Graphic showing people separated by broken chains that says "Help break the transmission of COVID-19"Dane County has moved into a new phase of our Forward Dane plan, but that doesn’t mean the COVID-19 virus has changed, or that it has magically gone away. It’s just as dangerous as it was all along.

The combination of metrics in the Forward Dane plan are designed to give us an overall picture of disease incidence and our ability as a healthcare system to contain and mitigate it. With the majority of our metrics currently green, indicating our capacity as a public health and healthcare system are managing our new reality, we feel our community is prepared to move to a new phase. But it doesn’t mean that businesses or individuals should let their guard down.

There are still unknowns

As we said in a previous blog, there is still a lot about this virus that we don’t know. One thing we do know is that, in Dane County, about 1 in 4 people with a positive test for the virus tell our contact tracers that they don’t know where they could’ve gotten it from. This underscores the importance of taking actions to prevent the spread of the virus--by everyone.

We know that you may be asking the question “what can it hurt to hang out with just a couple of friends?” As highlighted above, 1 in 4 people right here in Dane County not knowing how they got COVID-19 indicates that there are people in our community who are passing it on to others because they are an asymptomatic carrier, pre-symptomatic, or working or socializing while sick. While you may feel perfectly healthy, any interaction you have can help spread the virus. Whoever you have spread it to then goes about spreading it without knowing it when they return home, or run essential errands.

The actions that you take affect others.

The more people that you come into contact with, the greater your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. We are all connected: While you may think you’re hanging out with just 1 person, you’re in fact hanging out with the people that they’ve recently come into contact with, and they’re hanging out with the people that you’ve recently come into contact with. By limiting your social circle to very few people, you lower your risk, and you lower the risk to others.

Take steps to reduce your risk:

  • Stay home if you feel off, or feel sick. Avoid contact with others who are sick.
  • Limit your bubble. As stated above, consider how many people you are seeing day to day. The more people you socialize with, or stores you visit, the greater the chance you will be exposed or will expose others.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when you go out. Read our fact sheet on when and how to wear it, and how to care for it.
  • Continue to follow everyday prevention measures. Wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, clean frequently touched surfaces, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Minimize trips out. Plan ahead so you can get all the things you need at once. Continue to use online ordering or curbside pickup for lower risk options.
  • Gather outside instead of inside. Don’t forget to physically distance yourself and wear a cloth face covering too.
  • Continue to participate virtually. Work from home if possible and attend events, services, and performances virtually.
  • Get tested if you need it. The Alliant Energy Center community test site remains open Monday through Saturdays. See our website for details.

When we all wear face coverings, limit the number of people we see, and lower the amount of time we are within 6 feet of others, we can break the transmission chains that connect us and knock the virus down. Every chain that we break could mean a hospitalization or a death prevented.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.