'We can do something about this:' Milwaukee officials echo new guidance to limit COVID-19 spread

MILWAUKEE -- The CDC announced Friday that it supports wearing a cloth face-covering -- especially in areas with high rates of community-based transmission.

Tom Barrett

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett supports that recommendation and urges people to save the N95 masks for those in the medical field.

"If you're going to cover your face and you thought it was a good idea to cover your face, you can cover it with a scarf or something else," Barrett said.

Milwaukee's positive cases continue to rise and continue to disproportionately affect the African-American community.

Jeanette Kowalik

"We can do something about this, we need to continue to increase outreach and resources," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said.

Half of the people infected locally with COVID-19 are African-American, 62% of those who have been hospitalized with the virus are African-American and 87% of those who have died are African-American.

"We'll see many many more deaths in our community. The best projections we have right now suggest close to 1,000 deaths in Wisconsin. Just in Wisconsin in the next two months," said Dr. Ben Weston with the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Dr. Ben Weston

Milwaukee County also released new information on licensed long-term care facilities and nursing homes. While many don't have outbreaks, in Milwaukee County suburbs, four are reporting outbreaks of two cases or more; three facilities in the City of Milwaukee have reported outbreaks.

Kowalik said the health department will not release which care facilities are affected.

"Each entity is responsible for notifying loved ones that there is an outbreak at their facility. That should be happening," said Kowalik.

Long-term care facilities continue to be a source of concern in many surrounding areas because they are some of the most at risk. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also said it will not release which facilities are affected by the virus due to privacy concerns.