Here’s the latest update on COVID-19 in Milwaukee and the resources you need to combat it.
Wisconsinites 65 and older now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced last week that people age 65 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine as the state’s rollout moves into Phase 1B.
Police officers, firefighters and unaffiliated health care workers also are included in this phase.
But the vaccine won’t be readily available for everyone.
“Eligibility, at this point, does not mean availability,” Milwaukee’s interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson said during a media briefing.
There are over 700,000 people over the age of 65 in Wisconsin, including 130,000 in Milwaukee County alone. The state had 70,000 vaccines ready to go as of last week. State officials urge patience and say they plan to ramp up distribution in the coming weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that Wisconsin’s vaccine rollout is one of the slowest in the Midwest.
To find out more about signing up for eligibility alerts on HealthyMKE.org and getting in line for the vaccine, check out our NNS reporting here.
Testing expanded for children under 5 in Milwaukee County
Children as young as 1 years old can receive COVID-19 testing in Milwaukee County because of an order from the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Ryan Westergaard.
Previously, children had to be at least 5 years old to receive coronavirus testing.
Testing will be available at Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd., Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St., and American Family Field (formerly Miller Park), 1 Brewers Way.
“This age expansion allows parents and medical providers to access free testing at a time when many children are returning to preschool and daycare settings,” Milwaukee Health Department’s Dr. Heather Paradis said in a news release.
Testing for people under the age of 18 requires parental authorization.
County sees a slight downturn in cases, but testing remains down
Milwaukee County has seen a decrease in cases of COVID-19 following a post-holiday bump.
The county’s cases indicator turned green last week, indicating a decrease in positive cases over the last two weeks. The county averaged under 350 new cases per day last week. In mid-December, the average was from 500 to 600 new cases per day.
Greenfield Health Commissioner Darren Rausch said testing has been down for the last several weeks and urged testing to continue to keep accurate statistics on the virus.
Free testing offered at Bader Philanthropies on Wednesdays
Free testing is being offered every Wednesday this month in the parking lot of Bader Philanthropies, 3300 N. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in the Harambee neighborhood.
Administered by Shalem Healing, walk-up and drive-up testing are available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. each week. Shalem Healing staff will call you with test results within three to five days. They can be reached at (414) 499-1704.
What you should know about the coronavirus vaccine
How you can help friends and loved ones who test positive
What’s it like to be vaccinated?
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. American Family Field (formerly 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.
For more information on vaccine distribution and where to find it, visit HealthyMKE.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.