Bitter cold causes Milwaukee health department to close all COVID-19 testing sites

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 18:57:15-05

MILWAUKEE — The frigid weather is posing a challenge for COVID-19 testing sites in Milwaukee this week as temperatures dip into the single digits.

"Corona doesn't take the day off when it's cold," said Hashim Zaibak, the CEO of Hayat Pharmacy

Zaibak and his team at Hayat Pharmacy have been working around the clock testing people for COVID-19 after the Milwaukee Health Department closed all of its testing sites Tuesday due to the bitter cold.

"The national weather service issued a wind chill advisory today expecting wind chill's to reach 20 to 30 degrees below zero," said acting mayor of Milwaukee Cavalier Johnson.

"We made a commitment to the community that we are going to be open 365 days a year until we are done with this pandemic," said Zaibak.

Samira Daas, one of Hayat's COVID testers was layered head to toe, with electric hand warmers at the ready to help anyone in need of a test.

"We keep going from inside to outside so we have a good 30 seconds of warming up before we head outside again. If one person is super cold, we will be like he, you know, just sit down for like a minute. I'll get this car really quick," said Daas.

But she says despite the weather, she still has a job to do even though COVID-19 cases are steadily dropping in Milwaukee.

According to the health department, the city is seeing about 975 positive cases a day and has a 21% positivity rate.

"We are turning the corner on our COVID-19 disease burden from Omicron, our cases, and positivity rates are showing a sustained downtrend and that's matched by statewide data. This current wave of disease is finally declining, but the future of COVID remains unpredictable," said Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County.

Milwaukee officials say the city's Menomonee Valley testing site will reopen on Wednesday, and that it's best to check the health department's website routinely to see which sites are open.

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