More than half of Monroe County’s COVID-19 cases have been reported in Tomah, according to data released July 20 by the Monroe County Health Department.
The department reported 51.3% of the cases came from the people with a Tomah mailing address. Most of the remaining cases were from Sparta (30.8%). The others were from Warrens (5.1%), Norwalk (3.2%), Camp Douglas (2.6%), Cashton (1.9%) and other locations (5.1%).
People in their 20s lead the number of report cases with 23.7%. The remaining age distribution: 18.5% in their 50s, 17.3% in their 30s, 12.8% age 70 and older, 10.9% ages 0-19 and 7.1% in their 40s.
Eight percent of cases have required hospitalization.
The majority of cases (63.5%) developed after close contact with a confirmed individual. Community spread accounted for 30.1% of cases. Health officials define community spread as a case where the source of the infection can’t be identified and where the patient didn’t travel.
Travel outside the region accounted for 4.5% of cases.
The county’s caseload reached 171 July 24 after four new diagnoses were confirmed. One was a male in his 50s and the others were females in their 20s, 50s and between the ages of 15-19.
There were seven new cases Thursday — two males in their 50s, one male in his 40s, one male in his 20s, one male 15-19, one female in her 50s and one female in her 60s.
Starting last weekend, the county stopped issuing updates Saturday and Sunday and will include those two days in the Monday total. That’s consistent with many other health departments nationwide.
Through Friday, the county had 29 active cases, one current hospitalization, 141 recoveries and one death.
Monroe County remained in the “high risk” category, just one step below the highest category on a four-point scale posted by the Coulee COVID-19 Compass. The other categories are moderate and low risk.
La Crosse County was elevated to the high-risk category Wednesday. The county has reported at least one hospitalization every day in July. There have been 712 cases in the county with one death.
Health officials in La Crosse view the trend as a warning for the coming months.
“What’s going to happen in the fall, if every one of those people infected two more, and we’re getting 300, 400, 500 cases,” said Jacquie Cutts, the La Crosse County public health nursing manager. This is our warning sign.”
As summer heats up, more groups and families are gathering after months apart, spreading the disease to more than just those who were previously going to bars and beaches, Cutts said.
“People are really tired of having to stay apart and not go on vacation and wearing their mask,” she said. “But at the same time this is not the time to become complacent. This is the time when we have to up the game and stick it out.”
Wisconsin has reported 878 deaths through Friday. Nationwide, the death toll has topped 145,000 with more than 4.3 million confirmed cases.
Olivia Herken of the La Crosse Tribune contributed to this story.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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