‘Fueled by cautious optimism’: Dane County No. 1 in state for residents with one dose of vaccine, loosens restrictions

Rock County hopes to bring down spread before reopening further

MADISON, Wis. – Dane County is leading the way in COVID-19 vaccinations, officially No. 1 in the state for percent of residents who have gotten at least one dose.

As of Thursday, 59% of Dane County residents had gotten at least one shot, compared to 42.8% of the state as a whole, according to State data. On the same day, Public Health Madison & Dane County issued a new public health order easing capacity limits for businesses starting next week. Among other changes, restaurants and bars will be allowed 75% indoor capacity with physical distancing, up from 50% for restaurants and 25% for bars.

“Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic,” PHMDC Director Janel Heinrich said. “This latest order is fueled by cautious optimism about these promising improvements in COVID activity and increased vaccination coverage.”

Because Dane County’s COVID-19 vaccination rates are among the highest in the state and the number of cases we’ve seen…

Posted by Public Health Madison & Dane County on Thursday, April 29, 2021

As Dane County shoots ahead, the gap in rates with some surrounding counties is widening. Dodge, Jefferson, Rock and Lafayette counties have one-shot rates below the state as a whole.

“It’s going to be different from county to county,” said Jessica Turner, communications specialist with the Rock County Public Health Department.

In Rock County, 39.5% of residents have gotten at least one vaccine dose.

“Vaccinations are very important because they do help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Turner said.

Rock County also issued a new order, extending the mask mandate with some modifications, including exempting fully vaccinated people when meeting inside with other fully vaccinated people.

It also modified part of its reopening plan. Currently, Rock County is in Phase 2, which allows 50% capacity for establishments such as restaurants. The Phase 3 used to allow 100% capacity, but the county revised it to put a 75% cap on capacities, adding an incremental step to the process.

As of now, the county is planning to stay in Phase 2.

“We are still seeing fairly high case spread of COVID-19 in Rock County, and we want to bring that down a little before we reopen any further,” Turner said, adding that they’re always evaluating when to move forward, considering factors such as level of spread, hospital strain and vaccinations.

“Some of the barriers we’re seeing are transportation, access to vaccine, available clinics,” Turner said. “We are working very hard to remove any barriers for people who still want to get vaccinated.”

That includes community clinics and more walk-in opportunities. While scheduling an appointment is encouraged, walk-in appointments are now available at Blackhawk Technical College Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Rides can be made available for those who need them.

In conjunction with Walgreens, a vaccine clinic will be held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Beloit Head Start, where walk-ins are welcome. On May 8, another vaccine clinic will be held at the Rock County Job Center in Janesville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ins will be welcome there, as well. Those who need assistance with registration or transportation can call 608-352-6727.

City of Beloit firefighters will give vaccines at Peoples Church in Beloit May 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is required by calling 608-364-5711. More information can be found here.

Those interested in getting a vaccine in Rock County can find more information here.