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Teen back from Florida newest confirmed case of COVID-19 in La Crosse County

Teen back from Florida newest confirmed case of COVID-19 in La Crosse County

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A local teen has been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing La Crosse County’s total of lab confirmed cases to 20.

The patient, a female in her late teens, had traveled to Florida about two weeks ago, Jen Rombalski, director of the La Crosse County Health Department, reported during a Friday press conference. The case is under investigation and those believed to have been exposed will be notified immediately.

Of all those diagnosed with COVID 19 in La Crosse County, 14 are recovered and one of the two hospitalized patients has returned home. On the state level, as of early afternoon Friday, there were 1,916 total positive cases of the virus, with 487 hospitalizations and 37 deaths. Of all the COVID-19 tests conducted, 22,377 have been negative.

During the press conference, Sarah Johnson, mental health director for the La Crosse Area Family YMCA, spoke on mental health in the midst of COVID-19, acknowledging the stress, fear and anxiety surrounding the virus and related precautionary isolation.

“We are facing something none of us have experienced in our lives,” Johnson says. “It’s really, really important to be responsive (to our feelings).”

Finding ways to creatively reach out, treating others with kindness and compassion, and maintaining calm are imperative, Johnson says, noting that “While we cannot physically lean on each other right now, we can emotionally lean on (each other).”

Rombalski during the press conference relayed National Public Health Week kicks off Monday, stating that “It is ironic to find ourselves celebrating Public Health Week during the COVID-19 pandemic, but perhaps the timing is appropriate.”

In the midst of the pandemic, the La Crosse County Health Department continues to address the core components of mental health, maternal and child health, violence prevention, environmental health, healthy homes, economics and education, Rombalski says.

The community is asked to commemorate the week by helping their neighbors stay healthy by staying home — though those eligible to donate blood are encouraged to do so — checking in with each other by phone, giving food to area pantries or visiting for ways to volunteer while social distancing.

Rombalski finished the press conference by reminding families to celebrate Easter only with their household members and to have just one person leave the house to purchase groceries or other essentials. Young children should remain at home.

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