When Randolph County went under a lockdown in late March, a few people brought something home and it wasn't coronavirus.

Between February and March, the number of sexually transmitted diseases doubled in the county, according to Randolph County Health Department statistics.

“[The increase] wasn’t necessarily alarming, but it was noticeable,” Health Department Administrator Sharon Whisenand said. “They aren’t in the hundreds or thousands, but it was a significant increase.”

Though not exceptionally high, the STD numbers did see a sharp increase over the span of a month, going from 27 to 42 recorded cases. Typically, STD rates start to rise in the winter and peak in the spring, Whisenand said. However, the first month of spring this year has already surpassed 2019’s peak month, August, in which there were 39 recorded cases.

A possible explanation for the increase is that people have been stuck at home during the pandemic with limited activities, Whisenand said. People may have also been less inclined to practice safe sex during the stay-at-home orders, she said.

“In March and April we do tend to see a rise in those numbers, but it also has to do with people not getting out as much and not having as much to do,” Whisenand said.

Though there were no recorded instances in March of people in the same household testing positive for an STD, those statistics aren’t readily available, Whisenand said. However, it is fairly common for partners in the same household to both contract an STD, she said.

The number of recorded STDs in April dropped back down to 32, which is more in line with the typical spring rates, though still higher than the 26 cases in January and 27 in February. Considering the circumstances, 32 cases for the month is fairly normal, Whisenand said.

In 2019, Randolph County recorded approximately 330 sexually transmitted diseases, an increase of 251 from 2018, according to health statistics from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The same data set recorded 380 Randolph County STD cases recorded in 2020, though, which is much more than than the 127 cases confirmed by the health department.

Given the statistics already recorded this year, Whisenand urges people in Randolph County to practice safe sex or abstinence to limit the spread of STDs.

“I would like to remind people to practice safe sex,” Whisenand said. “Use condoms or practice abstinence. If you are going to do it, you and your partner should get tested beforehand, and you should limit the number of partners you have.”