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News Wellness

E.C. County Posts Biggest COVID-19 Case Jump Since Pandemic Began

potential exposure at Water Street tavern identified

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

A COVID-19 drive-through testing event earlier this year in Eau Claire.
A COVID-19 drive-through testing event earlier this year in Eau Claire.

Eau Claire County has just experienced its largest one-week and two-week increases in the total number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department said Wednesday.

During her weekly online media briefing, health department Director Lieske Giese said that as of Monday, 154 new cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed over the previous two weeks, 83 of them in the prior seven days alone. This amounts to a 35% increase in cases over the two-week period.

While case numbers had grown faster in percentage terms earlier in the pandemic, health department statistics show these are the biggest increases in caseloads in terms of raw numbers.

In Eau Claire County, 154 new cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed over the previous two weeks, 83 of them in the prior seven days alone. This amounts to a 35% increase in cases over the two-week period.

As of Wednesday, the county surpassed 600 total cases to reach a total of 612. Only 10 days earlier, the county total had reached 500 for the first time. Giese said 125 cases are still considered active, and 647 people who were connected with those cases have been asked to self-quarantine.

“Our goal is to keep the circles small to slow the spread by making sure the cases are isolated and close contacts are quarantined,” she said.

Overall, four Eau Claire County residents have died of the virus. Statewide, a total of 1,011 have died, with the state passing the grim 1,000-death milestone on Tuesday.

WATER STREET EXPOSURE

During the briefing, Giese said there had been a new notification of potential public exposure at a Water Street tavern: Someone who later tested positive for the virus reported they visited The Pickle, 341 Water St., between 11pm on Wednesday, Aug. 5, and 1:30am Thursday, Aug. 6. The health department advises that anyone who was at The Pickle during that time and is experience coronavirus-like symptoms should contact their health-care provider to be tested.

Giese outlined several other metrics that health officials are using to track the pandemic, some of which are cause for concern. Among the most troublesome: 36% of new COVID-19 cases during the past two weeks were caused by “community spread” (in other words, the diagnosed individuals don’t know how they got the virus), and the state has investigated nine new outbreaks in the county in the past two weeks (an outbreak is defined as two or more related cases at the same workplace).

Other indicators are more positive, Giese noted, including the ability of local hospitals to handle the number of cases and the availability of testing for health-care workers. (To see all the metrics, follow this link.)