Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative concerned by high case rate

La Crosse County Health Department asks newly-diagnosed people to notify contacts themselves

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative released Wednesday labels the new case rate as concerning in La Crosse County and warns that the La Crosse County Health Department has reached capacity when it comes to contacting new cases.

The new case rate is 97 per 100,000 per day for the week ending in Sept. 20 and growing, according to the update.

“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,” said the La Crosse County Health Department in a statement.

It is asking any newly-diagnosed person with COVID-19 to visit https://lacrossecounty.org/covid19/if-you-have-been-exposed and isolate themselves immediately and follow the instructions on the website. Diagnosed people need to personally notify anyone they have had close contact with about their positive test result and direct their contacts to quarantine.

La Crosse County has continued to see a surge of cases in young adults. From Sept. 14-20, 80.4% of cases were in those between the ages of 18 and 24, which has far reaching impacts, according to the La Crosse County Health Department.

“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,” according to the health department. “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.”

Community stakeholders are developing ways to reach out to that population.

The update also lists the new hospitalizations rate as 4.05 per 100,000 per day and the hospitalization care capacity as satisfactory.

The community, public health and testing metrics are mostly labeled as a matter of “concern,” according to the update. The metrics include cases interviewed, identified contacts traced, contacts reached in 1-2 days, testing turnaround time and the positive test ratio.

The only secondary metric labeled satisfactory is the daily testing goal, which the health department notes is difficult to determine during a surge.

The health department advised the community to avoid unnecessary travel and anticipate exposure to COVID-19 when in public or associating with people outside their households. It recommends avoiding businesses and locations that are not following recommendations on masks, physical distancing and capacity limits. Personal social gatherings are not recommended.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are instructed to isolate themselves at home and notify anyone they have been in contact with that they need to follow quarantine instructions found at https://lacrossecounty.org/covid19/if-you-have-been-exposed.

People with symptoms need to call a medical facility to be tested for COVID-19 or visit https://lacrossecounty.org/covid19/testing-information for information on testing sites.

Wear a mask, keep six feet away from others outside your household, wash your hands frequently and stay home when sick.

For the full report, click here: Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative Update