Public Health evaluates tighter restrictions after increase in positive COVID-19 cases

MADISON, Wis.– Public Health Madison and Dane County remind residents and businesses to not let guard down about COVID-19 as the community sees an upward trend in positive tests.

Over 270 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days, bringing the seven-day average to 47 cases per day, according to Public Health Madison and Dane County.

“We can’t speculate about the increase in cases, and it’s probably not due to just one thing, but in our contact tracing interviews it is evident that people are socializing more,” Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County Janel Heinrich said. “The orders put in place are one part of a strategy, and we also need everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of disease.”

Half of the cases are people in their 20s, according to Public Health Madison and Dane County. The department said it is investigating multiple cases associated with businesses near University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Public Health Madison and Dane County said the upward trend of positive cases is not in correlation to increased testing, and will determine if the county should return to previous phases.

“Given this steep upward trend in cases from the past several days, it is very unlikely we will meet the criteria outlined in the Forward Dane plan for moving to Phase 3 anytime soon,” Heinrich said.

Forward Dane metrics will be evaluated again on July 2.

Local leaders addressed the increase and encourage citizens to take precautions to keep the entire community safe.

“Our community is facing a real turning point with the now accelerating spread of COVID-19,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “It’s here, it’s spreading, it’s affecting more young people, and the risk of getting it is no less today than it was in March when the state started Safer at Home. If we don’t wear masks, if we gather in groups, if we go out in public excessively, we are at risk of amplifying this dangerous virus.”

Public Health of Madison and Dane County said the path of COVID-19 is not linear, which could result in tighter restrictions down the road.

“Our public health department is the one who issues orders, but our collective actions give us the power to change how this virus impacts our community,” City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said.“When we make the choice to wear a mask and practice physical distancing we all help keep ourselves healthy, our neighbors healthy and our businesses open and safe.”

Public Health Madison and Dane County is encouraging people to stay home if sick, wear masks in public, and assume you’ve come in contact with COVID-19 if going out.