La Crosse County officials move to ‘community-based’ COVID-19 risk assessment


La Crosse County health experts leave the compass to include more metrics when labeling the risk of COVID-19 outbreak

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – La Crosse Health officials have a new method to show how La Crosse is working with COVID-19 proliferation. The leaders announced on Thursday the former virus spread risk tool, the Coulee COVID-19 Compass, will no longer be used.

Health officials continue to receive more information about COVID-19. Its complex nature affects every piece of society differently. La Crosse leaders are changing their perspective to learn what the community is doing. La Crosse County officials say the former county COVID-19 risk report served its purpose.

“For some, the compass was confusing and did not have an accurate view of the level of risk,” said Steve O’Malley, La Crosse County administrator. “While for others, he hoped the compass would provide all the answers.”

La Crosse County leaders are moving forward on a new community-based risk assessment tool. The equipment will include community partners including healthcare organizations, school districts and businesses.

“The new tool will include nine metrics, covering both healthcare and public health, while providing a more nuanced assessment that will reflect a more accurate snapshot of current risk to the community,” said regional vice president for Dr. Paul Muller said. Mayo Clinic Health System.

Three of the nine factors include daily case rate, daily hospitalization rate, and hospital capacity.

La Crosse County Health Director Jane Rombalski said they are changing their perspective with new information.

“We need to be flexible and if something is not the most effective tool or support for our community and we can improve it, we need to do that,” Rombalski said.

As each individual, business, and organization are different, they wanted to include more metrics to show real risk to the community.

“We need to get in this virus environment with living in our community,” Mueller said.

Local school districts relied on the compass to make decisions about the fall semester. Local health officials say it does not affect the time of local districts. Officials expect the district to use its new risk process to move forward.

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