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October 29: Weekly Driftless Area COVID-19 update
Upcoming COVID testing opportunities

DRIFTLESS REGION - Over the past week COVID-19, diagnoses statewide increased from 173,891 on Monday, Oct. 19 to 201,049 on Monday, October 26. That is a statewide increase of 27,158 cases. The number of deaths increased from 1,600 to 1,788, an additional 188 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

According to the Tuesday, Oct. 27 issue of Up North News, It took seven-and-a-half months for Wisconsin to go from one person infected with the coronavirus to 100,000 cases of COVID-19. It took 36 days to double the number of infections to 200,000. Once again, Wisconsin’s already packed hospitals are seeing a record number of COVID-19 patients. There are 1,350 people needing hospital care for the respiratory illness caused by the virus, and 329 of them are in intensive care units, according to a daily dashboard maintained by the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

Gov. Tony Evers announced last Friday that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported the highest single-day COVID-19 death count with an additional 48 Wisconsin lives lost an the first patient has been admitted to the Alternate Care Facility (ACF) at Wisconsin State Fair Park, which serves as the overflow facility for hospitals across the state. 

 “We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today,” said Gov. Evers. “Folks, please stay home. Help us protect our communities from this highly-contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to break records, Gov. Evers and DHS urge Wisconsin residents to stay home as much as possible to stop the spread, reduce the strain on the healthcare system, and to save lives. 

 “With record high numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations, and staffing shortages, there has never been a more critical time for Wisconsinites to act and help stop the spread,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “That's why we ask all Wisconsinites to do their part. Stay home, wear a mask and stay six feet apart when you go out for your essential errands, avoid gatherings and events, and wash your hands. These steps are some of the most effective tools we have to overcome this pandemic.”

The ACF will now accept patients who meet specific clinical criteria directly from hospitals' Emergency Departments, administer Remdesivir, and increase its oxygen treatment capability. DHS will be updating the number of patients at the ACF every day by 2 p.m. For more information about the facility, please visit the DHS website here. To protect patient privacy, DHS will only be reporting daily census at this time. 

Crawford Countysaw 28 new cases, increasing to 324. There have been no deaths in the county.

Crawford County Public Health would like community members to be safe and stay healthy this Halloweento slow the spread of COVID-19. Remember that large gatherings and close contact with people outside of your household increase your risk. So, this year, find new ways to celebrate that don’t involve big in-person parties or traditional trick-or-treating.

The Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends the following events not take place this year:

• Large Outdoor Gatherings: holding and/or attending parties, festivals and parades is not recommended.  Even though being outside decreases the risk, being in close contact with people you don’t live with increases the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19.

• In-person Indoor Celebrations: in-person costume contests and parties are not recommended, no matter where they might be held.

• Happy Hours or Socializing at Bars: we’ve learned that when groups of people socialize close to others the virus spreads quickly.

• Traditional Trick-or-Treating from Neighbor to Neighbor: going house-to-house and having in-person contact is not recommended.

You can still enjoy the holiday. Just celebrate with fewer people in-person and/or more people online.

• Hold Virtual Costume Contests and Parties: dress up. Get online with friends and other families to celebrate and rate each other’s costumes.

• Make it Special at Home: increase what you do at home.  Decorate where you live. Get the kids involved in making decorations. Bake Halloween-themed treats. Watch scary movies with your family, household, or as a group online.

• Trick-or-Treating More Safely (not recommended): leave individual grab bags (or paper cups) filled with goodies outside your door for children to take. If you can, watch and wave to trick-or-treaters through a window. Or, leave Halloween treats outside the door for a contact-free way of celebrating.

• Visit or Create Drive-through Experiences: instead of close contact in a confined space events such as haunted housed, be creative and offer experiences while keeping social distance.

• Stay Local: avoid the urge to attend events in another town – it can lead to greater spread of the virus.


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 65 cases in the last week, increasing to 485. The number deaths has increased by one to three.

Richland Countysaw an increase of 79 cases, increasing to 449. The number of deaths in the county increased by two to eight.

Monroe Countysaw an increase of 170 cases in the last week, going from 965 to 1,135. The number of deaths in the county increased by five to nine.

Juneau Countysaw an increase in cases of 96, growing to 771. The number of deaths in the county remained at five. 

LaCrosse Countyhas continued to see an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 286, going from 3,817 to 4,103. The number of deaths increased by two to 21.

On Sunday, Oct. 25, the LaCrosse Tribune reported that the county’s weekly new case trend is again climbing. The county has averaged 46.43 new cases per day over the past seven days, up from 43.86 on Saturday and 31.86 a week ago.

 Of Sunday’s new cases, 20 were people in their 20s and 10 were people in their 50s. There was one new case of people ages 0-9, four of people ages 10-19, six in their 30s, eight in their 40s, five in their 60s, three in their 70s and one of people at least 90 years old.

The county’s seven-day positivity rate rose sharply Sunday and is at 17.72 percent, up from 10.70 percent on Saturday and 12.26 percent a week ago. The 14-day rate increased to 15 percent, up from 14.58 percent on Saturday and 11.24 percent a week ago.

The La Crosse County Health Department, the Wisconsin National Guard, and other Western Region Health Departments, are hosting numerous COVID-19 testing events in a variety of locations though the end of this year.

These COVID-19 testing events are primarily for residents living in the Western Region of Wisconsin, those aged five or over and who are experiencing at least one symptom of COVID-19. Testing is also open to those who need a COVID-19 test for travel, close contacts of a positive case, and individuals working at assisted living or long-term care facilities. Symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild and include; fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell. Testing will be done by nasal swab and there is no cost to participate.

No insurance or insurance card necessary. Test result turnaround time is approximately 3-5 days.

We encourage those who are being tested to register online to save time and reduce wait times. The link to register can be found here:

Testing dates and locations for the next seven days are as follows:

Viroqua: Thursday, October 29, Vernon County Fairgrounds, 210 Fairgrounds Road 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 216 cases in the last week, going from 1,620 to 1,836. The number of deaths in the county increased by four to 30.

Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of 66 cases in the last week, increasing to 529. The number of deaths in the county remains at one.

Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of 87 cases in the last week, increasing to 457. The number of deaths in the county remains at one.