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Milwaukee Health Department reaching out to neighborhoods to spread information about COVID-19

Posted: 10:31 PM, Mar 23, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 23:15:06-04

The Milwaukee Health Department is reaching out to community leaders to spread the message about COVID-19 throughout the city. The Health Commissioner, Jeanette Kowalik, said Monday that the organization is tracking the demographics for each case, and so far, three African-American men comprise all the victims in the city.

"It's middle-aged African American men who are a majority of the cases in the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County is a little different," said Kowalik.

Kowalik says as people first started to hear about COVID-19, there was a perception it was only a virus people in other countries or those that traveled to them could get. Kowalik said, "[the] perception in the community… I'm not going there, or I don't know anyone that goes there, and I'm not traveling, so I don't have to worry about it."

The city has turned to community leaders like Homer Blow, a radio show host to help them. Blow began his daily web show today first by dispelling myths about COVID-19. "You hear people saying that black people, people of color, can't get it. Children can't get it… they're immune they're immune. There was just an err of ignorance to how real this COVID-19 really is," said Blow.

Blow believes the recent deaths are putting a face on the virus and helping people understand more about it. "Some people are now starting to understand there's a lot more to this. I better take this a little more serious than I've been taking it. I'm hearing people's aunties, sisters, fathers that are contracting the coronavirus. It's giving them a different perspective."

The Health Department plans to release Public Service Announcements on coronavirus all over the city in the coming days.

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Coronavirus in Wisconsin

Confirmed cases: 1,288 (as of Monday evening)

Deaths: 23

Negative tests: 15,856

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Hotline: Call (414) 286-6800 (M-F 8:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m.)

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