Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
City behind on mask distribution plan
NNS reported in August that the city would move into Wave 2 of its mask distribution plan at the end of August. As of Oct. 2, there have been no updates from the Milwaukee Health Department regarding Wave 2.
During Wave 2, the city was supposed to release details of the plan to purchase and distribute 500,000 reusable masks.
After multiple attempts to contact staff at the Milwaukee Health Department, NNS was told that final touches were being put on the distribution plan as of Sept. 24. We have received no updates since.
Milwaukee Restart Grants for small businesses now available
Mayor Tom Barrett announced that a second round of Milwaukee Restart grants is now available, but the deadline for applying is Thursday.
Barrett said $10 million will be disbursed through the grants, and that people who applied for the grant before can apply again. The grant is now available to a larger selection of businesses, including licensed daycares, home-based businesses, food trucks and state-licensed group homes.
Barrett said the grants were specifically for businesses with 20 employers or fewer. To apply, visit milwaukee.gov/restart.
Wisconsin sees record numbers in deaths, hospitalizations
The state saw record numbers in single-day deaths and hospitalizations last week, recording 27 deaths and 737 hospitalizations on Sept. 30.
Barrett said the numbers from around the state were discouraging, as cases have continued to spread like “wildfire.”
“We’re just not out of the woods; the woods are on fire,” Barrett said during a media briefing.
Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Office of Emergency Management,
said trends indicate the higher number of hospitalizations may lead to more deaths in the future.
Weston said Milwaukee County has had success handling the surge so far, he said residents must wear masks and follow other precautions.
Barrett said Milwaukee County ranked 49th out of 72 counties for coronavirus cases per capita as of Sept. 29.
Cold weather concerns health officials as winter months draw near
Cold weather is providing a number of concerns for health officials.
Colder, drier air also transmits virus particles more easily, Weston said.
As the colder weather forces more gatherings inside, Weston said some people may consider establishing “social bubbles,” a group of people that they feel relatively comfortable engaging with indoors.
Although the safest plan is still to socially distance and minimize contact, Weston said for some people that might be difficult.
“Carefully thought out and planned social bubbles are a way to get through the isolating challenges of the pandemic while still keeping a close eye on safety,” Weston said.
Weston suggested that if people are going to establish their social bubbles, they should be thoughtful about who they spend their time with.
Weston recommends having frank conversations with people in your bubble about what they have been doing before meeting up with them. Having multiple social bubbles is less protected, he said.
City plans to maintain capacity at National Guard sites
With the National Guard’s deployment at Milwaukee’s testing sites set to expire at the end of this year, Barrett said the city plans to take over the sites.
Barrett said the city hopes to utilize CARES Act funding to continue providing services at the locations that the National Guard will be leaving.
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.
For more information on testing, including how to identify symptoms and when you should get tested, visit TestUpMKE.com. Available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Burmese and Arabic.
Check out our continuing coronavirus coverage.
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