Coronavirus in Wisconsin: State, La Crosse, Eau Claire update 7/28/20

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(WLAX/WEUX) Drive up testing sites for COVID-19 continue to pop up across the country, but once the swab has been collected, there are still many steps left in determining a positive or negative result. Since drive up COVID-19 testing started in mid-March, health systems have increased ability.

Gundersen Health System in La Crosse currently tests anywhere from 500 to a 1,000 patients each day. Of all tests being done at Gundersen each day, 50% are in drive up testing facilities and the other half hospital patients and all those tests are put into a tier system for importance.

“High priority gets done at main campus turnaround time is going to be very rapid– anywhere from a few hours to a day or two. Said Megan Meller, Gundersen Infection Preventionist.

High priority includes those with close interaction with others, like healthcare workers and nursing home residents. The second tier is for patients with mild symptoms or those having elective hospital procedures in a few days. Once a test is administered, they’re sent to a lab, and the waiting game begins.

Our average wait time is about 5 days which is pretty consistent across the country. We tell patients 5-7 days; this varies though week-to-week. Those wait times increased to up to 14 days over the July 4th weekend. The La Crosse County Health Department said it understands the frustration over the delay in results.

“The testing time taking 4-5 days is not where any of us want to see that. We want to see it as quick as possible because it’s difficult if you have to be in quarantine waiting for your test results and i think that can increase the inability for us to have compliance for individuals actually staying home.” Said Jen Rombalski, La Crosse County Health Department Director

Gundersen said, as of now, there’s no way to get results faster.  But Meller is hopeful advances like a point of care test can become a faster option in the near future. “Ideally, we would have a point of care test. I think that would solve a lot of our concerns, solve a lot of concerns across the country if not the entire world is to have something available at our hands to know right off the bat do you have covid-19 yes or no.” Meller said. 

COVID-19 numbers updated as 7/28/20

Eau Claire county has five new, confirmed tests for COVID-19. That brings the total in the county to 441. There remains three fatalities.

Chippewa county adds one new confirmed case, bringing its county-wide total to 200.

La Crosse County adds 10 more cases to move up to 758 total cases. Nine of the 10 new positive tests are people younger than 40. There remains one death linked to the virus in La Crosse County.

Wisconsin numbers updated 7/28/20

The number of positive tests for COVID-19 in Wisconsin surpasses 50,000, with 762 new cases announced today by the Wisconsin department of health services. 14 more deaths pushes that tally across the 900 mark. DHS says the percentage of recovered cases in the badger state has risen to 78-point-7 percent.

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