The state of Wisconsin is turning to a new online tool to help stop the spread of COVID-19. On Aug. 19, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) launched the online Decision Tool for Individuals and Families. The Tool is intended to help residents assess their COVID-19 risk and determine the best course of action to keep themselves and those around them safe.

“Wisconsin is seeing significant COVID-19 activity, and data show that this is at least partly due to activities like gatherings,” DHS said in a statement. “Data obtained from contact tracing calls indicate that the percent of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 who reported attending a gathering, party, or other meet up with people outside their home in the past two weeks grew from 7 percent of cases in May to 21 percent of cases in June and 20 percent of cases in July.”

In response to the changing data, DHS said it was urging residents to “consider how individual actions like the decision to attend a gathering may contribute to community spread.” DHS launched the new Decision Tool as a means to help residents make safer choices.

“The safest choices are to stay home and wear a face covering when you are out,” said Governor Tony Evers. “At the same time, we know from the data that people are choosing to participate in activities that put themselves and others at risk, and we hope this tool will assist people in making safe choices. I understand the pull to see family and do the activities we love to do, but we also need to protect ourselves and each other as much as possible.”

The Tool works by prompting residents with questions to consider, scenarios to work through, and the available scientific evidence behind the state’s recommendations.

“This tool is meant to empower people to choose safer activities whenever possible,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “All activities involve some level of risk, and depending on the individual participating and the community where the activity is located, that risk is evolving and multi-dimensional. This tool gives people additional questions to consider when making decisions about which activities to participate in.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs