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Dane County issues indoor mask mandate


Public Health Madison & Dane County today announced a new Face Covering Emergency Order, which takes effect Thursday and requires that everyone age 2 and older wear a face covering or mask when in in any enclosed building where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or living unit, could be present. This requirement applies to all of Dane County, according to a news release, and will remain in effect until September 16.

“We still believe vaccines are our best tool to protect our community,” Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in a statement. “But as cases continue to increase, requiring face coverings is an easy added layer of protection to further help keep people safe, including our youngest children not yet eligible to be vaccinated.”

On July 27, Public Health issued a mask advisory, strongly encouraging everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in response to updated CDC guidance  regarding use of masks. On July 19, the 7-day average number of new cases in Dane County was 19, and on August 12, the 7-day average increased by 382% to 91.6.

“Public Health has updated policies and recommendations throughout the pandemic based on current local conditions and the latest scientific data,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. “As virus spread is fueled by the prevalence of the delta variant, it is clear that we need to use all of our tools to keep our community safe; and that means getting vaccinated and wearing masks.”

The delta variant is a naturally occurring mutation of the SARS CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19. Data show that the delta variant is more contagious and spreads more easily than the original COVID-19 virus, including among people that are vaccinated. Public Health also strongly recommends wearing a face covering at private gatherings or crowded outdoor settings.

“With our kids heading back to school and hospitals in other parts of the country overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, moving from a mask recommendation to a requirement is a common sense step to prevent disease spread and protect the kids in our community who can’t get vaccinated yet,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement.

“Vaccination continues to be our best path out of the pandemic,” Jerry Halverson, MD, Chair of the Board of Health, said in a statement. “As variants create new challenges for our county moving forward, now is the time we must bring it home and get vaccinated.”

For more information about the COVID-19 in Dane County and the latest public health order, visit publichealthmdc.com/coronavirus. You can also follow @publichealthmdc on Facebook Twitter , and Instagram .