Dane County Madison Public Health issues hundreds of warnings for alleged COVID-19 order violations

Chris Rickert:

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 5,568 cases of COVID-19 in Dane County, including 41 new cases reported Wednesday and 40 documented deaths. Statewide there have been 77,129 cases and 1,142 deaths.

SSM Health, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital, was sent warning letters on Aug. 7, 13 and 19 for alleged face covering, cleaning and social distancing violations at clinics in Madison, including its cancer care center on John Q. Hammons Drive, according to Public Health.

In a statement, SSM Health outlined the precautions it’s been taking at its facilities and said it used the warnings from Public Health “as another opportunity to talk with our employees and remind them of our policies.”

The village of Mount Horeb Recreation Department was sent a warning letter on Aug. 10 for reportedly not abiding by social distancing guidelines during a sports program, according to the Public Health records. Village officials did not respond to requests for comment.

One school and three parishes within the Madison Catholic Diocese saw complaints. Diocese spokesman Brent King said a complaint about a mass gathering at St. Dennis School was likely related to a meet-and-greet picnic for which the school had received Public Health’s approval.

Public health received mask-related complaints about Blessed Sacrament and St. Maria Goretti in Madison and St. Mary of Pine Bluff in Cross Plains.

Two public school districts also show up on the health department’s list, including Marshall, for alleged violations of the mask and mass gatherings rules.

Marshall district administrator Dan Grady said the district hasn’t received the letter sent Aug. 27 and wasn’t sure what it could pertain to.

He said the cross-country team began practicing Aug. 17, staff gathered Aug. 24 and teachers have been meeting with parents of some students, but all such activities have been carried out in compliance with the county rules and no one has come to him with concerns directly.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

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