RACINE -- An increase in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Racine County has gotten national attention, and leaders say it's a complex problem without an easy solution. The recognition comes the same week county leaders released a plan to safely reopen businesses and industries once "Safer at Home" is lifted.
"The rise is in the minority community, which is unfortunate," said Q.A. Shakoor II, Racine County supervisor.
National reports show Racine County ranks 10th in the nation for the largest week to week increase, but Mayor Cory Mason says his focus is on the disparity when it comes to who is testing positive.
Racine Mayor Cory Mason
"In our community in the city, there's about 45% of our residents are Latino and African American," said Mayor Mason. "However, they make up about 82% of the positive cases in the city of Racine. It's that disparity that continues to grow and get bigger that has us concerned."
While a week's worth of data put Racine County in the spotlight, current state data shows Racine ranks fourth in the number of positive cases per 100,000 people.
"We've been on a continual incline and have been at some of our highest levels yet," said Krisin McManmon, president of All Saints Hospital.
All Saints Hospital in Racine said more COVID-19 patients are currently being treated there than any other Ascension hospital in the state.
"That number of in-patient admissions has been steadily increasing, and we're seeing it peak," said McManmon.
The number of cases could grow, with the Wisconsin National Guard conducting testing for five days at Burlington High School. The Racine County Board approved the renewal of the declaration of emergency Tuesday night, that leaders called a procedural step.
Racine falls fifth in line statewide -- with 21 investigations into COVID-19 outbreaks. Both health departments in the area did not return multiple requests for comment on the increase.