Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the expected opening of a vaccination site at the Wisconsin Center.
Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
Vaccines to be distributed at Wisconsin Center
The Wisconsin Center will be transformed into a site for COVID-19 vaccinations this week.
Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities will be among the first to be vaccinated. Officials said the site will likely open Tuesday.
Second stimulus payment is on the way
Stimulus payments of $600 are making their way to residents.
The payments are being distributed by the Internal Revenue Service via direct deposit, debit card and paper checks. People who qualify will receive up to $600. This means up to $1,200 per couple and $600 for each dependent.
People who thing they qualify for payment but have not received it can also file for a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax filing. You can request missed payment on both stimulus checks using this method.
Last month, Congress approved a $900 billion stimulus package to help residents and businesses deal with the financial strain posed by the pandemic.
Concerns raised as two key indicators go red
The key indicators for cases and testing in Milwaukee County went red last week, indicating alarming trends in both areas.
The testing indicator means that the county is seeing a percent positivity over 10% or less than 2,000 tests administered in a day, a benchmark that indicates uncontrolled spread. The cases indicator means a significant upward trend over the last two weeks.
“This is a dangerous combination and a warning sign of what could come,” said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.
According to the Milwaukee County COVID-19 dashboard, there were 4,656 cases in the last two weeks.
Wisconsin offers at-home COVID-19 testing options
Residents can now order at-home saliva COVID-19 tests for free and have the kit delivered to their homes.
Saliva tests have recently been proven to be as effective as nasal swab tests for determining whether someone has COVID-19.
500,000 cases in Wisconsin
Wisconsin surpassed half a million COVID-19 cases as of last week, meaning over 10% of the state’s population has gotten the coronavirus
This comes as the seven-day average begins to climb again in the state and county after a dip in the middle of December.
The nation also passed a grim milestone last week: 4,000 deaths in a single day, according to Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard. The United States has now had over 365,000 citizens die from the coronavirus.
Do you have questions about the vaccine?
How you can help friends and loved ones who test positive
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.
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 the Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., and Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., are now open and operating. Miller Park, 1 Brewers Way, is also open as an effective testing site.
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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