LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - A majority of recent spikes in COVID cases is among people between the ages of 18 - 24.
Many are attending colleges and universities in the area.
John O'Horo, an Infection Disease Specialist with Mayo Clinic Health System said college students and faculty need to wear masks on campus and other surrounding areas to stop the spread. O'Horo also stated that wearing a mask is not just about protecting yourself, but rather most importantly, the people around you.
"Younger people are less likely to get hospitalized than older people overall. But there will be the unlucky individuals who have comorbidities, like those who are overweight or have lung disease, who are more likely going to end up in the hospital with severe symptoms because of a COVID infection," said O'Horo.
Community organizations have partnered with each other to encourage students not to gather together. Those entities include the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University,Western Technical College, Three Sixty Real Estate Solutions, Benson Management, La Crosse Police Department, La Crosse County Health Department, Mayo Clinic Health System, and Gundersen Health System.
All three higher education institutions have mask requirements in place as part of their safety protocols against the spread of the virus.
Shelley McNeely, the Dean of Students at Western Technical College, said she appreciates faculty and students' patience.
Western Tech has taken precautions during this time by limited in-person class sizes to nine people or less and has moved 68 percent of classes online.
"We encourage students to stay away from mass gatherings, avoid hosting, practice social distancing, and wear masks," McNeely said. "We ask that if a student is COVID positive, to please stay at home. If students are in quarantine or isolation, we ask those students to abide by that."
The organizations have also taken to social media to get their message out.