After a week of quickly-increasing COVID-19 cases in young people, and 21% of the cases stemming from bars, the Madison and Dane County Health Department this morning ordered a reduction in capacity for restaurants and the shuttering of all bars for any non-takeout service.

In doing so the county is temporarily abandoning its Forward Dane plan to re-open the county. Starting at 8 AM on Thursday the following take effect:

  • Indoor dining at restaurants is reduced from 50% to 25% of capacity.
  • Bars can be open for take-out only.
  • Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer, not including employees.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people or fewer, not including employees.
  • Bars and restaurants are allowed to provide outdoor seating, with physical distancing.

This is a level of control that has not been in place in Dane County since the state Safer At Home order was struck down by the courts in April. 

From June 13 through June 26, 614 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Dane County. Below is what is known about these cases:

  • 49% of cases were between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • 54% of cases were tested at the community test site at Alliant Energy Center.
  • 45% of cases interviewed reported attending a gathering or party with people outside of their household.
  • 28% of cases (a total of 172) were associated with a cluster: 132 from bars, 14 from workplaces, 11 from congregate facilities, 3 from daycares/preschools, and 12 from other clusters.
  • 13% of cases were asymptomatic at the time of the interview.

“For the past week, Dane County has seen a sustained, high number of cases. After consultation with our contact tracing team, gatherings and visits to bars and restaurants continue to be implicated in interviews with cases,” Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison and Dane County, said in a statement. “We are acting now to immediately curb this increase in cases and protect the health and safety of our community.”

The current state in Dane County raises serious questions about what will happen when the city welcomes back students in the fall.

There will be a press conference at 11 AM. 

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Steve Hanson

Steve is a web designer and recently retired from running the hosting and development company Cruiskeen Consulting LLC. Cruiskeen Consulting LLC is the parent company of Wis.Community, and publication of this site continues after his retirement.

Steve is a member of LION Publishers and the Local Media Consortium, is active in Health Dunn Right, and is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of the greater Chippewa Valley



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