Four people connected to Ashland High School have tested positive for COVID-19, causing the county public health department to investigate.

Of the people who tested positive, only one student and one staff member "were present within the school," according to a news release. Nine staff members and more than 20 students are under quarantine as a precaution.

The health department is working with the school district on contact tracing, said Elizabeth Szot, Ashland County health officer, in the news release.

Because of the number of staff members on quarantine and the limited availability of substitute teachers, the school will move to virtual only classes on Wednesday, Sept. 23. District leaders tentatively plan to resume in person classes on Thursday, Oct. 8, the news release said.

"We want to assure the community, students and staff of the Ashland School District and their family members that extra steps are being taken to protect students and staff to minimize the spread of COVID-19," Szot said.

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The health department recommends parents, students and community members limit nonessential trips into the community; stay home if they feel sick; watch for symptoms of COVID-19; seek testing from a provider if COVID-19 symptoms occur; maintain social distance of at least 6 feet from anyone not part of their household; and frequently wash their hands and cover coughs and sneezes.

News of the investigation in Ashland County comes as 45 additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in Northwestern Wisconsin on Tuesday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Burnett County reported 16 new cases, followed by Ashland County with eight, Taylor County with five and Price County with four. Bayfield and Douglas counties recorded three new cases each; Rusk and Washburn counties added two new cases each; and Iron and Sawyer counties reported one new case each.

They were among 1,672 cases reported throughout the state Tuesday, DHS said, bringing the total to 104,170. Of the tests reported, 13.3% were positive. The 7-day average for positive tests was 16.7%.

Seven additional people died, putting the overall number of deaths in the state at 1,251, DHS said. Overall, 1% of cases have resulted in death, according to DHS data.

The number of negative tests in the state was 1,348,492, an increase of 10,865 from the day before.

An additional 73 people were hospitalized because of the virus Tuesday, DHS reported. There are currently 433 Wisconsinites hospitalized because of the virus. Overall, 6% of Wisconsinites who contracted the virus have been hospitalized. DHS has said it doesn't know the hospitalization history for 36% of people who tested positive.

Tuesday's report showed that 85% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered. That means about 14%, or 14,770 cases, are active in the state.

Here's a breakdown of the situation in the 10-county region:

Ashland County

  • Active cases: 30
  • Deaths: 2
  • Total cases: 70
  • Total negative tests: 2,429

Bayfield County

  • Active cases: 20
  • Deaths: 1
  • Total cases: 86
  • Total negative tests: 2,827

Burnett County

  • Active cases: 64
  • Deaths: 3
  • Total cases: 140
  • Total negative tests: 2,542

Douglas County

  • Active cases: 56
  • Deaths: 0
  • Total cases: 393
  • Total negative tests: 7,149

Iron County

  • Active cases: 5
  • Deaths: 1
  • Total cases: 137
  • Total negative tests: 1,463

Price County

  • Active cases: 15
  • Deaths: 0
  • Total cases: 55
  • Total negative tests: 2,456

Rusk County

  • Active cases: 14
  • Deaths: 1
  • Total cases: 52
  • Total negative tests: 2,206

Sawyer County

  • Active cases: 8
  • Deaths: 1
  • Total cases: 196
  • Total negative tests: 4,390

Taylor County

  • Active cases: 37
  • Deaths: 3
  • Total cases: 156
  • Total negative tests: 2,681

Washburn County

  • Active cases: 8
  • Deaths: 1
  • Total cases: 94
  • Total negative tests: 2,748

All of Wisconsin's 72 counties have confirmed cases of the illness.

Visit the Douglas County COVID-19 dashboard or Wisconsin Department of Health Services COVID-19 page for updates.

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