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Health Department says COVID-19 cases increase after Safer at Home lifted

Health Department says COVID-19 cases increase after Safer at Home lifted

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Monroe County’s spike in COVID-19 cases has come as no surprise to the Monroe County Health Department.

Sharon Nelson, the county’s health department director, said in a press release Thursday that an increase in cases was inevitable after Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order was lifted. Evers had issued the order through May 26, but it was terminated two weeks earlier by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“We knew that there would be an increase in cases after Safer at Home was lifted,” Nelson wrote. “As people have more opportunities to come into close contact with one another, the more opportunities the virus has to spread.”

The number of confirmed cases in the county has nearly tripled since June 3, when only 18 cases were reported. The number of COVID-19 infections reached 49 Sunday, after the county reported the following cases:

  • Female in her 60’s, mild symptoms.
  • Male in his 90’s, mild symptoms.
  • Male in his 70’s, severe symptoms, hospitalized.

Saturday, the county reported one case of a woman in her 20s who had contact with another positive case. Her symptoms were moderate.

The county also reported six recoveries Sunday, leaving 19 actives cases, two hospitalizations, one death and 27 recoveries since mid-March.

Nelson said anyone who leaves home should assume the possibility of coming into contact with the virua.

“We want the public to take precautions to lower their risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, but we also don’t want people to panic,” Nelson said. “We will see times where cases spike and decrease, and we expect that this pattern will continue until we have a vaccine. Our goal is to keep cases at a level that is manageable given the tools and resources that we have.”

People who have been in contact with an infected person are notified by the health department. In most cases, high- and medium-risk contacts are advised to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Close contact is defined as:

  • Direct physical contact (hug, kiss, handshake).
  • Being within six feet for 15 minutes or more.
  • Contact with a person’s respiratory secretions, including being coughed or sneezed on or sharing items such as a drinking glass, food or towels.
  • Staying overnight in the same residence as an infected person.

“Based on this criteria, we don’t consider grocery shopping or going to the gas station as a high- or medium-risk contact unless you were having a 15-minute conversation in the grocery store aisle or at the gas pump,” Nelson said.

She said contacts have been receptive to quarantine requests.

“So far, we’ve had great cooperation from Monroe County residents, and we thank them for helping to protect other community members,” Nelson said.

In La Crosse County, an additional 23 residents have been lab-confirmed with COVID-19, the county’s public health department reported Sunday.

That makes a total of 267 confirmed cases in the county.

A total of 102 are listed as recovered, four are hospitalized and there have been zero deaths.

A total of 8,998 negative test results for La Crosse County have been reported by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services — an increase of 14 in the last day.

In Wisconsin, DHS reported Sunday there are 24,819 cases of COVID-19.

There are 3,220 listed as hospitalized and 744 deaths. Nationwide, the death toll topped 120,000 Sunday.

There is a total of 460,334 negative cases reported by the state.

Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at steve.rundio@lee.net.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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