The bars on this chart show the number of new COVID-19 infections reported each day in Winona County since July 1; the line represents the rolling seven-day average.
by CHRIS ROGERS
The rate of new coronavirus infections is holding steady in Winona County, and there were no new COVID-19 deaths in the region as of Tuesday. Three staff members at a Winona nursing home were quarantined after testing positive earlier this month.
The majority of new cases continue to be among young adults age 18-35, Winona County Health and Human Services Director Karen Sanness reported. “They’re not the only ones, but they’re the bulk at this point,” she said.
Several of the new COVID-19 patients have been asymptomatic, Sanness added. “People are going in to get tested, don’t have any symptoms, and are testing positive,” she reported. The risk of symptom-less transmission is why it is so important for people to practice social distancing, wear masks, and wash their hands even if they or the people around them don’t feel sick, local, state, and national health officials have cautioned.
In facility-wide testing on July 14, two staff members in the Winona nursing home Saint Anne Extended Care tested positive for COVID-19 and another Saint Anne staffer tested positive separately, Saint Anne leaders wrote in a statement. Those staff members were quarantined, and as of press time, had not reported any additional cases. “At this time, we are in very close communications with our state and local health officials to ensure we are taking all appropriate steps,” nursing home officials wrote. “All our associates are following the latest infection control protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our state and local health departments. We are conducting contact tracing to determine the risk, if any, to those on our campus.” News of the St. Anne cases came out last Friday because the Minnesota Department of Health listed the nursing home as having an outbreak — meaning at least one case — for the first time that day.
In Trempealeau County, the speed of the virus’ spread has fluctuated, from a relative high of 53 new cases in one week in mid-July down to 30 new cases last week. As of Tuesday, the county had 40 new infections in the past seven days and a total of 283 cases.
Buffalo County reported eight new infections in the last seven days for a total of 37 cases.
There is an outbreak of COVID-19 in Plainview, Wabasha County Public Health officials reported on Monday. County-wide the speed at which new infections have popped in Wabasha County has remained relatively steady throughout this month. There were 14 new cases in the past seven days for a total of 70.
COVID-19 transmission in La Crosse County is steady, with 85 new infections in the last seven days and a total of 758 cases. In Rochester’s Olmsted County, there are a total of 1,531 cases and the speed of transmission slowed down slightly, with 95 new cases in the past seven days compared to a high of 173 new cases in one week in mid-July.
People with any symptom of COVID-19 should seek testing and stay home and away from others, except to seek medical care, health officials recommended. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.
In Winona, COVID-19 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. More information is available at www.winonahealth.org or www.gundersenhealth.org or by contacting Winona Health’s COVID-19 nurse line at 507-457-7619.