Good morning, Madison!

It's Wednesday. We're almost through the week. Let's get right into the news today.

β€” Hayley


🦠 Omicron is here and spreading.

  • Dane County reported its first case of the variant on Dec. 16. Now, the county has recorded as many as 150 cases of Omicron and that number is only expected to grow.
  • Omicron is estimated to account for 75% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Dane County sees about 250 new COVID-19 cases every day.
  • If you're traveling this holiday season, here are some tips from Public Health Madison and Dane County:
  • Test yourself before a gathering or before traveling to a gathering.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if symptoms are very mild.
  • Keep gatherings small and short.
  • Take extra precautions when gathering with people 65 or older, people who are immunocompromised, and people with chronic health conditions.
  • Get vaccinated and boosted.

🚌 PSA: Metro Transit service will be decreased over the Christmas holiday.

  • On Friday, Dec. 24, Metro Transit will follow its weekday schedule. Service will end at 6 p.m.
  • On Saturday, Dec. 25, lines 80-84 will not run. Other routes will follow the holiday schedule. See the full list of affected routes here.

πŸ₯¬ You might want to check your salad.

πŸ” The owners of Settle Down and Oz by Oz have their eyes on the North Side.

  • Sam Parker, Ryan Huber, and Brian Bartels have signed a lease at 617 N. Sherman Ave. (in Lakewood Plaza Shopping Center) to open the Cranberry Club.
  • The new spot will be more entree focused but owners won't call it a supper club. The 2,400-square-foot restaurant will seat about 80 inside and 20 on a patio.
  • The new spot is still in the baby phases of planning but the State Journal reports the Cranberry Club expects to open next summer.

🎡 Your lunchtime read: Re-mapping the local music ecosystem.

  • From Tone Madison: "This year felt like a critical one for Madison music, not just because of the achievements or the stark reminders of the work still yet to be done, but because of the collective knowledge gleaned from the range of that spectrum. We've arrived at a precipice and if we want to move forward instead of idling on the edge, we need to make a greater investment in local music."

🐼 RIP to a legend.

  • Henry Vilas Zoo Tuesday announced the death of 19-year old male red panda, Tarrei. According to the zoo, typically in the wild, the life span for red pandas is eight to 14 years.
"Tarrei was one of our most iconic residents. He made visitors smile with his inquisitive nature. He was adored by many of our guests and was a true ambassador for his wild counterparts." β€” Joseph Darcangelo Zoo Deputy Director

🦠 Covid-19 Resources

Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 57.8%

Dane County Vaccination Rate: 75.7%

Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.

Do you still need your flu shot? Start here.

NEW: Request an at-home testing kit.


πŸ“… Events: Wednesday, Dec. 22

Wondering what that 🟠 means?

That symbol next to an event listing means that Tone Madison’s team of writers and editors recommends checking it out. Tone knows Madison’s arts and music landscape better than anybody else.


(Header image via Flickr user Ken Fager)