The City of Milwaukee continues to be in Phase 4 of its reopening, and COVID-19 cases are still actively spreading throughout the community.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus and Milwaukee’s response for the week.
Will wearing masks in public be mandatory for Milwaukee residents?
The Common Council is scheduled to vote on the issue in a virtual meeting at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 13. The proposed ordinance would require face coverings to be worn in public spaces — indoors at all times, and outdoors when within 6 feet of another individual not from one’s household — with some exceptions.
Science and Centers for Disease Control recommendations have been clear to show that face coverings can make a difference, said Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, the lead sponsor of the proposed ordinance.
If more people wear masks, “we will be protected,” she said during a virtual meeting Thursday. “Why if we have the option to do something that’s proven to make a change, would we not?”
The proposal relies on “self-enforcement.” The Milwaukee Health Department and businesses would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance, rather than the Milwaukee Police Department or other local law enforcement agencies.
When is the Common Council voting? Can I weigh in on the decision?
You can watch the Common Council meeting live on the city channel at 1:30 p.m. Monday, July 13.
What’s the update on Milwaukee’s coronavirus response?
Whether there is a mask mandate or not, health experts like Ann Christiansen of the North Shore Health Department still urge people to wear cloth face coverings to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect others.
Along with face coverings, washing your hands often, maintaining distance from others and staying home if you are sick are still some of the best ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
As the people want to enjoy summer weather, officials in Thursday’s meeting advised the danger of gathering in groups in public spaces like the beach without face coverings and other safety precautions.
Dr. Ben Weston of the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management said young people make up many of the state’s positive cases. The average age now is 35, he said, and young people are more likely to transmit the coronavirus to people at higher risk of health complications.
Where can I get tested?
Residents can and should get tested, officials say, whether feeling sick or not experiencing symptoms.
The State of Wisconsin advises residents to contact your doctor and ask to be tested. You can also complete an online health screening assessment, and a licensed health practitioner will contact you.
Though there have been recent reports of longer lines at the North and South side National Guard sites, drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 testing are still available.
The North Side site is located at the Custer Stadium by Barack Obama High School, 4300 W. Fairmount Ave., and the South Side site is located at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave.
This interactive map from the Milwaukee County/State of Wisconsin Expanded Community Testing Initiative displays the location and contact information of 21 COVID-19 testing sites.
Read the City of Milwaukee’s weekly Phase 4 Assessment Update.
More precautions on how to stay safe and information on COVID-19 can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
Check out our continuing coronavirus coverage.
Looking for more personalized direction to resources and information during the coronavirus crisis? Get connected with News414, a texting-based news resource from Milwaukee NNS, Wisconsin Watch and Outlier Media. You can text MILWAUKEE to 73224 and begin to receive free, personalized data via text messages.
Still have coronavirus questions about Milwaukee’s response that remain unanswered? Email NNS Reporter Bridget Fogarty at email@example.com.