Dane County eases coronavirus orders on outdoor groups

Wisconsin's second-most-populated county announced that starting Wednesday it will no longer require people at outdoor gatherings to wear masks or keep crowds to a certain size, as long as they stay distanced from each other.

Public Health Madison and Dane County's public health order stipulates that people at outdoor gatherings are required to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from each other, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The order also allows self-service food stations and public saunas to reopen.

The order came as Wisconsin's average daily cases have been on the rise, increasing by 24% over the last two weeks. The state reported 706 new cases Saturday, as well as seven deaths.

Health officials noted that Dane County has one of the lowest case rates in the state, despite its high population. Officials also cited the 89% rate of vaccination among people aged 65 and older in the county, saying it was "a critical step in protecting the population most at risk of severe outcomes and death."

Statewide, about 63% of people age 65 and up are fully vaccinated. Health officials reported Saturday over 3 million shots have been administered, and about 20% of the total population has been fully vaccinated.

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