It has been over a year since the first person was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Wisconsin. The year since has been filled with stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. In 2020, we also saw the science on this virus evolve rapidly, including the development, testing, and production of two extremely effective vaccines. This year is still just beginning, but we are finally hearing good news: vaccinations are increasing every day. Cases continue to decline. While we still have a long way to go, it’s exciting to feel like an end is finally in sight. We have hope.

We want to continue on this path, and to do that, we need everyone to stay mindful of their actions and how they impact the health and safety of our families and our community.

Even as cases decline, this doesn’t mean there is zero risk of COVID-19 exposure. All activities carry some risk. It's especially important to avoid crowded, confined spaces, as much as you can, especially until more people are vaccinated.

It is safest to:

  • Limit your contact with people you don’t live with.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you are with people you don’t live with.
  • Maintain six feet of distance from people you don’t live with.
  • Spend time outdoors, where the virus can more easily disperse in open air.
  • Limit the activities you engage in on a daily or weekly basis.

Risk and the Workplace

Some exposures we have control over, like whether we attend a party or not. Other exposures, like in our workplace, may be harder for us to change. For example, the nature of your work may put you in close contact with others throughout the day. Wearing a well-fitting mask and avoiding close contact with others in the break room are examples of ways you can lower your risk. If you have concerns about your work environment, take a look at our fact sheet, Workplace Requirements for Employers and Workers

Other Activities

If an activity or event is really important for your family, think of ways you can make it safer. For example, if youth sports are necessary for your family, consider ways to reduce risk, such as:

  • Building skills at home or at team practices as opposed to higher-risk activities like tournaments with teams from lots of different areas.
  • Choosing outdoor settings as much as possible, particularly for high intensity activities.
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask that covers your mouth and nose at all times.
  • Limiting travel outside of the local community and do not carpool with others you don’t live with.
  • Looking for facilities that have high ceilings and use ventilation practices such as opening doors and windows and use portable air cleaners that have HEPA filters.

Lower Risk to Higher Risk Sports Activities: Skill-building drills at home Team practice Within-team competition Competition with teams from your area Full competition from different areas
CDC has risk assessments like this one and ways to reduce risk for all kinds of activities on their website.

Prevention Strategies Add Up

Keep in mind that prevention strategies—like wearing a well-fitting mask and physical distancing—are additive, meaning that the more of these strategies you follow, the better you are protecting yourself and your loved ones. For example, maybe you decide to go to the gym every day. This might mean that you scale back on other activities such as dining in-person at a restaurant or attending a social gathering with people outside your household. Think about which activities are essential for you and your family and avoid added risk with activities that are less critical.

As we get closer to spring and more and more activity options become available, understanding the risk spectrum can help increase you and your family’s chances of staying healthy.

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.