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Community gets look at new Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The public learned more about the way the county and medical community presents data related to COVID-19.

In a briefing Friday afternoon, members of the La Crosse County Health Department, Gundersen Health System, and Mayo Clinic Health System discussed at length the new Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative.

Dr. Todd Kowalski with Gundersen Health System said that while the COVID-19 Compass was helpful at first, as new guidance and resources became available, they decided to come up with a new process.

"It is it is not an 'if this or that' type of formula and it is not a 'this color equals these responses,''' Dr. Kowalski said. "The data is what it is but people interpret the data to make sure we have the right context and understanding and then we make recommendations based upon that. I think that it is going to be more informed and better recommendation."

It is based on the Harvard Global Institute model but adapted for the La Crosse community's needs.

They include metrics such as daily case rate per 100,000 people on a 7-day average and hospitalization rate also on a 7-day average. It also has a metric for COVID care capacity in the area.

La Crosse County Health Department Director Jen Rombalski went over the metrics and community indicators and how they would look on a new website resource that they plan to roll out next week.

Besides the metrics, she discussed the community indicators of how the county is doing as it relates to the virus. They include percentage of contact tracing, daily testing goal, and positive test ratio.

The latest daily case data will also be a part of the new website.

Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald with Mayo Clinic Health System said the community was improving with the handling of the virus. News cases in the county have remained flat, he said.

"It would be re-assuring to know how things are going to be in September, October and November and if we had the ability to predict that I think we would but I think with the nature of pandemics we need to look at things to date and make recommendations based on that," Dr. Fitzgerald said. "People in the community need to be informed and be able to give us feedback."

Dr. Fitzgerald also reminded people to keep following the same procedures they've been using such as social distancing, wearing a face covering when outside your residence, and frequent handwashing.

According to the CDC, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

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