The new coronavirus is still going around Winona County, though the growth in confirmed cases remains slow. Winona County reported one new case on Friday, the first new infection to be detected all week.
Two new COVID-19 infections were confirmed in Trempealeau County on Thursday. The county has seen 10 new cases this month, and a total of 13 infections as of Friday. Trempealeau County officials were not immediately available for questions about those new cases. Last weekend, a Trempealeau County Jail inmate tested positive for the virus, the first infection at the jail.
Since Wednesday, the infections and deaths in Fillmore, Wabasha, and Houston counties remained stable. La Crosse County, Wis., only detected one new infection in the second half of this week — a total of 48 infections and zero deaths — while infections in Rochester’s Olmsted County continued climbing: 525 cases as of Friday, up from 488 on Wednesday.
Statewide, Minnesota and Wisconsin continue to report hundreds of new COVID-19 infections every day.
Volunteers step up for Winona County contract tracing
Winona County public health nurses conducted their first contact tracing this week, and 15 volunteers are ready to be trained in on the process, county administrator Ken Fritz reported.
Contact tracing is the process of interviewing people who just tested positive for COVID-19 to find out who they were in contact with so those people can also be tested. State and national health experts say it is a key part of any strategy to contain the virus.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) had previously been doing all of the contact tracing in Minnesota, but as the state agency began to fall behind on an increasing workload of new infections, it asked counties for help. Winona County officials answered the call, sending county nurses to train-the-trainer workshops. Now, those county staff members will train and oversee a team of volunteer contact tracers. Fortunately, Fritz said, there haven’t been many new infections in Winona County for the contact tracers to work on, but at least the county is getting prepared.
Got symptoms? Get tested
Public health officials continued to urge citizens with any symptom of COVID-19 to seek testing. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.
In Winona, COVID-19 diagnostic tests are available at the Winona Health Urgent Care clinic at 855 Mankato Avenue and at the Gundersen Health System Winona Campus at 1122 West Highway 61. Walk-ins are accepted at both locations.
For information on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, visit www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html, www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm, and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.