‘Back to the basics’: Local leaders remind people pandemic isn’t over yet

MADISON, Wis.– Local leaders are asking people to go back to the basics: wear a mask, keep distance and stay sanitized.

Public Health Madison and Dane County Director Janel Heinrich said too many people are acting as if everything is back to normal, when the reality is COVID-19 is the worst it has ever been in Dane County.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway echoed that message.

“These are not normal times, and we can’t act like they are normal times. Each one of us needs to reevaluate our daily routine,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Heinrich said the rate for catching the virus in Dane County is nearly double the entire country’s.

Over 30 percent of people who recently tested positive for COVID-19 said they got it from someone in the same household. Heinrich said that family member likely attended a gathering.

“I’m asking you to lean in and think about how you can adapt your individual actions to help reverse the trend of rising case counts,” Heinrich said.

Contact tracers are finding a lot of people crossing the county border to go places where gathering restrictions don’t exist. Then those people return to Dane County.

“We believe that what we have been doing is working, but without a comprehensive and consistent approach throughout Wisconsin, the efforts of local public health and healthcare alone is not enough to contain the disease,” Heinrich said.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi calls on state leaders to make uniform and stricter guideline across Wisconsin.

“The election is over. Now, we need our state leaders to govern, to meet with one another, to come up with a plan and to execute that plan,” Parisi said.

Local leaders are also asks people to rethink Thanksgiving plans and meet with family online instead of in person.

The guidelines are in place to prevent the local healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.