Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
Vaccine distribution plans take shape
Vaccine distribution could begin as early as the week of Dec. 14, said Elizabeth Goodsitt, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Goodsitt said that the state will receive weekly shipments of vaccines after the first batch. Mayor Tom Barrett said the state is expecting just under 50,000 vaccines in the first week.
Pfizer and Moderna, the manufacturers leading developments of the vaccine, have both applied for emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin distribution. Barrett said the expectation is that both of those applications will be reviewed by the end of the week, on Dec. 10 or Dec. 11.
Barrett said that frontline healthcare workers would be prioritized in initial distribution, followed by people in nursing homes and other care facilities with high concentrations of the elderly.
A full list of COVID-19 critical populations can be found in the Department of Health Services distribution plan.
And read our Instagram story about the vaccine.
Health Department modifies public health order
The Milwaukee Health Department is revising its previous public health order in response to COVID-19 trends.
Bars and restaurants with approved safety plans cannot have more than 50% of their capacity, an increase from the previous order that only allowed 25% capacity. Bars and restaurants without approved safety plans remain at 25%.
For team sports, requirements have gotten more stringent. School and club team sports will not be allowed to practice without an approved COVID-19 safety plan that includes regular testing. This includes intrasquad and outside competition. The prior health order allowed intrasquad play without an approved plan.
The new order took effect Dec. 3, and the new requirements will expire on Jan. 15.
Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said restaurant and sports safety plans can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plasma and blood donations needed
Dr. Dan Waxman, vice president of transfusion medicine and senior medical officer at Versiti Blood Centers, said during a media briefing last week that convalescent plasma and blood donations are needed.
Convalescent plasma is a common treatment for COVID-19 patients. The therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic, uses blood from people who’ve recovered from an illness to help others recover.
“Since the pandemic started, we have not had access to 20 to 30% of our normal blood donors, which is high school students and students in the universities,” Waxman said.
Resources to know
Where to get free masks
To obtain a free mask, residents can visit these sites:
- The Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- The Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., is open from 9 a.m. to 3 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.
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 the Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., and Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., are now open and operating.
Miller Park test site now has weekend hours
Miller Park’s testing site now offers Saturday hours. The site will be open for drive-thru and walk-up testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its weekday hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The site, located at 1 Brewers Way, has been one of the busiest in the city.
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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