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DHS: Race not a factor in coronavirus transmission

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Health officials in Wisconsin announced Thursday they are testing four more people for coronavirus.

It comes a day after we learned there's a case of the virus in Dane county.

As health officials wait for the results of the other tests they're dealing with a bigger problem.

Officials are urging people to not succumb to ethnic bias.

While many of the confirmed cases of coronavirus have stemmed from travel to China, no one race is more likely to transmit the virus than others.

"You can not tell if someone is at risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus by what they look like," Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said Wednesday at a press conference.

State health officials say they've received many calls since the outbreak started and say it's something they've heard before.

"I've seen this happen with the SARS outbreak in 2003," Tom Haupt, with the DHS, said. "Unfortunately there have been calls coming in that blame the Chinese people for this, and it is really, it is not that. It's not where a person comes from or their ethnicity. It has to do with travel and science."

The only risks of infection are if you've traveled to china recently or have been in contact with others who have a confirmed case of coronavirus.

"This public health concern will not be solved with with fear and discrimination, we will fight it with compassion and with science," Mayor Rhodes-Conway said.

As for the confirmed case, officials say just because you were in the same airport as the person, doesn't mean you're at risk.

People at risk would have come in close contact.

Health officials are reaching out to people who were in the same row and within 2 rows of the person, aside from that anyone else shouldn't be concerned.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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