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Despite surge in cases — and a high demand on testing — a county-wide shutdown in La Crosse isn’t likely



Indoor service at bars have been ordered closed in Madison by Dane County health officials to help slow the spread, again, of COVID-19. Restaurants there will be limited to 25 percent capacity.

Probably not happening in La Crosse County, despite cases surging over the past two weeks.

“We can write an order relating to that specific business,” county health director Jen Rombalski said, if a business fails to take measures after an outbreak of the virus. “It is not my understanding that the health officer authority is clear around writing broad orders across sectors of the community.”

Rombalski’s thoughts were similar when it came to masks, but for different reasons.

“I want to be really clear,” she said. “We can’t enforce something like a mandate of masks, or face coverings, across the whole population. Even if we had the authority to do that, which I don’t believe we do, we would never be able to enforce such an order.”

Rombalski, speaking Wednesday during a public briefing, added that, because enforcement would be nearly impossible, mandating masks throughout a community would basically be worthless. It’s up to individual businesses to have such rules, which they can implement and enforce.

As cases continue to hover around 20 a day in the county, it appears as though testing cannot keep up and the idea that ‘If somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested,’ is still not a reality — at least not in La Crosse County.

“We don’t currently have capacity to support that need,” Rombalski said. “I do know of at least one situation, where someone was told from a disease investigator at the state that they could get tested, even if they weren’t symptomatic, and that isn’t the reality locally.

“We are meeting with our healthcare partners. We’re really trying to understand, in detail, how many tests we can actually do, and for what types of situations.”

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

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