La Crosse experts say people should practice safety precautions against COVID-19

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — As Omicron spreads across the nation, some people argue there should be fewer precautions because they believe everyone will eventually get the virus. Health officials disagree and say it’s more important than ever people avoid large gatherings.

COVID cases continue to rise, but people are going about their day to day activities.

“It’s learning how to be safe with coexisting with the virus as opposed to blocking ourselves off,” Gundersen Health System infection preventionist Meghan Buechel said.

Co-existing also means practicing safety precautions.

“They’re all pieces to this puzzle that together, can keep people quite safe even in the midst of the surge that we’re seeing due to COVID19 right now,” Buechel said.

People on social media say they are tired of hearing about COVID. Facebook posts say “COVID will never go away.” Gundersen Health experts say people should think about the impact COVID has had.

“Again, I think we can’t lose sight of what COVID-19 is and what it has done to so many people in our communities and our families,” Buechel said.

Buechel says people should continue to avoid large gatherings.

“Hope and encourage people to kind of keep that in their consciousness as they decipher whether they would want to engage in that behavior for them and their families sake,” Buechel said.

Without precautions, County Health educator Paula Silha warns the virus will continue to mutate.

“It will change to the point where it will totally escape the protection of the vaccination or any of the treatments out there,” Silha said.

While some people believe Omicron is nothing more than a flu, for patients with underlying health conditions, it can be deadly.

“What I’m dealing with as far as a health issue might not be evident to anyone else,” Silha said. “What others deal with, they might not know about yet or might not be evident.”

Health officials encourage people to do most of the things they love, but while continuing to take necessary precautions like masking, washing hands, and get vaccinated.

“Continue moving forward and continuing to recognize the why behind the safe practices,” Buechel said.

La Crosse County Health Department says the peak of Omicron has not hit Wisconsin, yet. They are still expecting a rise in cases into at least next week.

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