Milwaukee Health Department updates COVID-19 gating criteria

The Milwaukee Health Department has updated its gating criteria related to the COVID-19 public health order, it was announced Friday, March 19.

The old five-point gating criteria had gone unchanged since first established almost 10 months ago. They formerly included things such as hospital bed usage, contact tracing, and availability of personal protective equipment. The criteria have been updated and simplified -- featuring three criteria -- to include measures such as the number of cases per 100,000 people and vaccination rates.

Milwaukee Health Department updated COVID-19 gating criteria

The three criteria are now:

  • Rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over 7 days
  • Percentage test positivity over 7 days
  • City Adult Vaccination Rate

On the Friday, March 19 report, MHD reported moderate (YELLOW) cases per 100,000 over the past week and low (BLUE) percent positivity over that span. The vaccination rate among city adults is at 8.5%.

The gating criteria now in place for the Milwaukee Health Department reflect steady positive trends in the COVID-19 pandemic here. The rate of COVID-19 cases shows moderate transmission, and the percentage of positive COVID-19 test results show low transmission. These results prompted the Health Department to issue a new public health order Thursday that eases some restrictions previously in place.

"As we progress through this pandemic, it is important to keep our attention on the most important goals and issues. We want to protect our residents and stop the spread of COVID-19," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kristen Johnson said. "The gating criteria reflect the progress our community has made, and to keep that progress up, we need to maintain reasonable precautions."

The new public health order -- Phase 6 -- supersedes Order #4.4 which was in place for the past six weeks and bypasses Phase 5. With it, MHD is lifting significant restrictions on sporting events, bars and restaurants.

MHD will continue to monitor the situation and determine if additional protective measures are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Additional information is available online at

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