Aberdeen doctor is first Brown County patient diagnosed with COVID-19

David Wachs, submitted photo.

The first person diagnosed with COVID-19 in Brown County is an Aberdeen physician.

Dr. David Wachs of Avera Medical Group Aberdeen Family Physicians tested positive earlier this week.

Avera Health does not release test information about patients, according to an Avera press release, but Wachs identified himself to put a stop to rumors already circulating in the community.

Wachs quarantined himself as soon as the symptoms set in on March 13. He was tested for COVID-19 on March 16, and the results came back positive March 21.

Avera does not believe any patients or other medical staff were exposed, because Wachs began isolating himself as soon as the symptoms began.

Wachs will remain quarantined until he is cleared to go back to work, per guidelines from the South Dakota Department of Health. His wife is also in quarantine for 14 days.

Officials believe Wachs was likely exposed to the coronavirus at the Seattle airport after a trip to visit family in Oregon. He returned from that trip March 9. Wachs said he worked the next three days before his symptoms developed.

Avera says anyone who a patient of Wachs and is concerned about symptoms or exposure to call 877-282-8372. The clinic has since went through a deep cleaning.

A second person in Brown County was diagnosed Wednesday. Health officials have not said how they believe the second person was infected.