ready for a large increase in COVID-19 cases. Check this page frequently for the latest updates.  

Last updated: April 7, 2020

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 374,000 COVID-19 cases and 12,000 deaths have been reported in the US. The true number of cases is certainly much larger. The number of cases is expected to double every week without control measures, but social distancing now will reduce the number of cases in the coming weeks. If people stay apart now, COVID-19 will infect fewer people and cases will be spread out over a longer time (flattening the curve). This 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, sore throat, muscle aches, and feeling tired. Some people develop loss of taste or smell with COVID-19. Symptoms usually start about 4-5 days after infection, but it may take up to 14 days.

  • Intense 'social distancing' is important now to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the coming weeks and save lives. 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.

  • Availability of COVID-19 lab testing is increasing, but laboratories still do not have the capacity to test everyone with COVID-19 symptoms. Marshfield Clinic offers clinical testing, and patients who are hospitalized are the highest priority. Due to the limited supply of tests, most people with mild respiratory illness cannot be tested.

  • Call your medical provider if you need care for cough, fever, or shortness of breath. It is important to call before coming in (except in an emergency). Contact your provider right away if you have high fever, shortness of breath, or weakness.

  • 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 



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

Temporary patient and visitor restriction information

Temporary location changes to hours

Employee health and safety information

Information for high risk patients

Patient health screening update

Postponement of certain, non-urgent appointments

Changes to pharmacy services

Changes to optical shop hours

Family Health Centers temporary closure

COVID-19 How you can help

Business Health Solutions changes


News Updates

Marshfield Clinic Health System launches in-house testing for COVID-19

Hundreds respond to Marshfield Clinic's request to the community for sewn face masks

Gov. Tony Evers to order Wisconsinites to stay at home, will close non-essential businesses

A letter to the community: Help our health care staff be available to care for you


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

10 things you can do to manage your health at home