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December 10: Weekly Driftless Area COVID-19 update
COVID in municipalities_120720

DRIFTLESS - Over the past week COVID-19, diagnoses statewide increased from 357,771 on Monday, Nov. 30 to 387,235 on Monday, Dec. 7. That is a statewide increase of 27,097 cases. The number of deaths increased from 3,313 to 3,758, an additional 425 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Vaccine expectations

According to the Tuesday issue of Up North News, with contributions from the Associated Press, state officials worked Monday to tamp down expectations that vaccines will offer a quick way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying most of the state’s nearly 6 million people will likely have to wait months for their first shots.

With federal authorization imminent, all eyes now turn to the states as they prepare to distribute doses.

Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told reporters during a Monday briefing that Wisconsin is in line to receive an initial shipment of 49,725 Pfizer doses for healthcare workers and residents of long-term care homes. Those inoculations will likely begin this month, she said.

After healthcare workers and long-term care residents are inoculated, the next groups in line will likely be those over age 65, essential workers, and people suffering from underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19 infections. People outside those groups will have to wait longest, meaning it will probably be early fall before everyone who wants a shot can get one, Van Djik warned.

Crawford Countysaw 174 new cases, increasing to 1,397. Added to that are 26 Antigen Testing positive, bringing the total probable cases in the county to 1,423, making a total probable increase in cases of 200. The Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution accounted for 11 of these new cases, with 189 coming from the rest of the county. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to nine.

Antigen tests are like a surveillance test (rapid test), and if one tests positive for the antigen they may be told to have the normal test to confirm if they are positive. If it is a full family with confirmed exposure and some test positive, the other family members can take the antigen test. If the rapid test is positive for the other family members, it is considered to be a positive COVID test, but only counted as an antigen case.

In her bi-weekly update on public health COVID-19 key metrics in Crawford County, our Public Health Director Cindy Riniker, cited the following statistics:

• 16 percent of positive cases in our county in the last two weeks have been among public health workers

• 56 percent of positive cases in our county in the last two weeks have come from community spread. From contact tracing, most infected individuals had “no idea how they contracted the virus.”

• Public Health is currently monitoring 36 outbreaks in our county, four of which have come about in the last four weeks

• The two-week metrics dictate that our county remains in ‘Phase One,’ limiting capacities in bars and restaurants, spectators at athletic events, and public gatherings. Many schools have children in full virtual education for various periods of time.

In addition, the Crawford County Public Health Department will be holding COVID-19 testing events twice a week on Mondays, 11 a.m. – 12 noon and Fridays, 9-10 a.m. at the Crawford County Administration Building parking lot, 225 N. Beaumont Rd. Prairie du Chien, WI 53821. All tests must be scheduled in advance.  Call the Crawford County Public Health Department at 608-326-0229 to schedule an appointment. There is no cost to participate.

Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution: The total number of positive cases increased by 11, going from 403 to 411. Of those three are released positive cases, 118 are active positive cases, and 293 are inactive positive cases. A ‘released positive case’ means ‘released from Department of Corrections (DOC) custody. According to a DOC media representative, transfers from county jails were temporarily suspended in March, but resumed in the summer. DOC is still taking in recently-convicted and recently-revoked individuals from county jails, but at a slower pace than they would normally. Visitation and work release remain suspended across the agency.

The representative clarified some of the information presented in the Independent-Scout’s coverage of the outbreak in last week’s issue: staff has had to undergo screenings since the spring at all DOC facilities. The Nov. 16 date is inaccurate. Some policies were updated on Nov. 16, like testing all institution staff every two weeks, but the screenings have been in place since the spring.

Vernon Countysaw an increase of 125 cases in the last week, increasing to 1,268. The number deaths increased by five, from 18 to 23.

Of the 40 new positive cases confirmed on Monday:

Free COVID-19 community testing will be available on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Old Highway Shop in Viroqua, at the interection of Highways 56 and 14 (across from the Viroqua Food Co-op).

Richland Countysaw an increase of 53 cases, increasing to 924. The number of deaths in the county remained at 13.

Upcoming COVID-19 testing events in the county will be held as follows:

Richland County Fairgrounds, 23630 County AA, Richland Center, Mondays 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and Thursdays 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Monroe Countysaw an increase of 269 cases in the last week, going from 2,660 to 2,929. The number of deaths in the county increased by four to 19.

Juneau Countysaw an increase in cases of 137, growing to 2,049. Of the 2,049 cases, 529 of them are at the New Lisbon Correctional Facility, an increase of three cases there. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to eight. 

LaCrosse Countyhas continued to see an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 619, going from 8,087 to 8,706. The number of deaths increased by five to 40.

Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 197 cases in the last week, going from 3,497 to 3,694. The number of deaths in the county increased by two to 66.

Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of 35 cases in the last week, increasing to 1,116. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to four.

Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of 90 cases in the last week, increasing to 1,356. The number of deaths in the county remained at five.