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La Crosse County health dept. may need reworking, because of COVID

Brad Williams

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The COVID-19 outbreak has messed up the American economy, including government programs. 

La Crosse County administrator Steve O’Malley says a lot of the county health department staff and budget will have to be devoted to the virus in 2021.

“We’re going to be having ongoing pandemic response in the new year,” O’Malley tells the county board. “To what level, we’re uncertain, but we’re not going to be able to completely ignore all other health priorities to only respond to the pandemic.”    

O’Malley says about 75 per cent of the health staff has been assigned to pandemic-related work this year, and restructuring may be needed. 

However, he predicts that Washington is likely to reimburse much of that spending, so tax spending on the health department may not have to be increased.  

O’Malley laid out tentative budget plans for county supervisors on Monday.

A county budget for 2021 will be approved in November.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.