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Dane County recommends masks indoors, even if vaccinated


Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is issuing new recommendations regarding the use of masks, in light of new guidance from the CDC.

“The Delta variant is spreading quickly in our community, causing an increase in cases in Dane County,” PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich said in a statement. “This is why we are strongly advising that everyone ages 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public spaces, and at indoor private gatherings.”

Delta is now the dominant strain of the virus in Dane County. This variant can spread to unvaccinated people easier, making it harder to avoid. The seven-day average of daily confirmed new cases is 31.4, an increase from 7.6 just one month ago.

“These numbers serve as a reminder that this pandemic is not over and that COVID-19 still exists in our communities,” Madison Mayuor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. “We must continue to do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones, by getting vaccinated and taking simple steps like wearing a mask when needed.”

While Dane County is experiencing an upward trend when it comes to cases, currently considered at ‘moderate’ community transmission level, we are not currently in the mask recommendation threshold set by the CDC, which is includes ‘substantial’ and ‘high’ transmission levels.

“We are taking these steps now in an effort to stay ahead of this curve,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement. “Being proactive will give our county the best chance of remaining at that lower transmission level and protecting people who are not vaccinated and the most vulnerable, including immunocompromised people, people over 65, and children under 12.”

The CDC’s masking recommendations also includes schools. Today, in collaboration with The UW Pediatric Medical Advisory Group, Public Health also released guidance for Dane County K-12 schools this fall to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The two top priorities being vaccination, if eligible, and to wear a mask indoors at schools, regardless of vaccination status.

“While the most effective way to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in schools is to get vaccinated, we hope schools use this guidance to operationalize mask wearing for all teachers, students, and staff at schools, regardless of vaccination status, knowing that using these strategies together have a greater impact than any one strategy on its own,” Heinrich said in a statement.

PHMDC recommends anyone experiencing COVID symptoms, even if vaccinated, to stay home from work, school, and other activities and get tested.

If you or someone you know is looking for options to get vaccinated, schedule an appointment at one of our office locations or drop by one of our community pop-up clinics.

If you’re a business owner, ‘masks required’ signs are available on the PHMDC website.