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UPDATE: Eau Claire City- County Health Department gives COVID-19 update

Eau Claire County now has 218 positive cases of COVID-19. That is an increase of 10 from Sunday and 38 new cases since Friday.
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 3:26 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Cases are on the rise in Eau Claire County.

“If 38 people have been diagnosed in the last three days, that’s alarming” said Linda Davis.

It comes at the same time states around the country, and counties across Wisconsin, are also seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“This weekend illustrates what we’ve been trying to avoid. In Eau Claire we had 14 cases reported on both Saturday and Sunday and another 10 today. We really are challenged with cases increasing in this community in a rapid way,” said Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese.

The 38 new cases come after the health department identified multiple bars and restaurants where there were possible exposures.

Giese says she believes most of these new positive cases resulted from people not socially distancing or not wearing masks.

“Situations where people are in close contact with one another, either in the work site, through social activities or through home activities where they are coming in close contact and spreading the disease because they’re not following that physical distance, and cloth face covering recommendation,” explained Giese.

The rise giving some people concern.

“They need to stay home, they need to grow up you know. If anything really, really bad happens these people aren’t going to be able to handle it,” said Davis.

While other people in the area say they believe the county has done a good job at slowing the spread, minus a few people.

“Those are the people you have to worry about the most if you want to be alarmed, but they are very few and far between based on what I’ve seen. I’m not too worried,” said Casey Stead.

Monday afternoon, the City-County Health Department announcing two new potential exposures.

Brothers on June 23 and 24 between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m, and at The Pickle on those same days between 12 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

“We do expect to see diseases continue to be present in this community and the count to rise,” said Giese.

While COVID-19 case numbers are going up in the county, Giese says the number of tests being performed is staying relatively flat.

She says the county has the capacity to test more people, but is working on a plan to make it easier for more people to get tested, as well as people showing little to no symptoms.

The Eau Claire City-County and Chippewa County Health departments held a COVID-19 update on Monday afternoon. A recap is available below.

EAU CLAIRE COUNTY COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR JUNE 29th:

218 positive cases (increase of 10 from Sunday and 38 since Friday)

8,216 negative test results (increase of 580)

149 recovered

This weekend illustrates what they were trying to avoid, a large increase of cases (38) in three days. A lot of the cases could have been avoided by social distancing.

CHIPPEWA COUNTY COVID-19 NUMBERS FOR JUNE 29th:

85 positive cases

4,486 negative test results

65 recovered

20 monitoring

They health departments ask people to consider the risks of COVID-19 when planning their 4th of July activities. Keep a record of who attended to help potential contact tracing. Where masks if you cannot socially distance yourself.

The CDC updated the people who are considered at high risk. No specific age is now listed as being at the higher risk, instead it shows as age increases, as do the risks to catch it. There are more conditions as well that are now considered higher risk.

The local situation can change quickly. Physical distancing helps slow the spread of the disease.

QUESTIONS:

Where are the new cases coming from?

-The initial investigation shows it is primarily from people in close contact that are not following physical distancing or wearing face coverings. Also people with mild symptoms who are choosing to be out (and not tested) are spreading the disease.

Are there concerns they will need to change the local health order?

They review the data once a week and the disease measurements will look worse. The local health order helps slow spread, but is not a perfect solution to prevent disease.

Do they expect the numbers to continue to rise?

-It takes time for a health order to affect the disease, as it also takes time for the disease to spread, but they expect the count to rise. They want it to be slow. There is no “Stay at Home” order, so there will be spread of the disease in the community.

Is there a sense that people are getting too relaxed about the disease?

-They are hearing about it from both sides of the spectrum with perception to the disease. The Chippewa Valley has many strong partners working together to do the right things and it will take all of us working together to slow the spread.

Is there a need for more testing capacity in the area?

-The testing rate has been fairly flat in the area. Working on strategies to increase the number of tests being taken. They want to make sure that the capacity is being utilized fully including for outbreak response and those who are most vulnerable.

Are there people with symptoms that are not getting tested?

-Anybody with any level of symptoms should be tested. This is to make sure those who are positive are known so they can prevent them from spreading the disease.

Are they working with the LE Phillips Library?

-Yes, they have been working with them as they start in-person appointments.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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