County COVID cases continue to fluctuate
While the initial number of new COVID-19 cases in Trempealeau County and the rate in which positive results were received were lower than average, a spike over the weekend showed that Trempealeau County is not out of the woods yet.
As of Monday morning, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 16 new cases last week with a positivity rate of 7.5 percent, but by Monday afternoon those numbers increased to 33 new cases with a rate of 13 percent.
“The decrease in cases was very hopeful,” Kaila Baer, TCHD information officer said. “Unfortunately, there were 17 new cases over the weekend.”
Baer said the health department hasn’t found a link to the cases. The most recent update of the health department’s metric showed that 80 percent of the new cases within the past seven days were due to community spread, which means they have an unidentified origin. As of Monday morning, Baer said there were 46 active cases, but that total did not include several cases added to the DHS website Monday afternoon.
The DHS website showed the most infected area last week was Trempealeau with nine new cases. Last week was the first time since April that Arcadia didn’t have the most new cases as that area had five last week. Independence and Galesville also both had five.
Over the past two weeks, Arcadia has had 14 new cases, while Trempealeau has had 13, Whitehall and Independence, eight; Galesville, seven, Blair/Ettrick, six; Osseo, four and Eleva/Strum, one.
Information released by the health department last week Wednesday indicated there had been three new cases amongst school-aged individuals (ages five-to-19), all between the ages of five and 14. Since the start of school on Aug. 27, there have been seven cases reported amongst school-aged individuals. The most recent data did not include the cases that were reported over the weekend, however.
Neither the county health department nor the area school districts have indicated which districts the school-aged cases are from. The Times requested such information from the health department last week, but received no response. One nearby school, Cochrane-Fountain City in Buffalo County has closed its high school and postponed all sports until Sept. 21 after reporting six cases.
Another neighboring county, La Crosse, reported record-numbers of cases several days last week. Most are considered to be related to the universities in the county reopening. The Trempealeau County Health Department has advised residents to use caution when visiting neighboring counties.
“We recommend avoiding events, gatherings or situations in which you cannot maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others,” Baer said. “It’s important to continue wearing a mask and washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer when outside of your home as well.”