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UPDATE: La Crosse County Health urges event cancellation, masking indoors and out

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The La Crosse County Health Department is alerting community members the county is experiencing a very high COVID-19 transmission rates and is advising the cancellation of large gatherings.

“If you are out in the community, you are likely going to be exposed to COVID-19. We are seeing cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Outbreaks are being seen from both indoor and outdoor settings,” says Audra Martine, La Crosse County Health Department director.

The Health Department is “encouraging” cancellation of events or the implementation of prevention practices if individuals are not already doing so. Precautions including masking indoors and outdoors when with non-household members, physical distancing, hand washing and sanitation, and, for those eligible, vaccination.

Community members are also advised to stay home if experiencing any viral symptoms and to get tested for COVID-19.

“Public health and health care entities encourage vaccination as part of layered protection,” said Martine. “Fifty-nine percent of La Crosse County residents are fully vaccinated. Increasing our vaccination rate means more people are protected from virus infections. We’re here to help the public understand how to be best protected from COVID-19.”

The Tribune reached out to Oktoberfest officials regarding the health department’s recommendations to cancel large events and was directed to Oktoberfest’s COVID-19 webpage.

Oktoberfest is not requiring proof of vaccination, masking or a negative COVID test.

Instead, organizers are encouraging masking while indoors, and for those exposed or sick to stay home. Some events will also be livestreamed. Social distancing is recommended both indoors and out.

Oktoberfest, which draws tens of thousands, was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. This will be the event’s 60th year.

Emily Pyrek can be reached at


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