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All residents urged to avoid gatherings

Dane County’s number of positive COVID-19 cases for September 5 is 147*, which is the highest single-day number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Previously, the highest number of cases in a single day was 141 on June 30. This record-setting day follows several days with over a hundred cases.

“With the addition of so many students in our community, and more testing on the UW-Madison campus, we expected a rise in cases, but this isn’t a record we wanted to break, and it is important that we all take action so case counts this high don’t become a trend,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. 

Of these cases, at least half were UW-Madison students or staff. This includes people tested on campus. It does not include all students who might have been tested at off-campus test sites. As such, this number will increase as contact tracers complete interviews.

“UW-Madison is part of the Madison community and has an impact on all of us,” said City of Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “Yesterday 82% of positive cases tested by UW were students who live off-campus. The reality is that students are not confined to campus; they travel off-campus to work, volunteer, run errands, visit nearby relatives, and explore area attractions. We need everyone to take precautions to help keep our community safe.”

 Public Health Madison & Dane County asks that everyone in the community:

  • Avoid gatherings. Skipping gatherings limits the chance for virus to spread. Nearly 4 in 10 people who test positive say they gathered with people they don’t live with.
  • Wear masks. Masks are required indoors, and we strongly recommend them outdoors anytime you are near others.

“Our success as a community in fighting COVID-19 depends on our collective actions. The number of cases associated with UW is a concern, but plenty of virus is spreading elsewhere in the community too. We ask that everyone follow public health orders and recommendations, and this is especially important as we continue the holiday weekend,” said Heinrich.

“People want to get back to their routines, but there is nothing routine about this pandemic,” said Dane County Executive Parisi. “In Dane County, over 6,000 people have had COVID-19 and Wisconsin has had over 80,000 cases. This virus can cause long term, debilitating effects that are not well understood. Assuming you can get the virus and will ‘just get over it’ is a dangerous gamble. We have the power to stop this surge in cases; it won’t go away by itself.”

Contact tracers continue to follow-up with all individuals in the community diagnosed with COVID-19 in order to prevent spread of the virus. This effort takes a significant amount of staff time and resources, currently totaling about 115 staff in the county, working at both Public Health (71 staff) and University Health Services (44 staff). 

Public Health will continue to work closely with UW-Madison and other community partners to monitor COVID-19 in the community.  

*Dane County had 147 cases for September 5 at the time of this original posting (September 6 at 10:19 am). As of September 8 at 8:40 am, the number of case counts for September 5 is 167.