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September 3: Weekly Driftless Area COVID-19 update
Labor Day and COVID

DRIFTLESS - Over the past week COVID-19 diagnoses statewide increased from 70,854 on Monday, August 24 to 75,603 on Monday, August 31. That is a statewide increase of 4,749 cases. The number of deaths increased from 1,081 to 1,122, an additional 41 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

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

According to the Tuesday, Sept. 1 issue of Up North News, without any advisory language, the Monday report from the state Dept. of Health Services showed only 266 new cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, on 3,818 tests, very near the lowest number of daily tests processed. It was the public health department of Madison and Dane County that put out an advisory saying the state database for tracking cases was down on Sunday.

"It's functional again," the department said on Twitter, "but [Monday's] dashboard numbers will look artificially low. Expect the numbers to change considerably [Tuesday] to reflect the reports we’re just now receiving."

Beyond the database issue, total test numbers have been down for the past several days. There were 5,099 tests reported Sunday, and 8,752 on Saturday. Testing volume has only exceeded 10,000 three times in the past 16 days.


The US death toll reached 183,000 on Monday as total coronavirus infections nationwide surpassed six million.

Crawford Countysaw eight new cases, increasing to 104. The number of negative tests increased by 460, and there have been no deaths in the county.

The Crawford County Public Health Department would like residents to be aware that we will no longer be calling to inform them of negative COVID-19 test results.  Riniker shares, “With more positive cases and other demands on our health department staff, we must transition away from time spent on reporting negative cases and focus more on active outbreaks and prevention of further spread.”   While the health department will not be calling everyone, we still want residents to be informed of  their test results in a timely matter.  Most results are reported to patient by the testing facility but if a person cannot get their test results, they are welcomed to call the Crawford County Public Health Department and we will give these results to you once they are available.

If you would like to nominate a business for our weekly spotlight, let us know the business name and how they are helping to slow the spread of COVID -19. You can nominate multiple ways: send a personal message to the health department through our Facebook page @CrawfordCountyPHD or call the office at 608-326-0229.

Vernon Countysaw an increase of 12 cases in the last week, increasing to 99. The number of negative tests increased by 370, and there have been no deaths.

The Viroqua Food Co-op provided the following update to their shoppers on Monday, August 31:

Yesterday we learned that a Viroqua Food Co+op staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The staff member in question last worked on August 27. Upon learning of the result, we moved quickly to notify our local health department to discuss our plan, notify the staff and implement a deep clean. We are following all recommended guidelines from public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and city, county, and state public health departments. 

When a person tests positive for COVID-19 in our community they are contacted and interviewed by the Vernon County Health Department (VCHD) who works to identify if that person has been in close contact with anyone. Individuals who were in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 should self-quarantine. VCHD or HR will contact any individuals who they determine may have had close contact with the individual who tested positive.

Across our Co-op, we ask staff exhibiting any symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home, contact our HR department, and notify their physician. VFC has a paid time off policy, and we work with employees on a case-by-case basis to ensure they have the support they need.

After rigorous cleaning and following CDC and VCHD recommendations, the store continues to remain open for business seven days a week from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Our Co-op prides itself on its cleanliness and food safety standards, and we are taking multiple steps to best serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community. We have implemented rigorous cleaning practices throughout our store, including more frequent cleanings of high-touch areas across our entire Co-op. 

Richland Countysaw an increase of 11 cases, increasing to 52. The number of deaths in the county remained at four.

Monroe Countysaw an increase of 19 cases in the last week, going from 264 to 283. Negative tests increased by 415, and the number of deaths in the county remains at two.

Juneau Countysaw an increase in cases of 61, growing to 245. The number of deaths in the county remains at two.

At outbreak at the New Lisbon Correctional Institute contributed 41 of the Juneau County’s 48 newest cases.

The Wisconsin National Guard did facility-wide Covid-19 testing Thursday and Friday. The New Lisbon Correctional Institution, Juneau County Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and Wisconsin Department of Health Services are investigating the outbreak details and coordinating mitigation and containment strategies. 

LaCrosse Countyhas continued to see an exponential increase in new cases in the last week of 153, going from 1.033 to 1,186. There has been one death in the county.

The Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative (a partnership between Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, LaCrosse County and other stakeholders) uses the Harvard Global Health Institute model as a guide for assessing level of concern for COVID-19 in La Crosse County.

The Coulee COVID-19 website ( updates on Fridays at 12 p.m. Moving forward, the website will be updated weekly by 3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Data for the week ending August 25: Metrics 1 – 3

• New case rate of 9.8 per 100,000 people- cautionary but trend increasing

• Seven-day case hospitalization rate – satisfactory

• Hospitalization care capacity (regional) – satisfactory

Commuity, public health and testing metrics 4 – 9

• Cases interviewed – satisfactory

• Identified contacts traced – satisfactory

• Contacts reached in one-to-two days – satisfactory

• Daily testing goal - satisfactory

• Testing turnaround time – cautionary but trend improving

• Positive test ratio – cautionary

Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 12 cases in the last week, going from 423 to 435. The number of deaths in the county grew by one to 17.

Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of two cases in the last week, going from 185 to 187. There have been no deaths in the county. 

Iowa Countyhas seen an increase of 11 cases in the last week, increasing to 121. There have been no deaths in the county.