01STOCK_CORONAVIRUS01

JANESVILLE

Rock County’s health department on Thursday announced that it will discontinue its phased reopening plan effective Tuesday, June 8, giving way for county businesses to “reopen fully.”

That includes businesses in Janesville, said city spokesman Nick Faust, although some other city restrictions remain in place.

Janesville’s Rockport Pool and the Palmer Park wading pool will continue with capacity limits until further notice, Faust said.

Faust acknowledged that some patrons might have to wait in line to use the wading pool during the upcoming weekend, when high temperatures in the low 90s are predicted.

The county news release lists reasons for the change that include lower COVID-19 daily case counts, lower hospitalization rates and increasing vaccinations.

“This means that as of Tuesday, all Rock County businesses may return to 100 percent occupancy and reopen fully,” the release states.

The plan involved phased reopening requirements and other virus-specific guidelines. Although those will be gone as of Tuesday, officials in the release said they will keep updating the COVID-19 dashboard every two weeks and adjust as needed if trends change.

The data listed in the release included:

  • A drop from as many as 170 new cases per day from November through January to about eight per day over the last week.
  • The total number of active cases in the county has gone below 200 for the first time since the middle of March.
  • Having between eight and 15 hospitalized patients when at the peak of the pandemic there were as many as 70.

Additionally, health department epidemiologist Nick Zupan said in the release that getting more people vaccinated is helping keep those figures down.

“We have seen very few breakthrough cases and, among those, even fewer have been severe,” he said. “The vaccine provides protection for those who are fully vaccinated, and we feel that as more people become vaccinated, disease rates will continue to drop.”

Health officials cautioned that unvaccinated people should keep wearing masks and stay socially distanced in accordance with federal guidelines. Some places, like hospitals, schools or public transportation, might still have ongoing mask requirements.

The city continues to recommend masking and distancing for unvaccinated patrons of the Janesville Farmers Market, although no one will be checking for vaccination certificates, Faust said.

The Janesville Ice Arena and Senior Center also will continue to require masks, Faust said, but city staff will review those rules and could announce changes later this month.

The Janesville pools will be open only four days a week during June, but officials hope to have them open daily through the end of the season.

”We thank the public for their patience as we complete certification and training for additional lifeguards to staff the pools,” the city said in a news release.

Those interested in getting a vaccine may call 608-352-6727 or visit RockCountyShot.com. Free rides to appointments are also available by calling 211 to schedule one.

More information is available on the health department’s website, www.co.rock.wi.us/ publichealth.

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