The University of Wisconsin recorded its lowest seven-day average for positive COVID tests last week, at 0.1% positivity.
Although the seven-day average rose slightly to 0.2% this week, positive test rates are still low compared to earlier in the year.
In a statement to WKOW, UW Director of News and Media Relations Meredith McGlone said UW was optimistic about their current COVID-19 situation. McGlone said the low positive case rates and an uptick in vaccine supply are indicators Fall 2021 will go well for students and staff.
According to Public Health Madison and Dane County, 67% of people over age 64 have received at least one vaccine dose as of February 28. ICUs are at record lows, containing an average of only 11 COVID patients.
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Wisconsin residents with chronic health conditions will be higher priority recipients of the vaccines. Gov. Tony Evers said people with chronic conditions between the ages of 16 and 64 will begin receiving vaccines this coming Monday, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Asthma, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, Down syndrome and HIV are examples of the numerous health conditions that will be on this early vaccine access list.
The Wisconsin State Journal also reported Evers intends to administer vaccines to the general population on May 1st. This follows President Joe Biden calling for states to aim for this date.
Pediatrics Professor at UW James Conway explained how the federal government allocates the vaccine to the states.
“The federal government basically laid out guidelines, but they delegated to the states for each state to make up their own system of how they wanted to allocate the vaccine,” Conway said.
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The Governor did not specify whether he would extend his mask mandate again. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Gov. Evers said the decision will be based on the number of cases in the state and how they are trending. He did, however, insist that masking is still essential until the vaccine has been fully administered.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued new guidance for fully vaccinated people saying fully inoculated people can visit unvaccinated people with a low risk of COVID-19 infection without masks or physical distancing.
Public Health Madison & Dane County has released an amendment to Emergency Order #14 and said fully vaccinated individuals do not need to maintain six feet of physical distancing or wear a face-covering when in an enclosed space with other vaccinated individuals or unvaccinated individuals who are not at an increased risk for COVID.
People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when it has been at least 2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series or at least 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine, according to the City of Madison website.
The CDC still recommends for all people to practice social distancing and wear masks when in public. Additionally, they warned against large and medium-sized social gatherings.