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Evidence-based public health approaches that minimize the introduction and spread of new SARS-CoV-2 transmission clusters are urgently needed in the United States and other countries struggling with expanding epidemics. Here we analyze 247 full-genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences from two nearby communities in Wisconsin, USA, and find surprisingly distinct patterns of viral spread. Dane County had the 12th known introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States, but this did not lead to descendant community spread. Instead, the Dane County outbreak was seeded by multiple later introductions, followed by limited community spread. In contrast, relatively few introductions in Milwaukee County led to extensive community spread. We present evidence for reduced viral spread in both counties, and limited viral transmission between counties, following the statewide Safer-at-Home public health order, which went into effect 25 March 2020. Our results suggest that early containment efforts suppressed the spread of SARS-CoV-2 within Wisconsin.

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