COVID-19 at "community spread" gatherings restricted

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 00:27:35-04

The Coronavirus is spreading in Milwaukee County.

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said Monday that “based off of our latest information we are seeing community transmission or spread at this point in time.” That means some of the confirmed cases can’t be connected to travel or a person with the virus.

Kowalik made the statement at a press conference where Milwaukee City and County officials activated a coordinated Emergency Operations Center that will be the clearinghouse for COVID-19 information from here on out.

All 19 municipalities in the county will be represented and share information. County Executive Chris Abele made the announcement Monday evening on the steps of the county courthouse, adding “this is by far, far and away the single biggest challenge this community and arguably the state has faced in half a century.”

There are 13 cases of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County and more than 180 cases “under investigation," meaning where tests have been taken but the results aren’t in yet. Officials took the opportunity to stress “social distancing” or staying home and reducing your interaction with other people.

Mayors of the cities in Milwaukee County met and decided to prohibit dine-in options at all bars and restaurants in the area.

Governor Tony Evers restricted gatherings of 50 or more people earlier Monday, but the Health Commissioner said it is likely the area will take it a step further following a Trump administration suggestion that gatherings of 10 or more people don’t take place for 15 days. However, that has not happened yet.

The Milwaukee Emergency Operations Center expects to hold briefings for the public daily while the pandemic persists.

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