In response to increasing breakthrough infections in Dane County, Public Health Madison and Dane County issued Face Covering Emergency Order #2 Thursday. The order will go into effect at midnight this Friday.

The new order, similar to Face Covering Emergency Order #1, attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19 by mandating face coverings in enclosed public buildings for anyone age two or older.

The new order includes exemptions for people actively performing political, educational, cultural, religious or artistic presentations, provided they are vaccinated and practice social distancing. It also exempts those actively playing wind instruments.

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In an email statement to The Badger Herald, PHMDC Communications Coordinator Morgan Finke said PHMDC has received over 160 complaints about compliance, but they remain hopeful most Dane County residents will comply.

“We do not believe that this change will result in a significant increase in disease transmission,” Finke said.Right now, we are working to balance risk mitigation with long-term living with COVID.”

Dane County is doing better than the rest of Wisconsin in terms of COVID-19 prevention, according to the Dane County COVID-19 Dashboard.

In Dane County, the rate of cases amongst unvaccinated individuals has risen 21% from Aug. 8 to Sept. 4, while cases amongst vaccinated individuals have remained the same, according to the order.

Though Dane County’s vaccination rates are high, the CDC has confirmed vaccinated individuals can still contract and spread the delta variant, though they are less likely to do so than unvaccinated individuals.

Finke predicts more updated emergency orders in the future.

“The current face covering order was scheduled to expire on September 16, but as this update demonstrates, we will continue to review the science around transmission and adapt as science and best practices evolve,” Finke said.

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According to the CDC, the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated.

Students at UW can find information about where to get vaccinated on the University Health Services website, and non-students can find vaccine information at the Wisconsin DHS website.