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La Crosse health director says hold out on cancelling events, even ones just weeks away

Rick Solem



PHOTO: Bob Good
FILE - Downtown La Crosse during Oktoberfest. (Bob Good Photography Studios)

The popular word the past few months has been “uncertainty.” 

It’s been used pretty liberally for just about everything, because just about everything pertains to the questions surrounding COVID-19.

But, where the word does actually need to be used is when trying to predict if an event will happen weeks or months down the road. 

La Crosse County Health director Jen Rombalski says, try and hold out, if you’re planning an event.

“That is very difficult to gauge, whether or not you should cancel an event,” Rombalski said Wednesday. “And we have not recommended, routinely, for events to be cancelled that far out. 

“In fact, we had been contacted recently about one that’s going to occur in early June and we said, ‘If you can wait, a couple weeks, then we’ll have more information about where we’re at.'”

Events, however, have already been cancelled. Like all high school sports, including the WIAA state track and field meet set for June 5-6 at UW-La Crosse. Also, Irishfest in La Crosse, set for August was cancelled, but partly due to the Twin Cities and Milwaukee Irishfests getting the shaft.

Other events are still holding out hope, like Riverfest over July 4th weekend in La Crosse, as well as the city’s Oktoberfest celebration that begins Sept. 24. Then again, Germany did already cancel its Oktoberfest, which starts a week earlier.

So, the “uncertainty” remains.  

Wisconsin’s “stay-at-home” order lifts May 26, but it’s not just a question of things re-opening, it’s how will things re-open? 

And, a month from now, the virus will still be around. It’s just a matter of how prevalent. It can be unpredictable. 

“We expect to see multiple peaks of this virus,” Rombalski said. “That this is just the first peak. We don’t know if additional peaks, when they will happen, how big they’ll be.”

Rombalski has been doing community press conferences three times a week. Beginning next week, though, those briefings will be cut to just Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:30 p.m. and can be seen on the WIZM Facebook page.

4/29/20: La Crosse Co. Health Department COVID-19 Briefing

4/29: La Crosse Co. Health Department COVID-19 Update

Posted by 1410 WIZM – La Crosse's News Station on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM and "liberal hack" | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse