Doctors: People who live in an apartment complex have a higher risk of getting COVID-19

Doctors: People who live in an apartment complex have a higher risk of getting COVID-19

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)- Doctors say people who live in apartment complexes are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.  

U.S. Census data show roughly 60 percent of buildings in Milwaukee are occupied by renters.

“In Milwaukee, the majority of the people are renters compared to owners, and that number is actually higher compared to the national average as well as Wisconsin,” said Brian Carberry of Apartment Guide.

Doctors say renters inside apartment complexes need to stay vigilant.

“I would say yes, they probably are at a bit higher risk, so enforcing that social distancing is important,” said Dr. John Raymond, President and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Brian Carberry says most apartment complexes have closed or put heavy restrictions on common areas like gyms, pools and clubhouses, but it’s hard to avoid places like mail and laundry rooms.

“If someone in your apartment has COVID-19, they’re not going to tell you which person it is and what unit, I mean there’s privacy rules at stake there, but they may tell you yes, we’ve had a case within the building,” said Carberry.

Carberry says don’t feel rude keeping your distance.

“Avoid conversations up close, you can still wave and say hi from a distance, be neighborly, be friendly, but really everyone is following these guidelines right now,” said Carberry.

“If you’re not protecting your 6 foot space bubble it’s possible you can get the coronavirus,” says Dr. Raymond.

Studies have shown COVID-19 could live in the air for hours, and on surfaces like plastic and metals for days.

“A lot of information out there, but what I can say is we do know this virus is heartier than we thought it was at the beginning,” adds Dr. Raymond.

Carberry says to minimize the spread of coronavirus, people who live in apartments should avoid touching high-risk areas like stairway handrails and doorknobs.

“If you do have to touch them, use a handkerchief or a napkin so you’re really minimizing the exposure of your direct skin to the doorknob,” said Carberry.

The CDC now recommends people wear fabric masks out in public, but experts say people living in an apartment complex should wear it inside shared spaces. 

“This might be a case where if you have a mask, you should wear it,” adds Dr. Raymond.

“I think I’d be more inclined to tell someone living in an apartment complex than someone living in a house,” says Carberry.

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