Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
Milwaukee County sees surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations
Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, said the county was flipping the key indicator for cases from yellow to red last week, meaning the county has seen a significant 14-day trend in positive COVID-19 cases.
Weston said there was also an increase in hospitalizations, as the county is beginning to reflect a statewide trend of increasing numbers.
“Wisconsin now has more COVID-19 hospitalizations than any other time since the pandemic began,” Weston said.
Greenfield Health Commissioner Darren Rausch said the county’s transmission rate surpassed 1.0 last week, meaning that on average, every person infected with coronavirus passed the disease on to at least one other person.
Rausch said case numbers for children also are rising again. The largest number of cases in the county, however, is coming from people in the 25-to-59 age range.
Interim health commissioner named
The city named Marlaina Jackson as interim health commissioner last week. Jackson, who previously served as deputy commissioner of community health previously, will fill the role until the city finds a permanent replacement for Jeanette Kowalik.
Kowalik stepped down from her position earlier this month to join Trust For America’s Health, a health policy organization based in Washington, D.C. Effective last Wednesday, Jackson took over as interim commissioner.
Kowalik thanked members of the health department for their work during the pandemic, before handing off the health commissioner’s badge “COVID-style” (after sanitizing her hands and wiping the badge down with disinfectant) to Jackson.
Jackson said her goal over the next 90 days will be to push coronavirus response further, including staffing for bar contact tracing and increasing testing around the area.
“I am super excited to take the role,” Jackson said. “I understand it’s a heavy lift. I understand I have big shoes to fill, but I’m super excited.” READ: How two Milwaukee natives are leading the city’s fight against COVID-19
City to take over National Guard testing sites
The National Guard’s deployment for COVID-19 testing in Milwaukee is set to end soon, leaving two of the largest testing sites in the city in need of staff. The city plans to take over these testing sites when the deployment ends. Mayor Tom Barrett said more information would be available Tuesday.
Statewide mask mandate extended, as Evers declares state of emergency
Gov. Tony Evers extended the statewide mask mandate and declared a public health emergency last week, as cases continue to surge in Wisconsin. The mandate, which was originally supposed to end Sept. 28, was extended until Nov. 21.
The move comes as Wisconsin continues to post its highest daily case totals since the pandemic began. The rise has mostly been spurred by those in the 18-to-24 age group statewide.
Weston said the governor’s actions were “absolutely critical.”
“These are not trends that we want to see, especially entering into the colder months when respiratory infections such as COVID-19 expand dramatically,” Weston said.
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.
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.
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