Monroe County remains in high-risk category

Submitted by the Monroe County Health Department

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Monroe County. The county still is rated in the high-risk level of community transmission for Covid-19, according to the CDC Covid-19 Data Tracker. 

The CDC recommends that all individuals 2 and older in areas of substantial or high transmission, regardless of vaccination status, continue to wear a mask when in indoor public spaces and at indoor gatherings. The CDC also recommends universal indoor masking for all K-12 teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. 

The rise in cases is likely due to the Delta variant, which has become the predominant strain across Wisconsin. During the week of Sept. 1–7, Monroe County saw 128 new Covid-19 cases, an increase from 35 new cases one month ago. The Delta variant is more than twice as infectious as the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, causing it to spread more rapidly and cause more infections. 

You can do your part to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in our community by getting tested and staying home if you feel sick and practicing layered levels of protection against Covid-19 in your day-to-day. 

Anyone experiencing Covid-19 symptoms, even if they are vaccinated, should get tested and stay at home. To find out where you can get tested locally, go to https://healthymonroecowi.org/covid-19/

Layered levels of protection continue to be recommended to help slow the rate of transmission. Wisconsin DHS provides the following guidance on the best practices to keep everyone safe: 

• Get vaccinated 

• Wear a mask 

• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when possible 

• Wash hands frequently 

• Get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19

• Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces when possible 

• If you choose to attend a gathering, keep it small, preferably outdoors, and with only one other household 

• If attending an event or gathering where food is being served, use single-use cups, plates, and utensils if possible, avoid crowding in areas where food is being served, and avoid “potluck” or buffet-style food options 

If you are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19, DHS continues to advise against attending and hosting gatherings with people who do not live with you and who are not fully vaccinated. Gathering with other unvaccinated people you do not live with is still considered a high-risk activity that contributes to the spread of COVID-19. 

For more information on Wisconsin DHS recommendations, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19.

Covid-19 vaccines are a safe and effective tool to help reduce the severity of illness and risk of hospitalization with Covid-19. 

On Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee) for the prevention of Covid-19 disease in individuals 16 and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization, including for individuals 12–15 years old and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. 

Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have extended the $100 Covid-19 Vaccine Reward Program to Sept. 19. The program offers a $100 U.S. Bank Rewards card to anyone 12 and older in Wisconsin who gets his or her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine between Aug. 20 and Sept. 19. 

To receive the $100 U.S. Bank Rewards card, Wisconsin residents will need to fill out the form available at 100.wisconsin.gov or call (844) 684-1064 to register over the phone. Information submitted will be used to verify that individuals have a valid first Covid-19 vaccine dose reported to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) between Aug. 20 and Sept. 19. Rewards cards will be mailed to the individual’s Wisconsin address and may take six to eight weeks to be mailed to participants. 

The Monroe County Health Department is offering free Covid-19 vaccines at the office location, 315 W. Oak St., Sparta. If you would like to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, visit https://vaccinate.wi.gov to schedule an appointment online, or call us at (608) 269-8666. Walk-in appointments are available during business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday). 

For additional information on local Covid-19 data, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/local.htm or https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.

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