Increase in COVID-19 cases likely to delay Dane County’s next reopen phase

Public health officials expect a recent increase in COVID-19 case counts will delay Dane County moving into phase three of its reopening plan.

The current seven-day average for new daily confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dane County has jumped up to 47 from 17 earlier this month. In the past five days, 279 people in Dane County have tested positive.

Health officials said increased testing did not fully account for the upward trend in new cases.

"Given this steep upward trend in cases from the past several days, it is very unlikely we will meet the criteria outlined in the Forward Dane plan for moving to Phase 3 anytime soon," said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County in a statement issued Thursday.

The Forward Dane plan divides reopening into three phases. Dane County is currently in phase two. A variety of metrics guide the county's decision making as to when to move into the next stage.

People between the ages of 20 and 29 account for 50 percent of the latest 279 cases. Health officials said they are "investigating multiple cases associated with businesses near (the UW) campus."

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