Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
Officials urge parents to follow guidelines as cases appear in schools
During a media briefing, Greenfield Health Department Director Darren Rausch urged parents to comply with safety guidelines, as cases have begun to appear in schools across the county. Rausch said that members of his department have reported a lack of “parental responsibility” since school has resumed.
“Specifically, some of our colleagues have mentioned and outlined situations where parents have sent their COVID-positive child to school,” Rausch said. “Additionally, departments have identified that many parents have not been quarantining their child appropriately and have sent that child to school or to a daycare setting.”
Rausch said members of his department have reported obstinance and lying when trying to conduct contact tracing. Rausch urged parents to answer phone calls from health officials and do their best to help with contact tracing in the future.
Rausch also mentioned that obstructing a disease investigator is against Wisconsin state law and local ordinances.
“When you tell us that you won’t give us the information, that doesn’t help us to fight COVID-19,” Rausch said.
Indicators for cases and testing flip from green to yellow
During the briefing, Mayor Tom Barrett provided an update on the COVID-19 indicators, which provide benchmarks for the county’s response to the virus.
The indicators for cases and testing flipped to yellow in Milwaukee County. This means we saw an increase in the number of cases and a decrease in individuals seeking testing.
Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services of the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, again urged anyone in the following categories to get tested for COVID-19:
- Anyone with symptoms
- Anyone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19
- Anyone who has been instructed to be tested
Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik resigns
Jeanette Kowalik, commissioner of the Milwaukee Health Department, announced she’s resigning from her position last week. Kowalik will join Trust For America’s Health, a health policy organization based in Washington, D.C.
Kowalik said in a news release that she felt limited in her position.
“This was evident at multiple points in time through our pandemic response,” Kowalik said in the release. “From access to testing, promotion of masks/face coverings, gathering limits, orders, messaging and outreach for communities of color, and various threats to Health Officers.”
To find out more about her efforts to curtail the coronavirus pandemic, read this story from NNS.
Kowalik will continue in her current role for three weeks. Barrett said the city will start searching for a replacement immediately and that an interim health commissioner will be named.
Fiserv Forum and Miller Park to be used as early voting locations
Barrett announced Thursday that the city will be opening Fiserv Forum and Miller Park as early voting locations starting on Oct. 20 and ending on Nov. 1.
Fiserv Forum will host in-person absentee ballot voting, and Miller Park will host drive-through voting in its parking lot. Fiserv will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Miller Park has yet to release its hours for operation.
The move comes as the city prepares for the upcoming election Nov. 3. Barrett described preparations for the 2020 general election as “a marriage between the election commission and health department” because of COVID-19.
“We anticipate increased voter turnout in 2020 … and with the ongoing pandemic, we want to make sure that our in-person voting locations comply with the CDC guidelines to keep voters safe,” Barrett said.
The addresses for the two locations are:
Fiserv Forum – 1111 Vel R. Phillips Ave.
Miller Park – 1 Brewers Way
Where to get free masks
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.
Check the City of Milwaukee Health Department’s website for the most updated facts and answers to questions about the mask ordinance.
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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