Masking indoors strongly encouraged, even for the vaccinated.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over as much as we would like it to be. The number of cases in La Crosse County has increased 163% in the past 4 weeks from 19 cases per week to 200 cases. The positivity rate for testing has increased from 1% to 6.5%. The highly contagious Delta variant is likely the virus causing rates in the region to increase. Cases of COVID-19 caused by the Delta variant impacts younger people and causes illness but those vaccinated have been shown to recover quicker.
In response to the current situation, the Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative has begun meeting regularly again. The La Crosse County Health Department will also begin sharing weekly case and data updates.
The good news:
• COVID-19 vaccinations are widely available, highly effective, and free.
• Over half of La Crosse County residents (56.4%) are fully vaccinated with rates varying by age group.
• Return to school, work, outdoor events, and normal activities can be successful when following recommendations to vaccinate, wear a mask, maintain physical distance and practice hand hygiene.
•COVID-19 testing is available and can help people make sound decisions on what activities are safe.
Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative recommends businesses, schools, childcare, and agencies that serve the community follow guidance from the Department of Public Instruction and the WI Department of Health Services that recommend everyone wear a face mask especially when indoor and in a public setting, whether vaccinated or not.
“Vaccination is the best tool for people to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection, but none of our tools are 100% perfect,” said Rajiv Naik, MD, pediatrician and vaccine specialist at Gundersen Health System. “Unlike the original virus, we have learned that those vaccinated can become infected with the Delta variant and can spread the virus. It is important to layer our protection with masking and distancing as well as vaccination.”
“Doing what we can as a community to prevent spread is key to getting through this recent surge and being able to participate in normal activities," said Kevin Fitzgerald, M.D., family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System. “If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and get tested.”
-Weekly case data is available at: https://www.lacrossecounty.org/covid19/casedata
-COVID-19 risk level can be found at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/local.htm#activity
Vaccination availability is available at: Vaccines.gov
Testing opportunities can be found at: Testing Information (lacrossecounty.org)