Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Moves Backward In Fight Against COVID-19

City's positive case rate climbs to 12.1 percent.

By - Jul 3rd, 2020 04:52 pm
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2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Milwaukee Health Department‘s weekly analysis of the city’s response to COVID-19 shows that things are getting worse, not better. The analysis comes as the disease’s spread has accelerated across Wisconsin.

Case numbers and positive case rate, a measure of the percentage of tests that come back positive, are both increasing. The latter figure jumped from 7.8 percent last week to 12.2 percent this week even as testing grew.

As a result the city will not consider further loosening restrictions, the most notable of which is currently 50 percent capacity for bars and restaurants, until July 17 at the earliest.

Would the city move backward? “If the science and indicators say we have to go in a different direction, we will go in a different direction,” said Mayor Tom Barrett on Friday afternoon at an anti-violence press conference.

The city uses five gating criteria to measure its performance and represents its status with a stoplight-style green, yellow and red indicators.

Last week the city had four yellow indicators and one green indicator. This week it moved backward to one red indicator, three yellow indicators and one green indicator. Just two weeks ago three of the indicators were green.

Case data, the red indicator, had been green as of two weeks ago. Last week the positive case rate increased to 7.8 percent. This week the positive case rate jumped to 12.2 percent. To achieve green status the number of cases must have a statistically significant negative trend or the city must have a positive case rate below five percent.

The daily average of the number of tests administered nearly doubled, a positive indicator. It climbed from 928 to 1,682. Two weeks ago it was 517. The figure must exceed 2,000 tests per day to achieve green-light status.

The contact tracing indicator, the percentage of city residents reached within three contact attempts, grew from 82.9 percent to 83.3 percent. The indicator remained yellow.

The availability of personal protective equipment for area hospitals, long-term care facilities and first responders is unchanged from last week, remaining yellow.

The lone green indicator, the percentage of patients in hospitals with COVID-19 and hospital capacity, remained steady since last week said the health department in a press release.

The city’s progress in meeting the gating criteria can be reviewed on the Milwaukee Health Department website.

The guidelines in the five gating criteria are based on the state’s Badger Bounce Back plan that was produced in April from federal guidance.

Phase Four Restrictions

  • Chartered fishing excursions – must be the lesser of the three: 50 percent of the total occupancy of the location, one person for every 30 square feet or 250 people
  • Child care providers and youth programs – 75 percent capacity
  • Faith-based gatherings – must be the lesser of the three: 50 percent of the total occupancy of the location, one person for every 30 square feet or 250 people
  • Gyms – must be the lesser of the three: 50 percent of the total occupancy of the location, one person for every 30 square feet or 250 people
  • Hotels/motels – 50 percent capacity, pools, hot tubs and exercise facilities with more detailed limits
  • Salons and spas – one client per service provider
  • Stores – 75 percent capacity
  • Youth summer programs – 75 percent capacity

Additional restrictions might apply and can be found in the order.

A full copy of the 14-page, phase four health order can be found on Urban Milwaukee.

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Categories: Health

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