Graham Kilmer

At Least 40 COVID-19 Cases Tied to Election in Milwaukee

Number up five-fold from Monday, final report still pending.

By - Apr 24th, 2020 05:43 pm
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A voter waiting in line at Washington High School holds a sign that says "this is ridiculous." Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A voter waiting in line at Washington High School with a sign that says “this is ridiculous.” Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The number of people with confirmed COVID-19 cases that were at the polls in the spring election is up to 40 in the city of Milwaukee.

The number of these cases has more than quadrupled since the initial numbers were announced earlier this week. On April 7th, 18,803 Milwaukee residents voted in-person in the election and over 400 more worked at the polls.

Just a few days ago the Milwaukee Health Department announced they had confirmed seven cases tied to election day activities. At that time, Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said “we only have 30 percent of the investigation data from new cases which indicated participation in election activity.”

The department still hasn’t been able to analyze all the data related to cases that may have been contracted as a result of the election earlier this month. “But as you can imagine, that’s a lot of data to sift through,” Kowalik said. As they continue to analyze the data, that number will continue to grow. The health department should have a full report on cases contracted because of election day activities by May 1st, she said.

Unfortunately, this report will not be an all-encompassing review of the numbers. “We’re practitioners,” Kowalik said of her department. “The academics and the researchers, that’s what they’re there for, they can do a more larger level analysis, which takes more time.”

“But we’re in the moment now, so we need to have some data now,” Kowalik said, “To help use this data to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

But the true extent of COVID-19 infection from the election will remain a challenge even in the future. As Urban Milwaukee previously reported, some individuals will have such mild symptoms that they never seek medical care and access to testing remains difficult.

The individuals with confirmed cases did not necessarily contract it by voting. “We have correlation, they voted and they were at the polls, but we do not have causation,” said Department of Health Services deputy secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk in a press briefing earlier this week. The state has not provided an update on its known caseload, but as of Monday reported at least 12 additional cases beyond the city. The Wisconsin National Guard had five members that worked the polls that were later showing symptoms of the disease. Only one was tested and had a negative result.

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One thought on “At Least 40 COVID-19 Cases Tied to Election in Milwaukee”

  1. Trmott says:

    I’m sorry, but this is NOT a story when you say things like:

    “…. extent of COVID-19 infection from the election will remain a challenge even in the future …. some individuals will have such mild symptoms that they never seek medical care and access to testing remains difficult.”

    “The individuals with confirmed cases did not necessarily contract it by voting. We have correlation …. but we do not have causation,” said Department of Health Services deputy secretary…”

    “The state has not provided an update on its known caseload, but as of Monday reported at least 12 additional cases beyond the city.” Translation, please!

    This is particularly egregious: “The Wisconsin National Guard had five members that worked the polls that were later showing symptoms of the disease. Only one was tested and had a negative result.” Like what symptoms? Runny nose? How shocking.

    I wasa there as a voter. It seemed super-safe to me. Then I went grocery shopping, with my mask still on… not nearly as many preventative measures there.

    What is your agenda, Graham Kilmer? Silly question, I guess.

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