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October 15: Weekly Driftless Area COVID-19 update
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DRIFTLESS - Over the past week COVID-19, diagnoses statewide increased from 134359 on Monday, Oct. 5 to 152,192 on Monday, October12. That is a statewide increase of 17,833 cases. The number of deaths increased from 1,381 to 1,474, an additional 93 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

According to an article in the Tuesday, Oct. 12 issue of Up North News, hospitals set another new daily record for the highest number of COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin hospitals (950) and the number of those patients needing to be in an intensive care units (240). There is also a record number of people on a mechanical ventilator (416), though that number is not broken down by how many are coronavirus patients.

According to the website,, a 25-year-old man from Nevada and a 42-year-old man in Virginia experienced second bouts of COVID-19 about two months after they tested positive the first time. Gene tests show both men had two slightly different strains of the virus, suggesting that they caught the infection twice. 

Researchers say these are the first documented cases of COVID-19 reinfection in the U.S. About two dozen other cases of COVID-19 reinfection have been reported around the globe, from Hong Kong, Belgium, the Netherlands, India, and Ecuador.  A third U.S. case, in a 60-year-old in Washington, has been reported but hasn't yet been peer reviewed. 

Until now, immunologists haven't been too concerned about these reinfections because most second infections have been milder than the first, indicating that the immune system is doing its job and fighting off the virus when it is recognized a second time.

Unlike most of those cases, however, the men in Reno, NV, and Virginia, and a 46-year-old man in Ecuador, had more severe symptoms during their second infections, potentially complicating the development and deployment of effective vaccines.

Crawford Countysaw 47 new cases, increasing to 251. There have been no deaths in the county.

On Friday, Oct. 9, Crawford County Public Health reported that “with eight of our metrics being red, it is clear that our county must act now to slow the spread of COVID-19. What we do today will impact our health system’s ability to keep up with increasing demand. Therefore, we are recommending that Crawford County move to stage one.”

What this means people in close contact at public gatherings are limited to 25 percent occupancy; outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people or less; indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people or less; and it is recommended to postpone or cancel all non-essential gatherings.

They reported that the county has seen 67 new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, and this is more than double the number in the prior two week period. This represents an 18 positivity rate, and “even more troubling, our hospitalization rate is at 12 percent – some of the hospitals that serve our residents are reporting difficulty getting supplies they need, and staff shortages,” Health Officer Cindy Riniker said.


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 78 cases in the last week, increasing to 371. The number of negative tests increased by 802 to 9,715, and there has now been two deaths.

On October 12, Vrnon County Health Department was notified of an individual who passed away from complications of COVID-19. This is the second death of a county resident. The resident was a female in her 60s who was recovering at home.

Richland Countysaw an increase of 74 cases, increasing to 303. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to five.

Richland County Health Officer Rose Kohout is “saddened to announce that Richland County has experienced the fifth COVID-related death of a county resident”.  Richland County offers their heartfelt sympathies to the family, and out of respect for the individual’s confidentiality and the privacy of the resident’s family, no additional information will be provided.


Monroe Countysaw an increase of 129 cases in the last week, going from 668 to 797. The number of deaths in the county remained at three.

On Friday, Oct. 9, Monroe County Public Health issued a health advisory for the Market Bar, Oct. 2, 4:30-6 p.m.


The Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School District announced on Monday, Oct. 12, that the school will be transitioning to all virtual instruction due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the community and the number of students needing to be quarantined.

Juneau Countysaw an increase in cases of 70, growing to 535. The number of deaths in the county increased by two to five.

On Friday, October 9, Juneau County Public Health issued two health advisories for the following locations, dates and times:

Heinie’s Tavern, Oct. 2-3, 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

St. Patrick School, Oct. 2-6

LaCrosse Countyhas continued to see an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 230, going from 3,336 to 3,566. The number of deaths increased by four to 10.

COVID-19 can happen to anyone. La Crosse County Health Department is announcing today that Health Director, Jen Rombalski has tested positive for COVID-19. She is experiencing mild to moderate symptoms and is recuperating at home. Jen was exposed by a household member who also tested positive for the virus who was exposed when attending in-person education. No other department staff were exposed as Jen and the majority of staff are working remotely. As Jen recovers, the COVID-19 response will be supported by department leaders working as a team to continue the work and protect the community’s health.

This notice is being shared to remind community members that COVID-19 can happen to anyone and that there is no stigma to being tested, diagnosed or in speaking candidly to contact tracers. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should be tested and follow the guidance provided by their local health department and medical provider. Those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should also monitor symptoms and quarantine themselves for fourteen days. Testing is available through local health care providers (please call before arriving), and some community testing sites. Find the latest local information at

We wish Jen and all who have been affected by COVID-19 a speedy recovery, rest and good health moving forward.

On Friday, Oct. 9, LaCrosse County Public Health reported the tenth death of a county resident due to COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of these individuals.

Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 206 cases in the last week, going from 1,242 to 1,448. The number of deaths in the county remains at 19.

Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of 60 cases in the last week, increasing to 422. There have been no deaths in the county.

Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of 71 cases in the last week, increasing to 300. There have been no deaths in the county.