By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
October 1: Weekly Driftless Area COVID-19 update
100120_COVID graphic

Over the past week COVID-19, diagnoses statewide increased from 102,498 on Monday, Sept. 21 to 117,588 on Monday, September 28. That is a statewide increase of 15,090 cases. The number of deaths increased from 1,244 to 1,283, an additional 39 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

According to the Tuesday, Sept.29 issue of Up North News, Wisconsin set another new single-day record daily number of new coronavirus infections over the weekend, and Monday's figures show a record number of COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin hospitals.

In weekend data reported by the state Department of Health Services, there were 1,726 new cases recorded on Monday, 2,217 on Sunday, and a record 2,817 on Saturday.

The number of COVID-19 patients needing hospital care is now 640, as tracked by the Wisconsin Hospital Association. The figure has nearly doubled in two weeks. And the 173 needing intensive care is approaching the record of 196 from early April.

Monday's new positive tests made up 22 percent of 7,885 total tests processed.

According to the Monday, Sept. 28, issue of the LaCrosse Tribune, “the worldwide death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed one million on Tuesday, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders' resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.”

Crawford Countysaw 30 new cases, increasing to 171. There have been no deaths in the county.

According to DHS, public health investigations are taking place at four workplaces, one group housing facility and one health care facility in Crawford County.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Superintendent Brandon Munson reported that the North Crawford School District was informed that a student in our middle school has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Through our contact tracing protocol, and in collaboration with Crawford County Public Health, we have identified and notified all families whose students have likely had close contact with the individual who tested positive, as well as all staff members who had close contact. This is defined as being within six feet of an individual for 15 minutes or more, even while wearing face coverings. If you have not been contacted directly by Crawford County Public Health, or the school district, your child(ren) are able to continue attending school.

The student who has tested positive for COVID-19 and anyone who had close contact with the individual will not return  to the building  and will be quarantined  for the determined  amount of time by Crawford  County Public Health.  Our staff have thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the affected areas, and we are confident the building remains safe for students to return to school.

The health, safety, and well-being of our school community remains our top priority. We are following sound protocols aligned with expert health guidance to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our students' health. We also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone  of the importance  of wearing masks, staying six feet apart from others, and regularly washing your hands.

We are closely monitoring this situation and will provide you with updates if any further steps are necessary. If you have questions or need to report a positive case of COVID-19, please contact North Crawford School Nurse, John Powell, at (608) 624-5201  or via email at

On Friday, Sept. 25, Crawford County Public Health issued a ‘Public Health Notice.’ If you attended the following mass gathering listed below you may have potentially been exposed to a COVID-19 positive case:

Saturday, September 19, 2020, Large UTV Ride Event (starting and ending outside of Wauzeka)

If you were in close contact with groups of people during the UTV Ride and develop COVID-19 symptoms through October 3, 2020 contact your healthcare provider. 

 Also on Friday, Sept. 25, a second public health notice was issued: If you attended the event or location listed below you may have potentially been exposed to a COVID-19 positive case:

• Maple Ridge Bible Church Hog Roast. Saturday, Sept. 19

If you attended the event listed above and develop COVID-19 symptoms anytime since then through October 3, contact your healthcare provider.  Symptoms include: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of smell and/or taste.

 “These notices are not saying that this event or business did anything wrong, assures Cindy Riniker, Health Officer “but is to inform the public of where and when the public may have had potential contact with a lab confirmed case of COVID-19.”

The Crawford County Public Health Department will be holding COVID-19 testing events twice a week beginning on September 14, 2020.  Testing will be 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.

Vernon Countysaw an increase of 58 cases in the last week, increasing to 233. The number of negative tests increased by 699 to 8,265, and there has now been one death.

According to DHS, public health investigations are taking place at two educational facilities, two non-healthcare workplaces, and one long-term care facility.

On Friday, Sept. 24, the Kickapoo School District announced that it has one new case of COVID-19.

Richland Countysaw an increase of 46 cases, increasing to 134. The number of deaths in the county remained at four.

According to DHS, public health investigations are taking place at two workplaces in Richland County.

Monroe Countysaw an increase of 135 cases in the last week, going from 408 to 543. Negative tests increased by 254 to 9,482, and the number of deaths in the county remains at two.

According to DHS, public health investigations are taking place at two educational facilities, two non-healthcare workplaces, one health care facility, one long-term care facility, and one other facility.

Juneau Countysaw an increase in cases of 57, growing to 391. The number of deaths in the county remains at three.

The Juneau County Health Department is notifying the public of possible COVID-19 exposure in a Juneau County and a Monroe County establishment. Currently, these locations are not reported as an outbreak, but this status maychange as the disease investigation proceeds. 

The establishments and dates of potential exposure are as follows:

Hustle Inn (116 E. Main Street, Hustler, WI), Sept. 13

Hidden Inn Bar & Grill, 213 White Street, Kendall, WI, Sept. 13

LaCrosse Countyhas continued to see an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 433, going from 2,622 to 3,055. The number of deaths increased by two to four.

The La Crosse County Health Department reported on Friday, Sept. 25, that another resident has died from the coronavirus, bringing total fatalities to four.

The most recent death occurred Thursday and was confirmed Friday, with the third occuring Wednesday evening and confirmed Thursday. A La Crosse County Health Department representative told the Tribune Friday both were females older than 80.

La Crosse County has continued to see a surge of cases in young adults. From September 14-20, 80.4 percent of cases were between the ages of 18 and 24 and this has far reaching impacts. Many of these young people are college students and all are important members of our community. Many are young professionals, members of young families, and workers who fill vital roles in the local workforce which can lead to further spread. Cases in the workforce often means closures of daycares, critical staffing shortages at long term care and assisted living facilities and impacts to K-12 schools’ learning options. Additional outreach to this population is being developed by partnering community stakeholders.

The Health Department continues to prioritize contacting cases and contacts at highest risk, however due to record high numbers of cases over the past seven days has reached capacity. It is important that the public knows some cases and contacts may not receive a phone call at this time. For this reason, we ask any newly diagnosed person with COVID-19 to visit and isolate themselves immediately. Cases should also personally notify anyone they have had close contact with about their positive test result and direct their contacts to quarantine and follow directions on the website. This notification should be shared with any person in contact with the positive case while they had symptoms AND during the 48 hours before symptoms developed.

Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 198 cases in the last week, going from 831 to 1,029. The number of deaths in the county remains at 19.

Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of 82 cases in the last week, increasing to 301. There have been no deaths in the county.

The Darlington School District reported on Thursday that they had two more positive cases in the Darlington Elementary/Middle School (DEMS) building. The county health department recommended that they switch to virtual learning in DEMS for the next two weeks, and they are going to follow that recommendation. Virtual learning will begin on Monday, September 28, and run for two weeks. The plan is for #DarlingtonRedbirds students to be back in the building on Monday, October 12. All PK-8 extra-curricular activities and practices are canceled from now until students return to the building. 4K classes at their community partner locations are also closed during the same time period.

Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of 34 cases in the last week, increasing to 183. Negative tests increased by 357 to 5,759. There have been no deaths in the county.