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Virus is still present and infectious in our communities; residents urged to take precautions

As a result of meeting criteria outlined in Forward Dane, Public Health Madison & Dane County is issuing an order to move Dane County to Phase 2. Order #5 is effective as of 8:00am on June 15, 2020.

“Businesses and workplaces are reopening with required measures to help contain the spread of disease, but COVID-19 is very much still in our community,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “We need our community to remain vigilant and careful as we move to new phases so we don’t see a spike in cases.”

To move to Phase 2, we needed two full weeks of Phase 1 data (May 26 through June 9), more than half of the metrics needed to be green, and the epidemiology criteria (percent positive tests and cases per day) could not be red. As of today, 6 measures are green, 3 are yellow.

Below is a summary of highlights from Order #5:

  • Reopening all businesses—such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments—to 50% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing.
  • Indoor gatherings at 50 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing
  • Outdoor gatherings of 100 or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.
  • Park courts and fields are open, individuals must maintain physical distancing.
  • Sports activities have updated requirements.
  • Playgrounds and splash pads are open, with physical distancing.
  • Childcare, youth settings, and schools have updated requirements.

“I’m proud of the work of our public health department and believe that the Forward Dane plan is a sound approach that is based in science and data. It can be easy to criticize from the sidelines, but the reality is that Public Health Madison & Dane County have been leaders in the state from the start, and I have no doubt that their actions have prevented illness and death in our community. We should all continue to support this measured approach,” said Dane County Executive Parisi.

While we are moving to Phase 2, it’s important to note there are some trends we are closely monitoring. Since our first Forward Dane data release on 5/21, we have seen an increase in average number of new cases per day move from 8 to 16. While still below the “red” threshold of cases per day, this trend is moving closer to red.  

“With these trends, we’re reminded that while the phase has changed, the virus still hasn’t. The virus is still as infectious and dangerous as it has always been,” said City of Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway. “We want to stress risk reduction: doing things to minimize your risk while we work back towards normalcy. Remember that the actions you take affect others.”

Risk reduction strategies include:

  • Limiting your bubble. Consider how many people you are seeing day to day. The more people you socialize with, the greater the chance you will be exposed or will expose others. By limiting your social circle to less people, you will lower your risk and the risk of others.
  • Minimizing trips out. Plan ahead so you can get all the things you need at once. Use online ordering or curbside pickup for lower risk options.
  • Gathering outside instead of inside. Don’t forget to physically distance yourself and wear a cloth face covering too.
  • Continuing to participate virtually. Work from home if possible and attend events, services, and performances virtually.
  • Getting tested if you need it. The Alliant Energy Center community test site remains open Monday through Saturdays. See our website for details.
  • Continuing to maintain prevention measures. Stay home when you’re sick or feel off, stay six feet from people you don’t live with, wear a face covering when you can’t maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, and wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often.

Visit our website for more risk reduction tips and strategies.

There is no end date for Phase 2. We will be in Phase 2 for a minimum of two weeks, but it could be much longer. In order to move to Phase 3, we need two full weeks of Phase 2 data (June 15-28) and a few days afterwards to compile the data from that time period. Additionally, more than half of metrics must be green, and no metrics in Dane County and the Southern Region can be red.

Stay up-to-date on the latest metrics by visit our data page.