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Lagging effect of Nov. surge upon us
Lafayette Co. halts releasing age-specific data
courthouse with mask covid

MONROE — We’re seeing the impact of November’s surge of new coronavirus cases in current hospitalizations and deaths, Green County’s public health officer said Dec. 21.

“We tend to see a lagging effect of hospitalizations and deaths. Sometimes the impacts of those positive cases are realized three or four weeks later,” RoAnn Warden said. “Some individuals who test positive and have a more difficult time of fighting off their infections can remain hospitalized for weeks, even, until they’re able to be discharged.”

Although the daily number of active confirmed cases has decreased a bit in December in Green County, hospitalizations are higher than ever. For most of the pandemic, Green County typically reported one to three hospitalized at a time. In recent weeks, that number has kept creeping up and reached a high of 13. As of Dec. 21, nine residents were reported hospitalized. 

It has been nine months since Green County reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in March, in a 29-year-old resident. No deaths were reported in the first three months of the pandemic locally.

Since June, however, 10 Green County residents have died of confirmed or probable COVID-19, most of them in the past two months. Warden said two were in their 70s, five were in their 80s and three were age 90 or older. Of the 10, nine were women and one was a man.

In Lafayette County, there have been five confirmed and one probable COVID-19 deaths. Lafayette County, which has less than half of Green County’s population, is not releasing specific age information related to COVID-19 deaths.

“Due to Lafayette County’s small population and the publishing of obituaries and related information, the release of age specific information puts deceased individuals and their families at a high risk of being personally identified as having had or been exposed to the COVID-19 virus,” a county statement said.

Julie Leibfried, public health officer, added that county leaders “just want to make sure we preserve our residents’ privacy.”

Both health departments are now tracking and reporting probable cases and deaths, as does the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

A positive case has not been confirmed by a confirmatory lab test method like the PCR or NAT test, but is rather identified through one of the following: a positive antigen test, symptoms of COVID-19 along with known exposure to COVID-19, or COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 listed on the death certificate.

Probable deaths are identified through 1) a reported cause of death related to COVID-19 or 2) a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death but the state system for tracking infectious diseases has no record of confirmatory laboratory evidence for SARS-CoV-2 in the case.