LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WKBT) – La Crosse County health experts say there is room to care for people who need it right now. However, they say the county is moving in the wrong direction and the health resources they have are not endless.
Experts warn of large rallies, such as Tuesday’s rally in West Salem (which, according to Bill Feihan of the La Crosse Republican Party, is estimated at about 12,000-16,000 people), that these large rallies could cripple La Crosse’s health system.
“This is going in the wrong direction,” said Jen Rombalski, director of health at La Crosse County.
The average age of a patient with COVID-19 in La Crosse County passed from person in their early 20s to person in their early 40s. The older a person is, the greater the chance that he or she will go to the hospital if he or she becomes infected with COVID-1
“This is not a workout,” said Dr. Todd Kowalski of Gundersen’s health system. “We are opening more and more COVID units.”
The capacity of the hospital in La Crosse County is good so far. The new joint update of the Coulee COVID-19 shows that it can change.
“People with health problems have to go to the hospital because they have COVID,” said Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald of the Mayo Clinic Health System.
On Tuesday, thousands gathered for President Donald Trump in West Salem, where there was little or no social distancing between people.
“Usually from a minimum of five days to 14 days later, we actually know what the real impact is, if we ever really understand the full impact,” Rombalski said.
Rombalski said the country still cannot keep in touch with people who may have been exposed before the event.
“The team of our health department has had so many cases that we managed to reach only 67.7%,” she said.
The message from the nation’s commander-in-chief did not match the data.
“We’re rounding the curve, we’re going around the corner,” President Trump said at Tuesday’s Speedway La Crosse Fairgrounds rally.
Kowalski said the way the virus has spread has not changed.
“Viruses don’t care why we get together,” Kowalski said. “They’re interested in how we’re going to get together.”
Wisconsin reached more record highs the same day at the rally.
“The number of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday is the highest we have seen in the entire pandemic so far,” Rombalski said.
Again, not most people are at risk of dying from COVID-19. Fitzgerald said the data needed context so people could fully understand why it was paying full attention to them.
“Make the numbers,” Fitzgerald said. “If we get to a few thousand people with the virus and 10 percent of them get sick to the point of hospitalization, our hospitals will be outnumbered.”
Kowalski specializes in infectious diseases and said health workers already feel burned out.
“These are our friends, these are our neighbors,” Kowalski said. “These are people who are so incredibly dedicated to caring for you with all kinds of diseases, and the strain has an impact.”
It is not just about patients with COVID-19.
“We need to take care of heart disease,” Fitzgerald said. “We have to take care of diabetes. We need to take care of other medical problems. “
Health officials continued to ask for community help during Wednesday’s virtual briefing.
“If we do not change course, there will be problems,” Kowalski said.
Health officials say people need to prepare for the cancellation of holiday gatherings. Even private gatherings can spread the virus. They say it also affects the growth of cases in the county.
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