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Collaborative metrics split between caution and satisfactory

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Screenshot 2020-09-16 162744
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The growing number of new cases in La Crosse County stands out in the latest update put out by the Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative.

The efforts between the county, Gundersen Health System, and Mayo Clinic Health System showed Satisfactory in four of the nine metrics they use to gauge the level of concern for the spread of COVID-19 in La Crosse County.

Two of the top three metrics, the 7-day hospitalization rate, hospitalization capacity are both in the green on the collaborative website.

Two other metrics, the Daily testing goal and Testing turnaround time, also were in the satisfactory range.

The third metric, New case rate, has grown to 67.9 per 100,000 cases/day. The collaborative cites an increase in the number of cases among people between 20-29.

Currently, there are two kinds of tests that are used to detect the virus. PCR tests, that detect the virus's genetic material, and Antigen tests, that produce quicker results, detecting specific proteins on the surface of the virus. Antigen tests are more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection compared to the traditional PCR test. And La Crosse County's COVID-19 Collaborative says that's why Antigen results are not included in the data they share.

"It does not include what we call antigen testing, which is the surveillance testing that we know particularly UW-L's campus is utilizing," said Jennifer Rombalski, the health department director. "They will not be counted -- negative or positive result -- until a positive is confirmed by PCR."

Based on the metrics, the Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative is highly recommending the following to keep the community healthy and safe:

1. If you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, stay home and reach out to healthcare to get tested.

2. If you have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, quarantine for 14 days and ONLY get tested if symptoms occur. If you are asymptomatic, ONLY get tested if you develop symptoms or are advised by county health officials.

3. If you need to be tested, please call medical facilities prior to arrival for screening purposes and pre-registration.

4. Wear a mask and keep a 6-foot distance when with others outside your household.

5. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

6. Businesses should prioritize and/or resume active screening of employees. Symptomatic employees should stay home.

7. Organizations that care for populations vulnerable to COVID-19 including older adults, individuals at high risk or with underlying health conditions, etc. should limit visitors and increase screening of employees.

8. Avoid unnecessary travel.

9. Personal social gatherings are not recommended

10. Minimize mass gatherings in businesses, public buildings, and venues. Capacity should be limited to 25% of total capacity OR 50 people indoors (100 outdoors) whichever is less. Masks and physical distancing should be required.

11. Avoid businesses and locations that are not following recommendations on masks, physical distancing, and capacity limits.

A statement from the collaborative said that they are closely monitoring the number of cases that may result from public and private schools.

Find additional COVID-19 coverage here

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