DRIFTLESS - Over the past week COVID-19 diagnoses statewide increased from 25,068 June 22 to 28,058 Monday, June 29. That is a statewide increase of 2,990 cases. The number of deaths increased from 745 to 777, and additional 32 deaths, according to the state Department of Health Services.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) launched a new data dashboard today designed to give Wisconsinites the tools they need to most effectively respond to COVID-19.
“Our fight against COVID-19 isn’t over. Folks need to remember that this virus continues to spread in our state,” said Governor Tony Evers. “We want to make sure Wisconsinites have accurate information about the status of COVID-19 in their communities. That’s why the next generation of Badger Bounce Back, a new data dashboard assessing COVID-19 activity level, is so critically important.”
The data dashboard consists of maps and tables that toggle between counties and Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) regions. The counties and regions are color-coded to indicate overall COVID-19 activity status: low, medium, or high. Overall activity status is a summary indicator based on two data points: the burden of cases and the trajectory of cases. Burden, also defined as case rate, is the total number of cases a county or region has per 100,000 Wisconsin residents in the past two weeks, and is described as low, moderate, moderately high, or high. Trajectory, also defined as case change, refers to the percent change of cases in the past two weeks, and is described as shrinking, growing, or having no significant change.
“The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a nimble response,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “This data dashboard makes it possible for local leaders, businesses, and individual Wisconsinites to better understand the level of COVID-19 activity they face in their communities and to take precautions accordingly.”
County and regional data should be used to inform decisions within each community. DHS continues to advise against travel between different areas of the state.DHS plans to expand the dashboard in upcoming weeks to include data on additional indicators related to disease surveillance, health care capacity, and public health response. The dashboard will be updated by 2 p.m. every Wednesday.
Crawford Countysaw two new cases, increasing to 33. The number of negative tests increased by 133, and there have been no deaths in the county.
Vernon Countysaw an increase of four cases in the last week, increasing to 35. The number of negative tests increased by 287, and there have been no deaths.
A free community COVID-19 testing event will take place at the Vernon County Fairgrounds in Viroqua on Tuesday, July 7, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Richland Countysaw no increase in cases, remaining at 15. The number of negative tests increased by 129, and the number of deaths in the county remained at four.
The Richland County Health & Human Services Department has announced the county has advanced to Phase II of the reopening guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Out of the seven metrics, they have reached “green light” status on five metrics, “yellow light” status on one metric, and “red light” status on one metric.
This progress allows guidance to include indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people (while maintaining social distancing). It also provides for businesses offering services at 50 percent of approved capacity levels.
Richland County residents are encouraged to practice social distancing of six feet or more when possible, use face masks, disinfect high-touch surfaces, and use carry-out/pick-up options at businesses.The purpose is to prevent a renewed outbreak of the virus. People over the age of 60 are discouraged from attending mass gatherings.
Monroe Countysaw an increase of 15 cases in the last week, going from 50 to 65. Negative tests increased by 398, and the number of deaths in the county remains at one.
Juneau Countysaw an increase of six cases in the last week, growing to 36. The number of deaths in the county remains at one.
The Juneau County Health Department is notifying the public of possible COVID-19 exposure in two Juneau County establishments. Currently, these locations are not reported as an outbreak but this status may change as the disease investigation proceeds.
An outbreak is defined by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID- 19 in the same facility or associated with a single event, with onset within two maximum COVID-19 incubation periods of each other (28 days). The health department and the establishments have been working together to review and strengthen existing prevention measures. Final decisions are up to the discretion of the business.
If you visited either establishment listed below during the identified timeframes, you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If you are experiencing any symptoms (headache, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, fever, digestive discomfort), please contact your healthcare provider. You can view a full list of symptoms here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms- testing/symptoms.html
State Street Tap (112 E. State Street, Mauston) – June 24-26
LaCrosse Countyhas seen an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 138, going from 290 to 428. There have been no deaths in the county.
The increasing number of cases of COVID-19 has prompted the La Crosse County Health Department to establish a dedicated page on the COVID-19 website to notify the public of locations where risk of exposure to the virus has occurred.
It can be found at www.lacrossecounty.org/covid19 on the Outbreaks and Investigations page.
You can see current guidance on the Coulee COVID-19 Compass at https://lacrossecounty.org/covid19compass.
The La Crosse County Health Department (LCHD) announced earlier this week a streamlined process to notify businesses being added to the Outbreak and Investigation page at www.lacrossecounty.org/covid19. This page is a resource for the public to understand the risk for all known places within La Crosse County that the La Crosse County Health Department knows to have had lab-confirmed COVID-19 exposures in the last two weeks.
The purpose of this process is to work proactively with businesses to prevent community and worksite exposure to COVID 19.
As of Monday, low or medium risk businesses will not be notified, unless it is an employee of the business. When a business is identified as having a high-risk exposure(s), our department will make every effort to contact them. We will make two attempts to contact, and then will leave a voice message prior to addition on the Outbreak and Investigation page.
Businesses determined to have continued high risk of exposure will remain on the page until 14 days after the last known positive case was present. The Outbreak and Investigation page will be updated every weekday by 4 p.m.
As said by Jen Rombalski, Health Department Director, “We want to remind people that this is not a means of blaming or shaming any of those businesses. Many of those businesses on that list have been doing really good practices and have been connecting with us to improve their practices and protect their employees. I want to recognize that there are a few businesses, despite doing everything they can, could still have a case associated with their establishment. No one can completely control all of the factors that come into play with the spread of COVID-19.”We would like to thank our local business partners for their continued cooperation as we work to keep our community safe.
Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 24 cases in the last week, going from 130 to 154. There have been no additional deaths in the county, with the number remaining at 12.
When asked what he would want the public to focus on, Kindrai said people should be diligent on three things to help decrease the spread, and to keep themselves safe.
“First, limit your social circles,” Kindrai stated, telling people they should keep the number of people they are spending a closer proximity to to a low number.
“Second, limit your activities,” Kindrai continued, stating that going out to more places means increasing your exposure.
“Third, wearing a mask at times when you cannot be socially distant,” he continued.
The State of Wisconsin has an outbreak investigation conducted for any care facility that has at least one resident, patient, or worker test positive, and any workplace that has two employees test positive.
Kindrai stressed that these outbreaks may not mean that the locations are the source of a spread, so a business with dozens employees that has two test positive, starts working on preventative measures to eliminate the location as being a place for the virus to spread.
For those businesses, they look to determine whoever may have had close contact with the person who tested positive, and those people identified are placed in a 14-day quarantine from their last exposure of the person from the estimated time that they were potentially contagious, which is two days before symptoms became obvious.
Kindrai said that for care facilities, they have been excellent to work with, as have businesses which have investigations.
However, individuals who have been contacted about possible exposure, whether it was as part of an outbreak investigation, or due to contact with an individual who tested positive, compliance on quarantines have not always been followed.
Some people feel that they are not sick, and may move forward with their lives without trying to limit contact with others. Since there are a number of people who are asymptomatic, they may never feel the affects of COVID-19, but many studies have shown those people are very contagious, and would be spreading the virus.
“You may be feeling ok, but you could come in contact with someone who will not be,” Kindrai said of people who don’t feel sick.
Currently, the county has nine active outbreak investigations they are reviewing - five at care facilities and four at workplaces. That is up four from last week’s seven cases, as two locations that had been investigated (one care facility, one workplace) came off the lists this past week.
What Kindrai does not want happen is that the county, the region, the state, sees a surge, creating a stress on healthcare facilities, and causing limitations for others who have other medical emergencies.
Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of 13 cases in the last week, going from 59 to 72. There have been no deaths in the county.Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of nine cases in the last week, increasing to 31. There have been no deaths in the county.
Please wear a mask
Now that summer has ar-rived, so do all aspects of summertime including more people traveling, outdoor activities, graduation par-ties, weddings, and other outdoor activities. The Crawford County Public Health Department is urging all citizens of Crawford County and surrounding area to continue the safe practices that we all have been practicing for the last 3 months.
Here in Crawford County, we have over 1,825 negative tests, and 32 positives with 27 of these being recovered. Six of these positive are new to our county over the past 10 days, and three of these six are deemed as being community spread.
Community Spread means that the person who tested positive had no travel risk or contact with a con-firmed positive case. This shows that the virus is not contained and continues to circulate in our community. This is why the Health De-partment encourages every-one to be diligent about continuing to implement safe practices to protect our community and specifically those who are at higher risk for severe illness.
Those who are considered vulnerable or high risk in-clude:
• People age 65 and older
• Our nursing home or long-term care population
• People with underlying medical conditions, such as
• Lung disease (asthma, emphysema, COPD)
• Heart conditions (which includes high blood pres-sure)
• Immunocompromised (cancer treatments or im-mune deficiencies)
• Severe Obesity
• Chronic kidney disease (undergoing dialysis)
• Liver disease.
Safe practices that we all should be following to pro-tect the people listed in-cludes:
• Stay home if you are sick
• Maintain physical and social distancing of at least six feet (whether inside or outside)
• Wear a facial cover-ing/mask when out in pub-lic, especially if social dis-tancing cannot be main-tained.
• Practice good hygiene (wash hands often with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoid touching your face)
• Limit travel (avoid trav-eling to other states or to areas within the state which are considered to be viral “hot spots” – like La Crosse.
Many of LaCrosse Coun-ty’s, and some of Crawford County’s, positives, are young adults who are asymptomatic (which means have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19) but are still infectious and may spread the disease to others without realizing it. This is another reason why this disease has been so hard to contain.
I believe that the Public Health staff has been doing a fantastic job of responding to this COVID-19 pandemic by
• contacting the positive cases immediately after being notified by the lab or provider
• identifying and contact-ing anyone who has been in close contact with the per-son who has COVID-19. These people/contacts are then asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and moni-tored for signs and symp-toms of illness.
• determining when a per-son can be released from isolation and work with their employers as needed
• providing guidance to clinicians regarding testing (when and why)
For more information on COVID-19 you can follow the Crawford County Public Health website or Facebook page, or call the office at 608-326-0229.