Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
New testing sites open
The Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., and Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., will open as testing sites starting Oct. 12.
The Milwaukee Health Department operates both health centers.
On Oct. 17, the testing sites at Custer Stadium and UMOS will close. Mayor Tom Barrett said a new testing site will open at Miller Park to maintain capacity for the two locations.
Barrett said the National Guard will provide support at sites until Nov. 25. Barrett also said the mobile testing unit will expand its capacity from 100 tests per day to 300 tests per day. The mobile unit is used to bring testing to residential areas, nursing homes, homeless shelters and other neighborhoods.
“Our actual capacity will grow,” Barrett said at a media briefing. Testing capacity is expected to increase from 2,000 tests per day to 2,800 tests per day.
Miller Park and Fiserv Forum will not be used as early voting sites
The Milwaukee Election Commission announced that Miller Park and Fiserv Forum will not be used for early voting.
The decision comes from concern that ballots cast at those sites would not be counted due to a technicality in state law.
According to state law, all early voting sites had to be designated by June 12. The plan for the stadiums was not submitted until Sept. 1, and the city was not able to obtain an exception.
The deadline to register to vote online is Oct. 14, and any applications to register to vote by mail must be postmarked to your municipal clerk by that date. You can register in person at your municipal clerk’s office until 5 p.m. Oct. 30, and you can register to vote at your polling place on Election Day Nov. 3 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Field hospital at State Fair Park will be activated this week
Gov. Tony Evers announced that an alternative care site will open Oct. 14 at State Fair Park, 640 S. 84th St.
The move comes as hospitalizations in the state are reaching new highs. Nearly 900 people across Wisconsin are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of last week, and beds are filling up in some areas of the state.
The field hospital will have 530 beds and help to take the pressure off of health systems.
Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, said the alternative care site will be used for patients with less severe cases of COVID-19.
The move comes as hospitalizations surge in Milwaukee County, which has seen an increase from 77 hospitalizations to 165 in three weeks.
“We’re certainly seeing an increase in hospitalizations … however we are lucky in Milwaukee County to have the large hospitals, the large health systems that we do,” Weston said. “I don’t think we’re by any means pushing the capacity of Milwaukee County, but it’s going to be a trend to keep a close eye on.”
New state order reduces restaurant capacity to 25%
In response to rising coronavirus cases around the state, Evers issued an order last week to limit restaurants and bars to serving only 25% of their capacity. The order is meant to limit the number of indoor transmissions during the pandemic.
Barrett said the order will be followed in the city, although Milwaukee’s current plan that requires bars and restaurants to provide a 54-point COVID checklist should already meet that standard.
“It was the opinion of the health department and the opinion of our city attorney’s office that our local order is actually more restrictive than the state order,” Barrett said.
Restaurants and bars are named directly in the order, but it extends to any businesses serving the public with exceptions. To find out if your business is exempt from the order or meets criteria, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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