by CHRIS ROGERS
Coronavirus infections were up significantly in Winona County this week. After falling to a low of 12 infections in seven days just two weeks ago, Winona County’s seven-day total rose to 31 cases as of Tuesday.
Nearly all of the recent new cases were people in their teens and 20s, Winona County Health and Human Services Director Karen Sanness said.
“We do need to be more careful as far as making sure that we’re being safe, wearing your mask, don’t touch your face, wash your hands, and just being sure that you’re maintaining that social distancing when out in the community,” Sanness advised. “You don’t know who is infected or exposed because some people just don’t know that they have it,” she added.
Trempealeau Co. keeps improving
In a promising sign, new infections are down in Trempealeau County. The county has wavered from 30-40 new cases a week for much of this month, but dropped to a weekly total of 19 new infections on Tuesday, the lowest since the beginning of July. Still, on a per-capita basis, the virus’ spread remains relatively high in the county.
“It does seem like our new case rate has been decreasing over the last several weeks, which is really hopeful that people are taking the recommendations seriously and the mask mandate seriously,” Trempealeau County Health Department Public Information Officer Kaila Baer said.
At the same time, Baer said local health officials are concerned about some upcoming large events. “We just want people, if they are going to participate, to just be smart about it and consider the risk as you do that,” she stated.
Buffalo County and beyond
COVID-19 infections rose this week in Buffalo County, but were still at a fairly low level, with seven new cases in as many days. That is up from a low of two cases in one week in mid-August.
New infections declined in Fillmore County, with four cases in the last seven days. New infections were down for the moment in Houston County, where there were just seven cases in the past week. Just a week ago, the seven-day total there had surged to 19 cases. Cases were steady in Wabasha County: 10 in the last seven days. Infections were steady in La Crosse County, 73 new cases in the last week, and COVID-19 transmission has been improving in Rochester’s Olmsted County, down from a high of 132 earlier this month to 77 new cases this week.
Got symptoms? Get tested
Health officials asked citizens to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks when in public, avoiding enclosed spaces with large groups of people, staying six feet away from others, covering coughs and sneezes, washing their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoiding touching their faces, and staying home when sick except to seek medical care. More information on how to protect yourself and your community and what to do if you get sick is available at cdc.gov, health.state.mn.us, and dhs.wisconsin.gov.
Health officials also asked anyone with any symptom of COVID-19 to seek testing. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In Winona, COVID-19 tests are available at the Winona Health Urgent Care clinic at 855 Mankato Avenue and at the Gundersen Health System Winona campus at 1122 West Highway 61. More information is available at www.winonahealth.org or www.gundersenhealth.org.
The La Crosse County Health Department will offer free, drive-through COVID-19 testing to anyone over age 5 with symptoms on Monday, August 31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 300 Fourth Street North in La Crosse, Wis.
Next Saturday, August 29, the Trempealeau County Health Department will offer free, drive-through COVID-19 testing to anyone over age 5 with symptoms from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arcadia High School, 756 Raider Drive in Arcadia.