City of Milwaukee not changing public health order, keeping focus on vaccination effort

NOW: City of Milwaukee not changing public health order, keeping focus on vaccination effort

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – City leaders said they will not put in place stricter COVID limits, despite a recent upward trend in cases and hospitalizations, instead putting an emphasis on getting more vaccine shots into city residents’ arms.

“We are also concerned about the rise in numbers that we have been seeing, but I want to announce we will be holding off making any changes to our public health order this week,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a video conference. “One of the main reasons is we want to put the focus as brightly as we can on vaccinations.”

On Friday, April 9, the City of Milwaukee Health Department said it “anticipated” changing the public health order to go from Phase 6 of reopening back to Phase 5, a move that would have put back in place tougher restrictions on gathering limits at businesses and other places in the city.

The expected change was sparked by the increase in cases and hospitalizations in the city, believed to be driven by the more contagious and severe B117 variant of the virus.

“We had a blip where our cases were going up, over the past three to four weeks,” Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said. “That blip has started to decline in the city and started to plateau.”

That plateau in the numbers informed the city’s decision not to move ahead with going back to Phase 5.

“Because we’re in between the two sorts of phases, between moderate transmission and substantial transmission, I just don’t think now is the time,” Johnson said. “And I really want to focus our emphasis on looking forward and getting vaccines in arms.”

City leaders cautioned vaccines alone will not bring numbers down and encouraged residents to keep mitigation efforts up.

“We need your help to get our numbers down,” Mayor Barrett said. “So please be vigilant and keep the necessary steps to keep our community safe.”

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