La Crosse County is recommending a return to indoor mask wearing, because of a new surge of COVID-19 cases.
The Delta variant is being cited as the likely cause for a sharp increase in the local spread of the virus.
The county has gone from roughly 4 new cases a week at the start of July to an average of 50 new cases during the past week.
The health department says anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask in public indoor sites, and at private gatherings which are indoors.
The county sent out this release on Friday:
The La Crosse County Health Department is strongly encouraging La Crosse County residents to return to wearing masks indoors, including those who have been vaccinated.
The new recommendation from public health officials follows an increase in COVID-19 cases in La Crosse County. The increase in cases is likely caused by the delta variant, which has been spreading rapidly around the nation. La Crosse County’s 7-day case rate on July 28, including both confirmed and probable cases, was 50 cases/100,000 population/week, a more than 10-fold increase from 4.2 cases/100,000 population/week on July 1.
“COVID-19 is still very much present in our community, and we are seeing a concerning increase in cases,” said Audra Martine, Director of the La Crosse County Health Department. “This is why we are strongly recommending that anyone over the age of 2 wear a mask in public indoor spaces and at indoor private gatherings.”
Local data currently indicates that La Crosse County has a “high” level of community transmission. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended communities with “substantial” or “high” transmission levels return to indoor masking for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
The delta variant can spread much faster than the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. Although “breakthrough” infections are possible (when a vaccinated person becomes infected), the COVID-19 vaccines offer good protection against the delta variant. In rare cases when a vaccinated person is infected, they are much less likely to become seriously ill. As of July 28, the unvaccinated 7-day case rate was more than 4 times higher than the vaccinated 7-day case rate, underscoring how effective and important vaccination is as a tool to fight COVID-19.
“We need your help to try and stay ahead of this,” said Monica Kruse, La Crosse County Board Chair. “Please take the simple action of wearing a mask when necessary to protect each other, and if you have not already, please get vaccinated.”
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are vaccinated, should stay at home, and get tested. To find out where you can get tested in La Crosse County, go to https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/testing.htm. For information on where to get a vaccine, go to https://www.vaccines.gov/search/.