COVID testing volumes declining in the Coulee Region

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 5:52 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - COVID cases have been steadily declining in La Crosse County, along with the volume of COVID tests.

“We were doing several thousand tests a week in the region, and now we’re down back into the hundreds,” said Ben Anderson, Nurse Administrator with Mayo Clinic Health System.

As a result, Mayo Clinic is closing its dedicated COVID testing site at 630 10th Street in La Crosse.

The site closed Monday, and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

“We do not plan to reopen a central testing site,” Anderson said. “We plan to be able to handle that volume within our existing facilities.”

Mayo Clinic says patients who are symptomatic, or need testing for travel purposes, will be offered COVID tests at primary clinic locations.

While that site will no longer be available, Gundersen Health System’s drive-thru testing laboratory isn’t going anywhere.

Clinical Manager Jennifer Schliep says the lab has seen a similar decline in COVID testing numbers as Mayo Clinic.

“For the last two weeks, we’ve been averaging about 115 patients being collected for COVID a day,” Schliep explained. “That compares to back around the holidays where we were collecting 585.”

Despite the fall in COVID tests, the lab provides other services, which is why Schliep says it’s staying open.

“We do offer routine blood collections, we also do INR finger sticks, so our hours will remain 8-4:30, Monday through Friday,” Schliep detailed.

Mayo Clinic believes falling case numbers and relaxed restrictions signal a new phase of the pandemic.

“We watch a number of indicators, and we track them every single day,” said Eric Erickson, Vice-Chair of Administration for Hospital Practices. “They’re all suggesting that we’re coming into, and I don’t know when the CDC will declare this to be endemic level nationwide, but at least in our region, we think we’re probably going to hit that point over the next several weeks.”

Erickson doesn’t think COVID will completely go away, as the virus may flare up seasonably moving forward.

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