With an overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases and test requests in recent weeks, the La Crosse County Health Department said it can currently only test those who show symptoms of the virus.
Health Director Jen Rombalski acknowledged the frustration of individuals and businesses who may be a close contact with someone who tested positive. She also recognized how people can be asymptomatic, showing no symptoms, and still test positive for COVID-19 and spread it.
“Always, our first priority has to be making sure that individuals who have any symptoms of COVID-19 are able to get tested because that is the front line defense for us to prevent wider transmission or spread,” Rombalski said. “We know that it is possible. We know it is possible for individuals to not be symptomatic, but again this comes back to capacity.”
She added COVID-19 could take 2-14 days to develop, leading to false negatives if people get tested too soon.
As of Tuesday, the health department reported 444 total positive cases with 206 considered recovered. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 11,887 negative tests completed in the county.
There will be another National Guard testing site at Logan High School July 10 from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
While the health department does not recommend large 4th of July gatherings, Rombalski admitted it is almost inevitable to stop the population completely. She offered guidance to help slow the spread of the virus which included hosting gatherings outside, remaining six feet apart, wearing fabric face coverings, washing hands frequently, and having hand sanitizer available.
She warned to avoid common-touch surfaces and sharing utensils. Condiments could be made available for guests in pre-made cups that avoid touching the same jars or bottles.