Editors note: this story is updated as of Tuesday, April 6, in the COVID variants section to reflect growth in numbers.
Over the past week COVID-19, diagnoses statewide increased from 576,044 on Monday, Mar. 29 to 576,044 on Monday, Apr. 5. That is a statewide increase of 4,140 cases. The number of deaths increased from 6,601 to 6,640, an additional 39 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has updated the Staying Safe in Your Community webpage to include recommendations for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people. The webpage now includes guidance for a variety of spring and summer activities, as well as guidelines for attending or hosting gatherings.
“As we start to get back to some of the activities we love this spring and summer, it’s critical we continue following public health best practices,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “Please continue to wear a mask in public, keep six feet apart from others, get tested if you have symptoms, and get vaccinated when you are able. These are necessary strategies while COVID-19 continues to spread and most of our state is still unvaccinated.”
The Crawford County Health Department continues to strongly advise that residents wear a mask while in public spaces. Individuals should wear masks or face coverings that cover their mouth and nose when around non-household members following current State and CDC guidance. In general, this means masking when around others who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or are of unknown vaccination status with few exceptions (https://www.cdc.gov/.../vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html). It is important to note that businesses and schools can still require masks without a State order. For additional information visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
“The overturning of the State masking order today by the State Supreme Court does not mean masking and social distancing are no longer important”, said Cindy Riniker, Crawford County Health Officer. “We all want to be done with this pandemic, but we need to hang on a little longer. One important measure we can take is wearing a mask. Crawford County residents have done a terrific job with prevention measures, including mask wearing and we ask that they continue until we can get a larger percentage of folks vaccinated. We are doing good, let's not stop now”, added Riniker.
“The bottom line is that we must remain careful and diligent in the prevention measures we know work, such as mask wearing, physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings and washing our hands,” added Riniker. “We need the assistance of each citizen in continuing to be part of an effective pandemic response and thank you in advance for your continued cooperation”.
As of March 31, 2021, 31.6 percent (5,096) of Crawford County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 21 percent (3,381) residents have completed the vaccine series. In addition, 73.6 percent of those age 65+ have received at least one dose of vaccine.
It continues to be important that fully vaccinated people follow public health best practices in public spaces. This includes wearing a mask and physically distancing. Fully vaccinated people should also continue these practices when visiting unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
Crawford County Public Health is changing the registration process for their upcoming clinics. In the past, individuals could sign up to be put on a waiting list and be called for an upcoming appointment. With more vaccine available in our community, we are moving away from a waiting list and will be scheduling people into upcoming clinics as we have available vaccine.
The website is still the same but now individuals can schedule an appointment and know what vaccine we will be giving before signing up. Clinic schedules will open mid-week for the following week clinics.
Last week, Governor Evers announced that all Wisconsin residents age 16 and older will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines as of April 5. Please encourage your family members, coworkers, and friends to pursue a vaccine if they’ve not yet had the opportunity to get one.
To register for upcoming COVID-19 clinics go to https://www.crawfordcountywi.org/health.html or call our office at 608-326-0229.
As of Tuesday, April 6, there are 17,017 cases of the three COVID-19 variants in the United States, up 3,965 (30 percent) since Sunday. Those are the United Kindom (B.1.1.7), South African (B.188.8.131.52), and Brazil (P.1) variants.
Eighteen states have all three variants circulating in their populations. Those states are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Massachussetts, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Connecticut, Washington, Indiana, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma and Alaska.
There are 16,275 cases of the United Kingdom variant in 52 states and territories, an increase of 3,770 cases (30 percent) since Sunday. As of Tuesday, April 6, there are 139 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Wisconsin. There are 470 confirmed cases in Illinois, 979 confirmed cases in Minnesota, 1,649 confirmed cases in Michigan, and 106 confirmed cases in Iowa. Michigan remains second in the nation for UK variant cases in the last week, exceeded only by Florida with 3,192 cases.
The first of UK variant strain B.1.1.7 was identified in LaCrosse County by genome sequencing by Gundersen Health System on Thursday, March 11. A thorough investigation was completed, but it is unclear where the person contracted this variant strain.
There are 323 cases of the South Africa variant in 36 states, an increase of 63 (20 percent), including eight in Wisconsin and five in Illinois, 18 in Minnesota, and seven in Michigan. The other cases are 75 in South Carolina, 44 in Maryland, 37 in Virginia, 29 in North Carolina, 25 in Florida, 23 in Colorado, 22 in Georgia, 17 in Washington, 12 in Massachussetts, 10 in California, seven in Connecticut, six each in Pennsylvania and Ohio, five in Hawaii, four in Maine, three each in Texas and Arizona, two each in New Jersey, Indiana, Kansas, Washington D.C. and Idaho, and one each in Tennessee, Alabama, New York, Mississippi, Nevada, Delaware, Missouri, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Alaska.
There are now 336 cases of the Brazil variant in the U.S. in 25 states, an increase of 132 (59 percent), including two in Wisconsin, 77 in Illinois, and three in Minnesota. The other cases are 84 in Florida, 82 in Massachussetts, 34 in California, 14 in Ohio, 13 in Washington, eight in New Jersey, six each in Arizona and Alaska, four in Tennessee, three each in Texas, Indiana and Utah, two each in Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Nebraska, and one each in Georgia, Maine, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Oregon.
Crawford Countysaw no increase in cases in the last week, remaining at 1,677 total infections. The number of deaths remained at 17.
Crawford County Public Health continues to offer COVID-19 testing for those with no healthcare provider, no or poor insurance coverage, or part of a disease investigation. We offer this service on Monday mornings outside the administration building by appointment only. Community testing sites using National Guard personnel are available in Vernon County twice monthly, Lancaster weekly, and Gays Mills will continue with a monthly clinic.
People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning it has been two weeks or longer since they have finished their vaccine series, can engage in some social situations. These include:
• Visiting with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
• Visiting with unvaccinated people from a single household who are all at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
• Refraining from quarantine and testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic
It continues to be important that fully vaccinated people follow public health best practices in public spaces. This includes
• wearing a mask and physically distancing, staying home if you are sick, practice good washing, avoid large mass gatherings, and avoid non-essential travel.
• Fully vaccinated people should also continue these practices when visiting unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
Vernon Countysaw an increase of six cases in the last week, increasing to 1,880. The number deaths increased by one to 43.
Vernon County will continue testing every other Tuesday at the Old County Highway Shop, 602 N. Main Street, in Viroqua on April 20, May 4, May 18.
Richland Countysaw an increase of one case in the last week, increasing to 1,275 total infections. The number of deaths in the remained at 15.
Monroe Countysaw an increase of 11 cases in the last week, increasing to 4,388. The number of deaths increased by two to 36.
LaCrosse Countysaw an increase in new cases of 74, increasing to 12,468. The number of deaths remained at 80.Grant Countysaw an increase of 32 cases in the last week, increasing to 4,758. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to 84.