Kenosha, Racine counties seeing COVID-19 case surges, data shows

Posted at 8:41 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 21:41:28-04

WISCONSIN — Data from a White House report shows that two counties in Southeastern Wisconsin are seeing some of the highest spikes in positive cases in the country.

The report from the White House's Pandemic Task Force dated May 7, obtained by NBC News, shows both Kenosha and Racine counties on a top 10 list of counties in the country experiencing a surge in cases week-to-week.

Kenosha came in 7th nationally with a more than 155 percent increase. Racine came in 10th with a more than 103 percent increase.

With some talking about reopening Wisconsin, Kristin McManmon said that Racine isn’t ready.

“We're not at that point in Racine,” McManmon said.

She’s the president of Ascension All Saints Hospital and said this this week they’re at their highest levels of inpatient cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak started.

“We're here, the lights are on, we're able to take care of people and to respond to their needs, but none of us want people to be sick,” McManmon said.

As of May 12, the City of Racine had 502 confirmed cases, the majority of reported cases in the county. The total number of cases in the county was 774.

Racine Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said the rise in cases has to do with their efforts to increase testing.

“We would like to get as many people tested as possible,” Bowersox said.

She also said the cases are related to community spread.

“Individuals coming from out-of-state to Racine has not been an issue for us. I mean that does happen but it's not been an issue,” Bowersox said.

Commuting is the factor in Kenosha County, according to Health Officer Jen Freiheit.

As of May 12, Kenosha County had 724 positive cases.

They've seen the vast majority of spread within essential businesses. Right now that's where they're targeting their testing.

“The way that we're able to get good numbers and take control of that is by testing the facilities within our county so that no matter where people live we can then be able to contain those outbreaks,” Freiheit said.

Currently, the largest free testing site in this area is located at Burlington High School. It’s at least open through Friday of this week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is only for people with symptoms. You don't need an appointment.

Bowersox said the City of Racine is working with the state on opening a similar testing site in the city in the near future.

If you would like to review the unreleased White House report from May 7, click here.

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