New Wisconsin COVID-19 guidance issued; mirrors CDC recommendations

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services have joined federal health officials in recommending everyone in areas where COVID-19 is spreading at a ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ rate wear a mask – regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Currently, Adams and Vernon County are the only ones in southwestern Wisconsin that cross into the ‘substantial’ category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map. No counties in the area are considered to have a ‘high’ level of community transmission.

The state agency put out the new recommendations Wednesday, a day after the CDC put out its revised guidance. The changes also advise all students, teachers, and staff at K-12 schools wear masks, again, regardless of vaccination status.

The move comes as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Wisconsin. On Tuesday, the state reported nearly 1,000 new cases, the highest one-day total since April. Wisconsin’s seven-day rolling average has also skyrocketed, rising to 419 per day over the preceding week. A month ago, that number stood at 72 cases per day, on average.

DHS officials also reminded residents that vaccinations are the best way they can protect themselves from the virus. The agency reported that, since the beginning of the year, over 98 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state were among those not vaccinated.

“We must protect our children as they head back to school this fall, along with all other Wisconsinites who are at an increased risk for being hospitalized from COVID-19,” DHS Deputy-Secretary Andrea Willems Van Dijk said. “Vaccines and the additional protection from wearing masks are the best combination of tools to achieve this goal.”

State health officials added that they have reached out to their local counterparts, asking them to look at the CDC’s classifications and determine out they apply to them.

On Tuesday, shortly after the CDC’s statement, Public Health Madison and Dane Co. issued its own updated guidance, asking residents to wear masks when indoors in public places or at private gatherings. County officials acknowledged Dane Co. was neither in the substantial nor high categories, but said they were making the advisement as a preventative measure.

The CDC map showing community transmission levels in Wisconsin on July 28, 2021.
The CDC map showing community transmission levels in Wisconsin on July 28, 2021.(CDC)
List of counties in the CDC’s High or Substantial Levels (High in Bold)
  • Adams Co.
  • Bayfield Co.
  • Buffalo Co.
  • Florence Co.
  • Forest Co.
  • Milwaukee Co.
  • Pepin Co.
  • Price Co.
  • Shawano Co.
  • Vernon Co.
  • Waukesha Co.

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