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MADISON – As of May 12, the COVID-19 Community Levels in Racine, Kenosha and five other counties in Wisconsin have been flagged as high. Due to the rising cases, DHS is encouraging residents living in the following counties to wear masks while in public indoor spaces: Barron, Kenosha, La Crosse, Monroe, Racine, Rusk, and Vernon. This recommendation is regardless of vaccination status.

Consistent use of a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower odds of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (adjusted odds ratio = 0.44).– Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A study from the California Department of Public Health, which was published in the CDC’s journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows the effectiveness of masks against infection from SARS-CoV-2.

“Although the virus continues to change, we have the tools to fight it thanks to effective vaccines, accessible testing, and new treatments,” said Karen Timberlake, DHS Secretary-designee. “As cases increase statewide, all Wisconsinites have an essential role to play in keeping ourselves and our communities healthy and protecting those around us, especially those who are at high risk for severe illness.”

COVID-19 Community Levels

COVID-19 Community levels, as defined by the CDC, “measure the impact of COVID-19 illness on health and health care systems in communities.”

Data indicates that in addition to the 7 counties in the high category, 38 Wisconsin counties are experiencing a medium COVID-19 Community Level, and 27 are experiencing low COVID-19 Community Levels. DHS recommends Wisconsinites stay informed about COVID-19 Community Levels and take precautions against COVID-19.

Seven counties are currently in the ‘high’ category for COVID-19 infections. – Credit: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

“As we see an increase in cases, we urge Wisconsinites to help us prevent severe illness by following these simple actions,” said Traci DeSalvo, Director of the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases. “The most important thing you can do today to protect yourself and your community is to be sure you are up to date on all COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster and additional doses. The more people who are vaccinated means more people are protected against severe health outcomes associated with COVID-19. This reduces strain on hospitals, slows the spread of disease, and saves lives.”

Take Action

  • Know the COVID-19 Community Level of where you live or where you may be traveling to
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines 
  • Get all recommended vaccines and booster doses.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 
  • Stay home if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19
    • if you have an increased risk for complications talk to a health care provider
    • visit a community clinic to ask about available treatments for COVID-19 care
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator to reduce the chances of becoming infected

Local news, COVID-19 coverage

DHS will continue to actively monitor local COVID-19 Community Levels and provide public recommendations, based on the current risk COVID-19 poses.

The Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens is committed to publishing the most current and accurate information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in our Coronavirus section.

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