MADISON (WKOW) -- On Saturday, Dane County recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
According to Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC), on Sept. 5, Dane County's recorded number of positive cases was 147. Previously, the highest number of cases was 141, which was set on June 30.
"With the addition of so many students in our community, and more testing on the UW-Madison campus, we expected a rise in cases, but this isn’t a record we wanted to break," Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County said. "It is important that we all take action so case counts this high don’t become a trend.”
Of the 147 cases recorded, at least half were UW-Madison students or staff. This includes people tested on campus. However, it doesn't include all students who might have been tested for the virus at an off-campus testing site. Because of this, PHMDC expects the number of cases to increase as contact tracers complete interviews.
“UW-Madison is part of the Madison community and has an impact on all of us,” City of Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said. “Yesterday 82% of positive cases tested by UW were students who live off-campus. The reality is that students are not confined to campus; they travel off-campus to work, volunteer, run errands, visit nearby relatives, and explore area attractions. We need everyone to take precautions to help keep our community safe.”
Public Health Madison & Dane County asked that everyone in the community avoid gathering and wear masks.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said he knew people would like to get back to their normal routines, but the pandemic isn't going away.
"Given the many unknowns about the long-term impacts of COVID-19, we need to continue our work as a community to reduce risk—not only for ourselves, but also for the folks we come into contact with on a daily basis," Parisi said in a statement.
"This virus severely sickens some randomly, without discretion. As Labor Day weekend nears, we are reminded of the continued sacrifice everyone is making to keep our families and communities safe in the midst of this awful pandemic," Parisi said.
"We are especially grateful to all the health care, grocery, and other front-line workers who get up and go to work every day not knowing if they will come into contact with this virus.”