MHD 'anticipates' tighter COVID-19 restrictions as positivity rises

Milwaukee City Hall

The Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) released on Friday, April 9 an update on the public health and safety order "Moving Milwaukee Forward" related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order, in Phase 6, features three COVID-19 gating criteria on a color-coded scale: rate of cases per 100,000 over seven days; percentage test positivity over seven days; city adult vaccination rate.

Over the past week, the Milwaukee Health Department reported negative trends in both the seven-day rate and the percentage of positive tests.

Based on the grating metrics, MHD said it "anticipates" reverting the order from Phase 6 to Phase 5 next week. That change would include reduced capacity limits.

The health department reported a "substantial transmission" rate of cases per 100,000 -- now 95.6 down from 97.9 -- the criterion remaining in ORANGE designation.

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MHD also reported a rise in positivity from 4.9% to 5% over the past week, considered "moderate transmission." As a result, the criterion was moved from BLUE to YELLOW designation.

Adult vaccinations increased roughly 3% -- now 16.3% compared to 13.1% the previous week.

"It seems counterintuitive. At a time when vaccinations are available and everyone is aware of safe practices, we should see COVID-19 infection rates declining. That is not the case," Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said. "The presence of newer, easily transmitted COVID variants is one likely culprit; another factor is 'COVIDfatigue.' With the finish line in sight, we all need to take every reasonable precaution to limit the spread of the virus."

MHD will continue to monitor the situation and determine if additional protective measures are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

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