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La Crosse County reports potential COVID-19 exposure in two locations

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The La Crosse County Health Department said late Sunday afternoon that there's a potential risk for COVID-19 at two locations in the county earlier this month.

Here is the statement from the health department explaining the situation.

The La Crosse County Health Department is reporting potential risk for community exposure to COVID-19 at two locations in La Crosse County on March 11, 2020.

On March 22, 2020, the La Crosse County Health Department became aware of an individual, who is not a resident of La Crosse County, who developed symptoms of COVID-19 on March 12 and subsequently developed severe disease and is hospitalized. On March 11th, the day before developing symptoms, this individual attended a funeral at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Onalaska, from approximately 4:00pm to 6:00pm. Following the funeral, this individual dined at Red Lobster, Onalaska between 6:15pm and 7:30pm.

Health Department staff are uncertain of the number of people exposed and think that the risk for most people is likely to be low; despite this, we are issuing guidance to ensure that the public is aware and able to act based on that information. Public health recommedations are that those who attended the funeral between 4pm and 6pm at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Onalaska, or who were at Red Lobster between 6:15pm and 7:30pm stay home from work and social activities, monitor themselves until March 26th, and seek medical care if severe symptoms develop. We also request that anyone who thinks they may have been exposed identify themselves to the La Crosse County Health Department using the following form:

Symtoms of COVD-19 may include cough, tiredess, muscle aches, fever, difficulty breathing, and sore throat. Rarely, some people may develop an upset stomach. If individuals plan to seek medical care, they should call ahead and notify the clinic of the potential COVID-19 exposure so that precautions can be made to prevent futher spread.

It is not recommended that all people who attended the event seek testing. Testing supplies are limited and are being reserved for cases of severe illness, health care workers and long-term care residents.

**Here's what's new as of Monday**

Director of the La Crosse County Health Department Jen Rombalski says that notifying the public is really important due to the amount of people that could have been in contact. "The reason we notify those in the public is because we have no way to know at an event like that who was in close contact with that individual.," said Rombalski. "Again, he's in the hospital and we wanted to make sure that individuals in the community would be aware if they were at those locations they can utilize the form we've provided that will be located on our website."

Rombalski says that at least 45 people have already filled out the form that allows the county to further track the potential spread. If you were at either of these locations on March 11, you need to let the county know through the form on their website. From there, the county will contact you and will be screening on a case by case basis. The health director says there is no risk who've visited those locations after March 11.

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Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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