Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
MCTS increases number of passengers who can be on buses
On Friday, Milwaukee County Transit System, or MCTS, adjusted its passenger limit from 10 to 15. The new capacity rate stems from an increase in mask usage on buses. Since the MCTS issued a mask requirement Aug. 1., transit leaders estimate mask usage went from 33 percent to 85 percent of passengers complying.
With the pared-down Democratic National Convention, or DNC, taking place this week at the Wisconsin Center, MCTS officials announced Friday that passengers can expect changes in service due to detours.
The following route changes will be in effect, according to MCTS:
- Wisconsin Ave East-West Routes: Rt 14 (Humboldt-16th-Forest Home), Rt 30 (UMW-Sherman Blvd), Goldline (UWM-Wisconsin Ave-Bluemound Rd) and Blueline (National Ave-Fond du Lac Ave) will detour via State Street between Water and 10th/11th Streets.
- Route 12 (12th-Teutonia) and Route 31 (12th-Highland) will maintain service to stops on 12th and also near the 5th & St. Paul Intermodal Station (IMS). Stops on Wisconsin Ave between 10th and 6th will be temporarily suspended.
- Route 57 (Water-Walnut) will see minor impacts, temporarily suspending stops on Michigan. Service to the IMS at 5th & St. Paul will be maintained.
- Route 19 (3rd Street/King Drive) will detour via Water between the Third Ward and Juneau Ave, maintaining opportunities for transfer connections with east-west routes.
- Route 80 (6th Street) will detour via 12th Street from Wisconsin Ave to Highland Ave, maintaining opportunities for transfer connections with east-west routes.
Milwaukee Health Department releases reopening guidance for K-12 schools
The city announced Phase 4.1 at the start of August, which allows K-12 schools to open at a 50 percent capacity rate with a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan approved by the Milwaukee Health Department. Last week, department officials announced how they will review school plans.
The guidance highlights how schools should handle suspected or confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
According to the guidance, any coronavirus cases that occur in a school located within the City of Milwaukee must be reported to the Health Department by a COVID-19 coordinator, a school-appointed individual responsible for contacting the department. From there, individualized advice and guidance will be given.
If two cases are reported within 14 days or less in the same classroom, the affected cohort will transition to virtual learning, and the classroom must be cleaned.
If a school sees more than 3 percent in positive COVID-19 tests, students and teachers will transition to virtual learning and the facilities will undergo a deep cleaning. After at least a 14-day quarantine, the school will consult with the Milwaukee Health Department and reopen per its guidance.
Milwaukee Public Schools have already announced it will begin the school year virtually, with the school board voting last month on a reopening plan.
In addition, many of the city’s private and charter schools are going the same route. Read: Neighborhood private and charter schools make virtual plans as COVID-19 cases create safety concerns
Where to get free masks
Over a month into the MKE Cares mask mandate, everyone is required to wear masks – indoors and outdoors when within 6 feet of others – in Milwaukee.
To obtain a free mask, residents can visit these sites:
- The Keenan Health Clinic, 3200 N. 36th St., is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- The Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- The Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
NNS reporters also gathered a list of where to buy locally made masks if you’re looking to show some local business love when masking up.
To report business violations of the mask laws, residents can call 414-286-3674 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints will remain anonymous.
Check the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s website for the most updated facts and answers to questions about the mask ordinance.
Health commissioner appears on CNN
Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik appeared on CNN last week to discuss the city’s response to COVID-!9. Read about how Kowalik and her chief of staff, Lilliann Paine, both Milwaukee natives, are leading during this unprecedented public health crisis.
Resources to know
Look here for up-to-date statistics on COVID-19 in the county. 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.
Contact your health provider, call IMPACT 2-1-1 or take a look at the county’s testing site map to find a testing center near you. The free community testing sites at UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave., and Custer Stadium by Barack Obama School, 4300 W. Fairmount Ave. continue to operate.
Check out our continuing coronavirus coverage.
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