Milwaukee organizations form coalition to call on health officials to implement indoor mask mandate

NOW: Milwaukee organizations form coalition to call on health officials to implement indoor mask mandate

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A coalition of Milwaukee community organizations came together Wednesday morning, Sept. 29, to call on city leaders. 

It wants the mayor to implement a new health order, immediately requiring masks indoors throughout Milwaukee. 

The coalition is made up of about a dozen community organizations, including Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, Parents for Public Schools of Milwaukee and Schools & Communities United.

In the statement released Wednesday, it said in part:

“The disease burden numbers in Milwaukee continue to be at dangerously high numbers and the current increase is similar to what we saw last fall. While we must all work to continue vaccination efforts, universal indoor masking and physical distancing are proven methods to control spread." 

Many of the organizations taking part involve children. The coalition went on to say, "This action is long past due with COVID-19 numbers steadily above extreme transmission levels in our city and around the state. The safety of our communities and our children is paramount, and you must take every action possible to reign in the current surge of COVID-19 infections due to the Delta variant."

"If cases continue to go up we need to make sure that we're acting appropriately," Angela Lang said.

Lang is the executive director of Black Leaders Organizing For Communities, one of the dozen organizations pushing city leaders to re-implement a mask mandate.

"It's something we felt very strongly about. Understanding the disparities and impacts of COVID on our community," Lang said.

Milwaukee County remains in the "very high" level of COVID-19 transmission, according to DHS.

"We've seen cities -- Madison, Racine, Chicago, when they experienced a surge, they put back in a mask requirement," Amy Mizialko said.

The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association has pushed for the mayor to implement a mandate for months.

"We have an average of over 300 cases on a weekly bases in MPS, and our schools are not islands. Our students deserve protection the other 16-17 hours every day," Mizialko said.

In response, Commissioner Johnson, with the Milwaukee Health Department, pushed for people to get vaccinated, and said in a statement:

"We are experiencing a pandemic of the unvaccinated....It’s time for the community to come together and encourage all residents 12 years of age and older to receive their vaccine. We continue to strongly advise all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask when in public, indoor spaces as a mitigation measure."

Milwaukee County officials did meet Tuesday for their weekly COVID briefing. 

They discussed Milwaukee's high case rate, with 341 new cases and three deaths per day throughout the last week. 

Hospitalizations and cases in children also both continue to rise. 

The mayor did not signal a mask mandate, rather he focused on the city's incentives and vaccine clinics. 

Health officials said to layer mitigation measures, including masks, which are strongly recommended. 

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