Milwaukee County COVID transmission in the red again

Slowly but surely, COVID cases are on the rise in Milwaukee County. Data show an average of 167 new cases per day, a number we haven't seen since the tail end of the omicron surge.

Health experts say there's no need to panic or change your routine, but being cautious is key.

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"Unfortunately, as much as we want to be done with the pandemic, the virus isn’t done with us," said Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County.

Dr. Weston said deaths and hospitalization rates are down, but COVID-19 cases are on the rise once again in Milwaukee County.

"Over the last month or so, we had a quadrupling, so four times the cases we were a month ago and four times the positivity that we were a month ago," said Dr. Weston.

Over the past month, the Milwaukee County COVID dashboard has shown moderate transmission rates. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said as of Wednesday, April 27, the county is back in the red zone with high transmission levels.

"We need to follow and look at the trajectory, and certainly, we can see the trajectory is not going in the right direction right now," said Johnson.

"Positivity, in particular, is concerning right now because we have low-testing levels, so that becomes a better indicator," said Dr. Weston.

So why the sudden spike?

"I think without a doubt the BA.2 variant is a major cause," said Dr. Weston. "It’s a very transmissible variant."

Even for the experts, the numbers are confusing.

"The reason why that is because not many people are getting tested at community testing sites," said Dr. Weston.

Dr. Weston said getting vaccinated is still our best layer of protection.

"There are still new variants to come and there's times we need to buckle down and be more cautious," said Dr. Weston.