Public Health Madison & Dane County has extended its requirement for face coverings in public indoor spaces through the month of February.
The order mirrors the current order, requiring face coverings among people ages two and older when in most enclosed spaces open to the public where other people are present, with certain exceptions. The order takes effect February 1 and will expire after 28 days.
“While current rates of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization in Dane County may be starting to decrease, they remain very high,” PHMDC said in a release. “Over the past several weeks, the highly infectious Omicron variant has driven up the 7-day average of people testing positive to 1,258 per day. There are currently 181 hospitalizations and 36 in the ICU with COVID.”
“We are certainly still seeing incredibly high rates of illness and hospitalization, however, it does appear that we have reached a plateau in this surge of cases fueled by the Omicron variant,” Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in a statement. “This does not mean it is the time to let our guard down; we must continue to collectively take as many steps as possible to reduce risk of transmission, including masking.”
Public Health officials also reminded the public that the free testing clinic at the Arena at the Alliant Energy Center has helped increase the previous testing capacity in the county by more than 33% in just the past three weeks. The department is also ramping up mobile vaccination efforts, with hundreds of vaccinations happening weekly at recurring clinics throughout the community in addition to those offered at standing vaccination clinics.