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Waunakee Community School Board member wants to warn others after testing positive for COVID-19

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DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- As COVID-19 cases rise in Wisconsin and particularly Dane County, a Waunakee man said his story serves as a cautionary tale to everyone who thinks they're doing enough to avoid the virus.

Mike Brandt said he and his family have been lucky to be able to work from home and keep up social distancing for most of these past three months. Even so, he said when he got a cough, he figured it couldn't hurt to check it out.

"It was more or less done on a lark. I fully expected it to be negative," he said.

Brandt said he went to the Alliant Energy Center's testing site on Friday morning and kept his distance from his family through the weekend as he waited for his results, just to be safe.

"Lo and behold I was rather surprised getting the call on Sunday that it was positive," he said.

Brandt said the most unsettling part, is that he's not sure where he might have been exposed.

"We've been pretty isolated for the most part," he said.

Both he and his wife have been working from home and Brandt said he only runs errands once or twice a week, always with a mask on.

"The only person that really in our family that ever 'gets out' is me," he said.
"Because I was the one who was assigned as like the grocery store runner."

Brandt suspects that's where he had the best chance of picking up the virus. While, he said he's been taking precautions and noticed most businesses are as well, not everyone there is doing the same.

"I've noticed more people going out without masks on, being a lot less aware of their surroundings so to speak," he said.

Brandt believes his positive test is proof that voluntary compliance is not enough and he said, as a member of the Waunakee Community School Board he plans to keep that in mind as they weigh options for fall learning.

"Despite all the safety measures anyone puts in place, be it a school board a company or a government, there's always going to be this risk," he said.

Even so, Brandt said he believes any kind of risk mitigation is important and he believes doctors when they recommend masks for anyone who may be around someone from outside their household.

"I'm concerned that if there isn't a really hard stance on what is necessary than it's just not going to happen," he said.

He said he already supported the use of masks, even in schools, but he believes his story illustrates the important role they play in protecting others, not just yourself.

"I get the sense that everyone's running out of patience and that might be the reason that I got sick," he said.

That's why he said he plans to follow the necessary recommendations regarding his own self-quarantine and he'll continue wearing a mask even when he recovers.

"I'm very likely to be totally fine. I'm concerned about the people who may not be," he said.

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Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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