MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 27 provided the latest information and updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
As confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the area and across the state, a testing site at Miller Park was overwhelmed -- and had to be shut down for a short time -- on Monday, Oct. 26.
"It is worse now than it has ever been before," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
Test numbers are growing in Milwaukee. In fact, the lines have been so long for COVID-19 testing at Miller Park that officials said some have been turned away and asked to return at a later time or referred to another testing location.
"At Miller Park we had over 2,300 people yesterday and that's more than the capacity that we have. On the northwest side, we had 462, and on the south side we had 340, so we tested well over 3,000 people yesterday. That tells you that the demand for testing is growing," said Barrett.
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Miller Park
City and county leaders encouraged even more testing on Tuesday, and laid out a plan to cut back further on the capacity allowed at public gatherings.
Starting on Thursday, Oct. 29, the City of Milwaukee will enter Phase 4.2 of its public health order. Under Phase 4.2, capacity will be limited at all public places from where it was at 50% to whichever of the following is the lowest -- 25% capacity, 10 people or one person per 30 square feet. Dance floors will also be restricted.
"This is not punitive. This is to protect individuals. It is to save lives," said Marlaina Jackson, Milwaukee's interim health commissioner.
The city also asks that businesses submit safety plans to the health department if they have not done so already. When asked if more restrictions are to come, Jackson said it is something health officials are considering.
"We are going to continue to watch for numbers, look at the criteria, and we will make those decisions based off of what we see," Jackson said.
If you want to avoid the testing line at Miller Park, officials said to avoid coming on a Monday. Those days have been the busiest, they said.
Officials will also be looking at adding hours on the weekend soon if the high demand continues. For a list of testing locations across Wisconsin, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19.