As La Crosse County edges back to high COVID-19 level, what to know about the BA.5 Omicron variant

LA CROSSE (WKBT) —  New COVID-19 variants are driving up virus-related hospitalizations and deaths across the country.

Dr. Greg Poland of Mayo Clinic Health System says the BA.5 variant can infect anyone, whether they are vaccinated, unvaccinated or have caught the virus before.

But if you are vaccinated, Poland said you still have good protection against death, hospitalization or being put on a ventilator.

“Right now we don’t have any evidence that it leads to a higher death rate, so that’s good, but nonetheless among the unvaccinated with this variant, they are about five-fold more likely to get infected than those who have been vaccinated or boosted,” Poland said.

La Crosse County is back to high COVID-19 community levels.

Surrounding Wisconsin counties remain at medium or low levels of transmission.

The La Crosse County Health Department advises everyone to wear a well-fitting mask in public spaces, get tested if you feel sick or are exposed and stay home when you feel sick or test positive.

The department also advises making sure you are up to date on vaccinations.

Recent News Headlines from News 8 Now 

La Crosse School Board to talk budget at Monday meeting 

TSA PreCheck enrollment event coming to La Crosse Regional Airport 

Public hearing planned for Capital Improvement Budget in La Crosse 

Temporary parking changes in La Crosse during maintenance