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July 20: Weekly Driftless COVID-19 round up
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DRIFTLESS - Over the past week COVID-19 diagnoses statewide increased from 36,942 July 13 to 43,018 Monday, July 20. That is a statewide increase of 6,076 cases. The number of deaths increased from 820 to 846, an additional 26 deaths, according to the state Department of Health Services.

The DHS’ Badger Bounce Back COVID-19 Case Indicators, which classify counties as high-, moderate- or low-risk based on COVID activity over the previous two weeks, listed Grant, LaCrosse and Monroe counties as “high” risk; Lafayette, Iowa, Crawford and Juneau counties as “moderately high risk;” Vernon County as “moderate” risk; and Richland County was listed as medium-risk.

Cautiously optimistic

As reported in the Tuesday morning issue of the Up North News, for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak reached Wisconsin, the state has recorded more than 6,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single week as the total number of infections reached 43,000.

On Saturday the state Dept. of Health Services reported a new single-day record of 978 cases. Another 830 were reported Sunday, and on Monday the 703 new cases ranks 13th among the 135 daily reports since Wisconsin's first case was confirmed.

Thirteen deaths over the weekend bring Wisconsin’s toll to 846.

In one positive development, the state's dashboard of six metrics that indicate progress against coronavirus went back up to three green indicators and three red. The state over the past 14 days is seeing a downward trend in COVID-like syndromic cases.

That means that while the number of positive COVID tests is high, many of the newly confirmed infected Wisconsinites don't require hospital care. However it also prompts renewed caution that someone who tests positive for coronavirus should still self-isolate even without symptoms in order to avoid infecting others who may be at much greater risk of illness or death.
Blood Drive

Testing and immunity

American Red Cross is offering a free antibody test to individuals who donate blood. Antibody tests will tell you if you have already had the virus. These are different than the tests being administered across the state in communities, which will tell you if you currently have the virus.

It is not a “safe bet” to rely on immunity to COVID-19 as a strategy for coping with the pandemic, one expert has warned, adding that herd immunity strategies were “probably never going to work.”

Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said that in towns and cities where there had been coronavirus infections, only 10-15 percent of the population was likely to be immune.

 “And immunity to this thing looks rather fragile — it looks like some people might have antibodies for a few months and then it might wane, so it’s not looking like a safe bet,” he said. “It’s a very deceitful virus and immunity to it is very confusing and rather short-lived.”

Upcoming blood drives in the area include:

• July 28: Church of Christ, 825 Nelson Pkwy, Viroqua, 12-5:30 p.m.

• July 28: United Method-ist Church, 625 Dousman St. Prairie du Chien, 2-5 p.m.

• July 30: Memorial Building, 860 Lincoln Ave., Fennimore, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

• July 31: Prairie du Chien Library, 125 S. Wacouta Ave., Prairie du Chien, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

• August 6: Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, 1101 Morrison Dr., Boscobel, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

• August 21: Gays Mills Community Building, 16381 State Highway 131, Gays Mills, 1-5 p.m.

Crawford Countysaw three new cases, increasing to 48. The number of negative tests increased by 182, and there have been no deaths in the county. 

Crawford testing Seneca

NEWS FLASH – since the Independent went to press with our Thursday, July 23 issue, Crawford County has announced an upcoming testing event in Seneca.

The Crawford County   Pub1ic Health  Department, Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Nationa] Guard  are hosting a drive through COVID-19 testing site at the Seneca  Town Ha11, located at 21041 Town Ha11 Road, Seneca, on August  14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This community COVID-19 testing  event is open to a11 Crawford County  residents, and those in our surrounding communities (age five and older), who are experiencing one or more symptoms of COVID-19, and for asymptomatic individuals per Pub1ic Hea1th recommendation.  Symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild and inc1ude: fever, new loss of taste and/or smell, cough, nausea, shortness of breath, vomiting, chills, abdominal pain, muscle aches/pain, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, sore throat, and runny nose.

Nationa] Guard and Crawford County  Pub1ic Health Staff are planning for the maximum number of tests (500) to be uti1ized and availab]e at the testing site.   If more than this amount of testing  is needed, another  day and time wi11 be scheduled for further  testing.

 Testing wi11 be done by nasal swab,  and there is no cost to participate. The Crawford County Pub1ic Health staff wi11  fo11ow up on positive  resu1ts of testing  3-5 days after the event.  The Wisconsin National  Guard wi11 fo11ow- up on negative resu1ts of testing  in the same amount  of time.

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Vernon Countysaw an increase of six cases in the last week, increasing to 45. The number of negative tests increased by 444, and there have been no deaths.

VERNON TESTING EVENT UPDATE: Since we went to press with the Thursday, July 23 issue of the Independent, Vernon County has announced a change of date for their upcoming testing event – see the updated information below.

The Vernon County Health Department, Emergency Management and the Wisconsin National Guard are hosting a free drive-through COVID-19 testing site at the Vernon County Fairgrounds, located at 29 Fairgrounds Drive, Viroqua, on Monday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To help ease traffic flow during the testing, please follow one of the two options:

1) Entering from the north end of town, turn onto Fairlane Drive between Kwik Trip and Sleepy Hollow Chevrolet Dealership. Turn right on Nelson Parkway. Follow signs to testing.

2) Entering from the south end of town, turn onto Fairview Drive. Turn left onto Northeast Ave. Follow signs to testing.

This community COVID-19 testing event is open to all Vernon County residents and those in our surrounding communities (age 5 and older) who are experiencing one or more symptoms of COVID-19 and those who are asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms.) Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell.

Please see our website for more information or call the Vernon County Health Department at 608-637-5251.

** This testing is for active Covid-19 infection only. No antibody testing will be available. **
Vernon Testing Results
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Starting Monday, July 20, the Westby Co-op Creamery Cheese Store will be requiring all customers to wear a mask upon entering to ensure the safety of all of our customers and employees. If you do not own a mask or simply forgot yours, there will be a sanitizing station at the door with masks available to purchase for one dollar each. Gloves are not to be worn prior to coming into the store but will also be available upon entrance.

In cooperation with CDC and Vernon County Health Department recommendations, the Viroqua Food Co+op is asking everyone age five and older to wear a mask while shopping beginning Monday, July 20. A face covering over the nose and mouth can reduce the spread of COVID-19 in places like the aisles of the Co-op where social distancing is not always possible. As a courtesy, the Co-op has cloth reusable masks or paper masks available for free, and will maintain this supply as much as possible.

Vernon County has launched ‘Vernon Countys Covered,’ a positive marketing campaign to encourage the wearing of masks in public places. The campaign features photos and stories on social media of community leaders, organizations, kids and residents choosing to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect themselves and their neighbors, keep local businesses open, and many other reasons. 

The campaign launches as a growing chorus of local, state and national leaders, politicians of all parties, healthcare experts, and others call on citizens to wear masks as the most effective strategy to limit COVID-19 community spread.

Residents are urged to also continue to practice regular hand washing, practicing physical distancing of at least six feet whenever possible, cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, and strongly considering not attending or hosting larger gatherings, especially those held indoors.

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Do you have Vernon County Covered and use social media? You can win a $25 gift certificate to a local Vernon County business of your choice!

Take a selfie, post it to your social media accounts along with your reason for wearing a mask, and add the hashtag #VernonCountysCovered. 

Vernon County staff will share your photos, and randomly select a winner each week!

Richland Countysaw an increase of two cases, increasing to 19. The number of negative tests increased by 267, and the number of deaths in the county remained at four.

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Monroe Countysaw an increase of 17 cases in the last week, going from 139 to 156. Negative tests increased by 855, and the number of deaths in the county remains at one.


Juneau Countysaw a leap in the increase in cases of 23, growing to 77. The number of deaths in the county remains at one.


LaCrosse Countyhas continued to see an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 73, going from 593 to 666.

On July 17, 2020, La Crosse County Health Department was notified of an individual who passed away from complications of COVID-19. This is the first death of a county resident. The resident was a male in his 70’s who had been hospitalized. Our team would like to express our deepest condolences to family, friends, and those impacted by this loss of life.

LaCrosse County Public Health Director delivered the following message: As always, it is important to remember that viruses don’t discriminate, and neither should we. We are all in this together. Let’s be kind and compassionate with one another.

Grant Countyhas seen an exponential increase of 33 cases in the last week, going from 218 to 251. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to 14.

Grant County’s total of positive cases increased from 210 July 13 to 251 as of Monday, jumping from 3.94 cases per 1,000 population to 4.82 per 1,000, according to the state Department of Health Services and the Grant County Health Department.

Tests will be conducted at Riverdale Schools in Muscoda on Wednesday, July 29, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Lancaster on  Wednesday, Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of three cases in the last week, going from 84 to 87. There have been no deaths in the county. 

Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of five cases in the last week, increasing to 50. There have been no deaths in the county.

Platteville Journal editor Steve Prestegard contributed to this story.