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Dane County mask mandate will expire March 1

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Health Dept. to Let Mask Mandate Expire

MADISON (WKOW) — After nearly six months, Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) is letting its indoor mask mandate expire. 

According to PHMDC, the seven-day average of cases peaked on January 12 and the seven-day average for hospitalizations peaked on January 15.

“Letting the face covering order expire doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over. Rather, it signals that we have made it through the Omicron surge and are entering a new stage of the pandemic,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “The most important thing you can do now is to stay up-to-date on our vaccines as they have proven to be highly effective in protecting you from becoming severely ill, ending up in the hospital, or dying from COVID-19.”

The mandate requires face coverings for those two and older when indoors where others are present, although it does include several exceptions for those vaccinated and those with medical conditions or disabilities. The expiration of the local mandate does not impact federal requirements on face coverings on public transportation. 

“I want to thank everyone in the community for your commitment to keeping yourselves and your neighbors safe throughout the pandemic,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure; but your diligence, combined with the amazing work of Public Health and our many community partners, is the reason we have come through the pandemic with one of the lowest per-capita death rates in the nation. Thank you.”

PHMDC put the mandate in place August 19, when the delta variant of COVID-19 was the dominant strain causing an uptick in cases. The final extension went into effect February 1, with an expiration date of March 1. 

The February extension was the third extension of the mandate since the end of November, when officials said they hoped no more extensions would be necessary because vaccinations were up and cases were down. 

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