Local hospitals to no longer report coronavirus data to the CDC

Trump administration ordering hospitals to instead send information to the White House

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Hospitals in La Crosse may no longer report coronavirus information to the CDC, as the Trump administration is ordering hospitals to instead send data to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Anything that bypasses essentially the national health department, which is the CDC, is very concerning to me,” La Crosse County Health Department director Jen Rombalski said.

The HHS reports directly to President Trump, but the data the organization collects won’t be seen by the public.

“I don’t like to see politics get in the way of the way that data-driven analysis, data collection and response can happen,” Rombalski said.

Rombalski says without public information available, it makes it more difficult for the health department to educate the community about the coronavirus.

“It then means that we are utilizing resources in a way that may not be as efficient,” Rombalski said. “And then takes our time and energy potentially away from where our response should really be, which is preventing cases in the first place.”

But the new change will not impact communication between the health department and local hospitals.

In a statement to News 8 Now, Gundersen Health System says, “While reporting requirements are sorted out at the federal level, we will continue prioritizing care for patients and providing testing for those who meet our criteria, while partnering with local and state public health officials on testing capacity and COVID-19 care best practices.”

Rombalski says she is less concerned about the impact Trump’s new system will have locally. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t have an affect on the La Crosse area.

“National impact can come down and impact states and locals as well,” Rombalski said.

Rombalski adds the health department also gets data from local hospitals and other local sources.

News 8 Now also contacted Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. The hospital says it is monitoring the situation.