COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community
- Follow guidance for your county's current COVID-19 Community Level to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
- With widespread access to vaccines, testing, and treatment options, we have more tools than ever before to prevent severe COVID-19 infection.
There are many ways you can protect yourself, your family, and your community from severe illness from COVID-19. COVID-19 Community Levels provide information about the amount of severe illness in the community you are located and can help you decide what steps to take to protect yourself and others. While COVID-19 continues to spread in Wisconsin communities base your prevention strategies on your COVID-19 Community Level and individual level of risk.
What are COVID-19 Community Levels?
COVID-19 Community Levels were developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help individuals and counties decide what COVID-19 preventative strategies to use.
All Wisconsin counties are assigned a weekly COVID-19 Community Level of “low”, “medium”, or “high” depending on:
- How many hospital beds are being used due to COVID-19
- New hospital admissions due to COVID-19
- Total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area
Each COVID-19 Community Level has corresponding guidance that should be followed to minimize the impact COVID-19 has on individuals and health care systems.
A Low COVID-19 Community Level means hospitals are seeing limited impacts of COVID-19, few people experiencing severe illness, and few people are testing positive for COVID-19 in a county.
Individuals, especially those who are immunocompromised or at increased risk of severe disease, may consider wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator if it makes them feel safer.
A Medium COVID-19 Community Level means hospitals are seeing some impacts of COVID-19, some people experiencing severe illness, and some people are testing positive for COVID-19 in your county.
Consider taking additional COVID-19 precautions to stay healthy, like keeping distance between yourself and others or gathering outdoors.
If you are at high risk for severe illness and are in a county with a Medium COVID-19 Community Level, talk with your doctor about taking additional public health precautions, such as wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator and avoiding non-essential public indoor activities.
A High COVID-19 Community Level means local health care systems may become overwhelmed due to increased levels of severe disease. Individuals should take additional precautions to reduce strain on their local hospitals.
- Wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in all public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk level.
- Strongly consider taking additional COVID-19 precautions to stay healthy, like keeping your distance from others and avoiding indoor gatherings, especially if you are at higher risk for severe illness.
If you spend time with people who are at higher risk for severe illness, consider using a COVID-19 self-test before being around them. People at higher risk for severe illness should consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public.
Best practices for staying safe
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends the following prevention strategies for all COVID-19 Community Levels.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses.
- Get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Stay home if you have COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms.
- Seek treatment if you have COVID-19 and are at risk of getting very sick.
- Improve ventilation when possible.
Understand the risks
The risk of participating in a certain activity depends on many factors that vary from person to person, place to place, and over time. That’s why it’s important to consider your own situation and the risks for you, your family, and your community. Here are some of the questions you can ask and consider:
- What is your county's current COVID-19 Community Level?
- Are you at increased risk of severe illness?
- Do you take everyday actions to protect yourself from COVID-19?
- Are you up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines?
- Do you have symptoms of COVID-19?
- Do you need to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator?
See your COVID-19 community level
COVID-19 community levels use vaccination coverage and other local information to help you make informed decisions.