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Public Safety and Health committee updated on Milwaukee's response to COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 11:53 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 13:20:40-04

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson updated the city's public safety and health committee on its response to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic on Thursday morning.

Commissioner Jackson said the city continues to re-evaluate the current Moving Milwaukee Forward Safely Plan amid the ongoing surge in Coronavirus cases.

Two of the city's gating criteria, testing and cases, now in the red zone, and with the City of Milwaukee reporting 230 positive Coronavirus cases and 3 new deaths so far this week, several alders said they support the idea of a new, stronger public health order.

The health department said the new order could be announced within the next week.

"I am anxious to see a strong order because if we have such a strong alarming double red we need a very strong response to save lives and stop that peak and that trajectory," Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, who chairs the Public Safety and Health Committee, said.

Commissioner Jackson did not give specifics during Thursday's presentation, but confirmed the process of re-evaluating orders is underway.

"We are in the process of reevaluating at what that order does, what it can do, and what we should do in regard to making updates to it and we will have that information out next week," said Jackson.

The challenge is now balancing the impacts that a new order could have on businesses, like bars and restaurants while understanding where the virus is being spread most right now.

"We are conscious of the economy, but, we are also understanding of what our role is, to again to decrease spread and save lives," said Jackson.

The commissioner also said when it comes to the way the virus is spreading right now, it appears small gatherings may be a big issue.

"Spread continues to happen in small groups, small group settings, whether it be weddings or funerals or parties or that type of thing and spaces where there are spectator groups at bars and restaurants that don't have general sitting, so there is an ability to congregate. That is where we are currently seeing significant spread," said Jackson.

For now, the health department continues to enforce its current COVID-19 related rules and says staff also remains committed to increase testing and contract tracing as well.

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