Health departments roll out Coulee COVID-19 Compass

After a debut in La Crosse County on May 29, health departments in Buffalo, Crawford, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau and Vernon counties have partnered to develop and launch the Coulee COVID-19 Compass.

“COVID-19 doesn’t respect county borders, so collaboration and partnerships with our neighboring counties are critical,” said Sharon Nelson, director and health officer for Monroe County Health Department.

This tool will use each county’s data to identify each county’s level of risk related to COVID-19. This risk level will guide recommendations for each county’s residents. It will also allow the public to see the data for neighboring counties and the region at a glance.

“The compass responds to data so we can make timely recommendations on current risks. The tool is responsive because we anticipate that COVID-19 will ebb and flow in our communities,” said Nelson.

The Coulee COVID-19 Compass provides risk assessment using 10 data points in three categories (Epidemiology Status (what the disease is doing), Healthcare Capacity, and Public Health Capacity). These data move the compass needle between four risk levels (severe, high, moderate and low). As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the health departments expect changes to the risk level over time. It is expected that the needle will move responsively between lower and higher risk levels as communities experience waves of the virus. This will occur until a vaccine or treatment is widely available.

The regional version of the Coulee COVID-19 Compass was available for viewing at covid19compass.org starting June 10. Questions about the tool can be directed to the Monroe County Health Department at 269-8666.

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