Eau Claire County with a record high 37 positive test results of COVID-19 on Wednesday

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 2:18 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - During the past seven days, Eau Claire County has reported 199 new cases of COVID-19.

Of those, more than 100 are tied to UW-Eau Claire between students and faculty.

Health officials say they expected a rise in cases when school resumed, but not this many this fast.

Eau Claire County began the month of September with 801 cases of COVID-19.

Just more than a week into the month, that number has jumped to 1,037.

More than half of the cases this past week are people tied to UW-Eau Claire.

While the increase of cases is not surprising according to health officials, a picture taken by a community member and shared by Eau Claire City Council Member Andrew Werthmann on his Facebook page shows what appears to be a large group of people gathering outside an establishment last week.

“We get those calls of concern, seeing the recent spike in cases is clearly attributed to students and some of those activities and so that’s where the concern is being raised right now,” said Werthmann.

It’s not just the groups getting together in public according to Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese, it’s also people getting together in private.

“Our biggest risk is from our social gatherings so the more that we can work together to decrease the number of people that we are socially gathering in close contact with. The more we wear our cloth face coverings or our masks in all settings that bring us in closer contact to individuals and the more we keep our circles small, the better we’ll do with this COVID-19 disease,” she explained.

From Sept. 1-9, there were 108 positive cases from people associated with the university.

20 of those cases are students living on campus, the rest, 88 cases, are staff or students from off campus.

“We weren’t surprised by that. Certainly the volume was considerably higher than probably all of us thought was going to happen those first few days. But we knew that the more we brought people together and the more that we closely monitored symptoms, which is what’s happening at UW-Eau Claire, CVTC, and in the K-12 system, the more symptoms would be identified, and the more testing that would happen,” said Giese.

With a statewide mask mandate and a county wide local health order already in place, Council Member Werthmann says if the trend continues he could see the Eau Claire City Council taking its own action as well.

“They’re looking at all of the legal options that we have as a city council that we could take. And I think that’s something that we’re going to have to be looking at over the next couple of weeks. If we continue to see this level of new cases, we’re going to have to take whatever action we can,” he said.

We did reach out to multiple bars on Water Street who were either not available to comment or could not be reached.

The current county health order is in effect until next Thursday.

Giese says the current goal is to have the number of daily cases reported down to around 10.

For the third time in the past four days, Eau Claire County records 36 or more positive test results of COVID-19 with a record high 37 on Wednesday. The previous high of 36 was reported this past Sunday and Monday. In the past week, the county has seen 199 positive results.

It is the seventh straight day the county has seen 20 or more positive test results.

In all, Eau Claire County has 1,037 positive results and 19,168 negative test results. There have been 6 deaths and 41 ever hospitalized. 859 are listed as recovered.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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