La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat and health officials remind people to wear masks as COVID-19 cases soar in June

COVID-19 case total rises from 40 to 428 in 48 days in La Crosse County

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse County has seen COVID-19 cases take a significant jump to 428 total cases in the past 48 days. City officials are working to slow the spread, but they say they need the community’s help to protect people.

“We’re all very concerned about the recent uptick in case numbers,” said La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat during Monday’s La Crosse Unified Command meeting.

The idea the COVID-19 curve was flattened in La Crosse County ended as fast as summer began.

“We are doing everything within the city’s ability and authority to try to slow the spread of COVID-19,” he said.

Kabat said city officials are stressed with efforts to slow it down.

“I think at this point we are getting beyond the simple encouragement,” Kabat said. “We really need to start asserting more direct action to help each other and protect each other.”

The county’s caseload has soared to 428 cases since Safer at Home was struck down. The surge in cases has forced several downtown La Crosse bars and restaurants to close for a second time. It has also forced the city to close two of its larger beaches.

Most city facilities have had to close and if the surge continues students may not be able to return to campus this fall. All of these things are all impacts on convenience, but health experts want people to consider the impact on human life.

“By putting a face covering on I’m protecting the elderly person who I might pass by in the grocery store,” said Bridge Pfaff, with infection control at Gundersen Health System. “I’m protecting other people. It’s not necessarily about myself.”

Leaders like Kabat and Pfaff are reminding the community that everyone has a responsibility during this pandemic.

“In the meantime we all are encouraging our residents to do the right thing by limiting travel, by social distancing, wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene, and avoiding groups of people outside of your household,” Kabat said.

This doesn’t mean people should wear a mask everywhere they go. Pfaff said it is good to take breaks. She said it is best to wear them where there are a lot of people.

“People shouldn’t wear the same mask for days on end without cleaning it,” she said. “There are some risks if we’re not doing things correctly.”

She said experts will learn new things about this virus for the next half-century.

“Do we think it’s the one solution that’s going to prevent COVID? No,” she said. “We expect that we’re going to have some peaks and valleys throughout the next couple of years.”

For more information on masks visit these resources. (CDC) (WHO)