Friday, September 17, 2021

Health officials fear COVID-19 spike as students return to campus


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – The pinnacle of the COVID-19 unit at Gundersen Well being in La Crosse has a message for younger folks, get vaccinated.

Physician Joshua Whitson made an impassioned plea in a Fb video on the hospital’s web site describing the dire state of affairs he sees at work.

He mentioned he’s seeing hospital beds, together with these within the intensive care unit, filling up once more with COVID-19 sufferers. Most of them are unvaccinated.

Whitson fears the state of affairs may worsen as college students return to their faculty campuses for the autumn semester.

“The severity of illness is it appears to be a lot worse than it was beforehand,” he mentioned.

Whitson mentioned in contrast to earlier waves, younger folks, who’re in any other case wholesome, are getting very sick. Some are dying.

“Not solely are they youthful however they’re getting a lot sicker a lot quicker,” he mentioned.

Whitson mentioned the present state of affairs reminds him of a 12 months in the past, proper earlier than western Wisconsin’s fall 2020 COVID-19 case surge.

“We actually are involved,” mentioned Paula Silha of the La Crosse County Well being Division.

She fears a significant case spike as soon as college students return.

“These youngsters are coming from all around the United States and a few worldwide areas,” Silha mentioned. “And so there’s numerous illness, numerous virus that may be introduced into the group after which we all know what faculty youngsters do. What do faculty youngsters do after they get collectively?”

Eau Claire Metropolis-County Well being Division Director Lieske Giese mentioned she additionally fears college students returning to campus may result in extra COVID-19 instances.

“We noticed a rise in instances within the 18-24 inhabitants final 12 months at the moment,” she mentioned.

Giese mentioned a 12 months in the past, the County was averaging 9 instances per day. Now it’s averaging about 30 day by day.

Each Giese and Silha mentioned mitigation behaviors like carrying a masks and social distancing are vital however getting vaccinated is the perfect safety from the virus.

“Getting vaccinated makes a distinction,” Giese mentioned. “It actually lets you be a lot much less more likely to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19.”

Whitson mentioned there are actual penalties to remaining unvaccinated.

“It’s a tragic factor to look at and it’s a tragic factor to speak to their households as they’re desperately hoping their family members are going to do properly.”

All three faculties and universities in La Crosse County, in addition to the 2 in Eau Claire County, are requiring folks masks up indoors no matter vaccination standing.

Copyright 2021 WEAU. All rights reserved.



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