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Health Dept. addresses COVID-19 testing concerns

Kaitlyn Riley

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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.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in both radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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