Seven Wisconsin college towns are in the country’s top 20 metro areas where new COVID-19 cases are rising the fastest, according to data from the New York Times.

The city of La Crosse took the nationwide No. 2 spot Monday morning, as nearly 70% of tests administered Sunday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse came back positive.

Whitewater, Platteville, Madison, Green Bay, Eau Claire and Oshkosh rounded out the state’s showing in the national top-20 ranking. All seven of the cities are home to UW campuses, where classes for the fall semester started recently.

The spiking case numbers across the UW System came as UW-Whitewater leaders said Monday the school might have to switch to online-only classes if trends continue.

“If we do not take this more seriously and we do not follow the safety measures, we are at risk of not making it through the whole semester,” UW-Whitewater interim chancellor Greg Cook said in a video message to students. “We might need to go all-remote at some time. I sincerely hope not.”

The warning comes after UW-Madison last week paused in-person instruction for two weeks, just one week into students’ return to campus following a surge of COVID-19 cases.

“We don’t want to be the next university to go all-remote,” Cook said.

He urged students to stay in their dormitories and apartments to contain the spread of the virus.

“I am very confident that we can pull this together,” he said.

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