Did you have contact in the last couple weeks with someone who was on an Egyptian river cruise?

   The Fond du Lac County Health Department knows that many people have — and believes that some of those individuals likely now are carriers of COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus.

   Thus far, two individuals in Fond du Lac County have tested positive for the virus that’s responsible for a global pandemic.

   One of those two individuals was on an Egyptian river cruise, and returned to the area March 1.

   “We — the Fond du Lac County Health Department as well as the state of Wisconsin — believe ... the 22 individuals on the Egyptian river cruise are very high risk, [so] their chance of spreading their illness over the time when they were here in Fond du Lac and they weren’t isolated is very high. We would like to know of anybody that has had contact with those individuals,” said Kim Mueller, health officer for the Fond du Lac County Health Department. “... I bet some of those tests [for people on that cruise] are going to come back positive.”

   Anyone who returned from that cruise has since been put into isolation, but that didn’t occur until long after they returned, meaning many people likely had contact with them and could have contracted COVID-19.

   For instance, individuals who were on the cruise happened to attend a large gathering over this past weekend.

   “There was a couple of large events over this last weekend where we believe there were two or three river cruise travelers at these events,” Mueller said. “I don’t believe they had symptoms, but ... whoever they were directly connected to at that event would have an increase in exposure.”

   The county health department now believes that this could have been an opportunity to socially transfer the Coronavirus to many others.

   It’s in the process of doing “contact tracing,” which is an effort to see exactly with whom a COVID-19 carrier has had contact since contracting the virus.

   That’s why the department is seeking anyone who believes they had contact with individuals who were on that cruise.

   “All those folks that are being tested as we speak, we do believe some of those individuals are definitely going to be testing positive,” Mueller said. “... If somebody is feeling ill and they believe that they have COVID-19 — the common symptoms of COVID-19 would be fever, cough, shortness of breath — if they feel that they have those symptoms and they feel they’ve had contact with an individual, and more specifically individuals who were on an Egyptian river cruise, we would like those individuals to call [the hotline]."

   That hotline can be reached at 844-225-0147 and will be open today until about 5 p.m., with hours that could vary in the future depending on need.

   Calls, Mueller requested, should be restricted to those who believe they have contracted COVID-19.

   “We aren’t really recommending individuals to call [that number] for information” about the virus, she said. “That’s more if you feel you’ve had some contact with an individual with COVID-19 and you’re experiencing symptoms, it would be important for us to get your information.”