Dane County, City of Madison employees now required to get COVID vaccine or get weekly test

MADISON, Wis. — All county and city employees in Dane County and Madison will be required to be vaccinated from COVID-19 or submit proof of a weekly negative COVID test, local leaders announced Tuesday.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway made the joint announcement Tuesday morning.

Officials say details on a deadline for employees to get the vaccine will be communicated to employees in the next couple of weeks, but those timelines have not yet been finalized.

Parisi says he did not have numbers on how many County employees are already vaccinated. The County has about 2,400 employees, according to Parisi, and the requirement will also apply to those working from home.

The City employs about 2,800 people, and the mayor says the requirement will also be made across the board regardless of telework status.

Both County and City employees would be subject to discipline if they refused both the vaccine and the weekly COVID testing.

The announcement of the vaccine requirement comes as coronavirus case numbers continue to rise sharply in Wisconsin, although COVID-related deaths remain low. Nearly 500 new cases were reported statewide on Monday, a drop from Friday when more than 1,000 cases were reported in a single day for the first time in almost four months.

The 7-day rolling average of new cases is now up to 797, a large increase from a month ago, when the 7-day daily average was just 76.

One new COVID-related death was reported Monday.

Even before the vaccine requirement, Dane County has consistently had one of the highest vaccination rates in the state — and the country. As of Monday, 70.4% of the county’s population had received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than two-thirds of the county — 67.6% — had finished the vaccination series.

That’s significantly higher than the 52% of the state’s overall population that has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and the 49.4% of the state that has completed the vaccine series.