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Coronavirus: Winona County officials advise against traveling to La Crosse

La Crosse County has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.

One of the nation's coronavirus hot spots is La Crosse, Wisconsin, which according to the La Crosse County Department of Health is averaging 114 new cases per day and a test positivity rate of more than 38% over the past seven days. 

As of Sept. 21, La Crosse County was home to 1,455 active cases of COVID-19. The significant rise in cases has prompted Winona County Emergency Management to advise Minnesota residents to avoid crossing the border into La Crosse County for non-essential activities. 

"We love our neighbors across the river, but we are advising against traveling to the La Crosse County area for leisure activities, as they are rapidly increasing in COVID-19 cases. They are seeing an increase in cases especially for ages 20-29," Winona County Emergency Management announced Tuesday. 

"This means to stay away from bars, restaurants, non-essential shopping and other non-essential activity." 

The surge in case activity comes amid the return of students to college campuses, including the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which has eliminated all in-person instruction in favor of virtual learning to help slow transmission. 

UW-La Crosse reported 286 positive COVID-19 test results Sept. 8-22, with daily test positivity rates typically ranging between 35% and 80%. 

The latest information across the border at Winona State University was last updated Sept. 13, at which point 166 people were in isolation due to testing positive or experiencing symptoms, in addition to 228 people quarantining after a potential exposure to someone with the virus. 

Wisconsin has had 1,251 COVID-19 deaths, including nine people under the age of 30 (all of them between 20-29), according to the Wisconsin Department of Health. La Crosse County has had two deaths from coronavirus, the first reported on July 16 and the second on Aug. 28. 

It's unclear how many La Crosse County patients are currently hospitalized. 

"If you must travel to La Crosse County, make sure to take necessary precautions. Wear your mask, stay physically distant and be sure to wash your hands," Winona County Emergency Management said.

"If you have doctor's appointments, work or other essential activities - please continue to do those things. These organizations are taking necessary precautions to keep you safe."

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