Most Monroe County Covid-19 cases are due to community spread

Contributed by the Monroe County Health Department

As of May 15, Monroe County has had 15 cases of Covid-19, 13 cases have recovered, one is hospitalized, and one has passed away. We are concerned that many members of the public may be lulled into a false sense of security that Covid-19 is not here.

The majority of cases in Monroe County have been due to community spread. Community spread means that those who tested positive for Covid-19 are unsure of how or where they became infected. They did not travel somewhere with Covid-19, come into contact with someone who tested positive, or had contact with anyone who was sick.

You may wonder how there can be community spread when we haven’t had new cases.

Covid-19 does not always cause severe illness in an individual. Many times, people who have Covid-19 have mild symptoms or do not have any symptoms at all (asymptomatic). Therefore, they do not seek treatment or receive testing. Additionally, due to the fact that testing supplies were more limited at the beginning of the pandemic, many healthcare systems were not able test those with mild symptoms. For these reasons, we estimate that there are more cases than we are aware of.

For someone to be considered a “confirmed case” of Covid-19, he or she must have a positive lab test. Positive cases of Covid-19 are reported to the health department for the jurisdiction in which they reside. For Monroe County, this means that if you live in Monroe County and test positive for Covid-19, it is reported to Monroe County Health Department regardless of where you work. For example, if an individual works in Tomah, but lives in Mauston, their case would be reported to Juneau County Health Department. If an individual lives in Sparta but works in La Crosse, his or her case would reported to Monroe County Health Department.

Health department staff then conduct an intensive interview to determine who this person came into contact with, a process known as contact tracing. Positive cases are asked to isolate themselves, and their higher-risk contacts are asked to quarantine for 14 days and report their symptoms daily to the health department. However, if people aren’t tested, then none of these measures can be taken.

Like other states and countries, we’ve had to navigate this pandemic with many limitations, such as lack of testing supplies and personal protective equipment and no vaccine or proven treatment, and our response must take into account these limitations. It’s simply impossible to test everyone for Covid-19, which is why we’ve had to use other tools to slow the spread of the illness.

Actions such as social distancing, wearing a face mask, and frequent and thorough hand washing are all ways to protect not only yourself, but others from Covid-19. While you may be healthy, you could be unknowingly spreading Covid-19 to someone who is at higher risk of severe complications or who works somewhere where it is difficult to limit contact with others. By nature of their work, there are workplaces that are not conducive to limiting contact with others. Employees may have to come into contact with sick individuals, those at risk of severe complications, or just generally have to be in close contact with other employees. In these settings, Covid-19 can spread quickly and cause outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated the list of Covid-19 symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and include cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever (over 100.4), chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. If you are experiencing symptoms, even mild symptoms, contact your medical provider or visit For additional information about Covid-19, contact Monroe County Health Department or visit,, or


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  • Monday, July 13: Monroe County reports one new case; Vernon and Juneau counties report none

    17 hours ago

    Today, Monroe County’s case count rose by one to 139, of which 78 are recovered, two have been hospitalized, and one has died.

    Sunday, July 12: Monroe County reports four new cases; Juneau County, one

    July 12th, 2020

    Four more Covid-19 cases were reported in Monroe County today, and the total stands at 138.

    Saturday, July 11: Five new cases in Monroe County; three in Juneau County

    July 12th, 2020

    Monroe County had five new Covid-19 cases July 11, resulting in a total of 134.

    Friday, July 10: Monroe County has seven new cases; Juneau County, one; Vernon County, one

    July 10th, 2020

    Monroe County’s Covid-19 count increased by seven today, resulting in a total 129 confirmed cases.

    Thursday, July 9: Monroe County has seven new cases

    July 10th, 2020

    Seven new cases were reported in Monroe County, resulting in a total of 122.

  • Wednesday, July 8: 13 new cases reported in Monroe County; two in Juneau County; and none in Vernon County

    July 8th, 2020

    Monroe County today reported 13 new Covid-19 cases, a record-high since the beginning of the pandemic.

    Vernon County’s Coulee Covid-19 Compass rating improves; Monroe County’s remains the same

    July 8th, 2020

    Vernon County risk level dropped from “severe” to “high” today on the Coulee Covid-19 Compass, and Monroe County remained at “high.”

    Tuesday, July 7: Monroe County reports another seven Covid-19 cases, bringing the total count to 102

    July 7th, 2020

    Monroe County added seven new cases today, resulting in a total 102 confirmed cases.

    Monday, July 6: Monroe County reports five new cases; Vernon and Juneau counties, none

    July 6th, 2020

    Monroe County’s total Covid-19 count continued to rise today, increasing by five to 95 total, though Juneau and Vernon counties reported no new cases.

    Sunday, July 5: Monroe County has seven new cases

    July 5th, 2020

    Seven new Covid-19 cases were reported in Monroe County today, bringing the total confirmed positive cases to 90.

    Saturday, July 4: Monroe County has four new cases; Juneau County, two

    July 4th, 2020

    Monroe County reported four new cases today; and Juneau County, two.

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