La Crosse County health experts are confident in new COVID-19 risk assessment

La Crosse County transitions to Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative risk tool to improve understanding about virus spread in community.
Lax Co. Health Q&a

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse County has a new way of measuring COVID-19 safety risk this week. The COVID-19 Compass report is gone. The Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative will provide insight into how the community is doing with the spread.

This country has a problem it cannot see. People are trying to live their lives in the midst of COVID-19. Health leaders, such as La Crosse County Health director Jen Rombalski, have a responsibility to help shine a light on this invisible problem.

“I think primarily this new model will allow the data to speak for itself,” Rombalski said.

La Crosse County used to show how severe COVID-19 spread was in the community.

“The previous process was very transparent,” she said. “We want this process to be as transparent as well.”

Like most information in 2020, research improves, and the new information helps create new approaches to understanding virus risk in La Crosse County.

“The biggest difference is that it is more flexible and that it doesn’t have an overall indicator light,” Rombalski said.

La Crosse County officials will release data from the Coulee COVID-19 Collaborative every Friday. The new risk assessment includes nine different markers to show COVID-19 spread risk level.

“The previous model wasn’t perfect,” Rombalski said. “No model is going to be perfect.”

The hope is the new assessment will provide people with clear information so they can make informed decisions. Rombalski said she has spoken with leaders in counties surrounding La Crosse. Data will be provided for those counties as well.

“It’s just that the recommendation would be specific to La Crosse County,” Rombalski said.

Neighboring counties would be responsible for their own recommendations regarding COVID-19 risk. Rombalski said she’s optimistic the community will follow health experts’ advice based on this new data.

“When we work together we can decrease spread which is really what this is about,” she said.

Great Rivers United way does a survey for its Compass Now assessment.  That is a separate report to highlight community needs in the region. The Compass Now is not related to the old COVID-19 Compass.

Health leaders ask people to fill out the survey if they receive one. The deadline for the survey is August 28.