Health officials fear COVID-19 case spike after Labor Day trips

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – With many people going on vacation this Labor Day weekend, some fear they could bring back more than souvenirs and memories.

Health officials are concerned trips could increase the spread of COVID-19.

First News at Nine’s Max Cotton explains why they’re hoping you stay put this holiday weekend.

“Even though we’ve got just over 50 percent of people vaccinated, we have a more contagious variant that is in not only the Eau Claire community but throughout Wisconsin and throughout the United States and so it’s a concern that those cases could continue to increase,” said Audrey Boerner with the Eau Claire-City County Health Department.

Eau Claire County is currently averaging more than 40 new daily cases. That’s more than early September 2020 despite vaccines being not yet available. It’s also a substantial increase from early July 2021 when the county was averaging one new case each day.

Mayo Clinic infectious disease expert Dr. Abinash Virk said people should limit trips to essential travel.

“There is risk to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” she said. “And as we are trying to curtail the transmission and the whole pandemic, the fewer people that travel the better we are going to be able to contain the pandemic overall.”

Chippewa County Department of Public Health Director Angela Weideman said holiday weekends usually lead to spikes in case numbers.

She has advice for travelers helping them limit their risk.

“Go with the people who live in their household unit, and get outside and enjoy that weather, but try not to mingle with large groups of people who are from numerous different households,” Weideman said.

“If you’re going to places where you’re going to be spending time outdoors or if you’re going to visit people who you know might be vaccinated or you know that they would give you a heads up if they started feeling sick after they saw you, those are all safer options,” Boerner said.

She said people should get tested two days after their trip if they’re around people they don’t know.

Weideman and Boerner both said people in Wisconsin should mask up indoors regardless of vaccination status.

In Eau Claire, Max Cotton, First News at Nine.

Weideman and Boerner both say people should mask-up indoors everywhere in Wisconsin regardless of vaccination status.

Boerner added it’s not too late to get vaccinated even if someone won’t be fully protected by Labor Day.

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