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La Crosse Co. Health Dept. discontinuing COVID Compass, creating new tool

There have been five new positive cases reported in Boyd County.
There have been five new positive cases reported in Boyd County.(AP Images)
Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 6:08 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -

The La Crosse County Health Department has 12 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday.

The county is now at 889 cases in total with one fatality linked to the virus and five cases remain hospitalized.

Nine of today’s 12 new cases are people younger than 40.

Health officials say none of Friday’s positive cases are from Monday’s testing site at Logan High School.

The health department announced it will no longer be using the Covid Compass, which previously said what risk level the county was at.

Instead, the department is working with Gundersen and Mayo to create a new tool based off nine metrics.

Although many schools were using the compass to create back-to-school plans, Gundersen says they won’t be affected.

“They had always articulated that they would be re-evaluating their plans and they were going to do that based on the compass,” said Dr. Scott Rathgaber, Gundersen Health System CEO. “We believe we will have a better tool for them to evaluate going forward with this new process, so it doesn’t really change their timeline, it just provides them with a better metric and a better tool to make the good decisions that they have been making.”

Earlier this week the department said the county had its first reinfected COVID case.

While it’s not answering specific questions yet, Mayo did address the difference between reinfection and reactivation and the need for more research.

“There are all sorts of hypothesis as to why they would test positive twice and separated by time,” said Dr. Paul Mueller of Mayo Clinic Health System. “It could be a reinfection or a reactivation--they had the virus, it was held at bay and it re-emerged. I would defer to our scientists who are looking into how that might be. Hypothetically it could be a reinfection because we know the science tells us in some circumstances immunity wanes after our first natural infection. It also highlights why we need to continue the research on treatment and vaccines that provide a sustained immune response.”

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