'Hit hard:' Majority of coronavirus cases on Milwaukee's north side, African-American community

’Hit hard: ’ Majority of coronavirus cases on Milwaukee’s north side, African-American community

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --  According to data on the Milwaukee County COVID-19 dashboard, nearly 250 people in the City of Milwaukee have been infected with the contagious respiratory virus as of Wednesday, March 25.

Majority of them, about half of the cases are on the city’s north side, a predominantly black area.

“At least right now, it has hit the central city, the northern part of the city harder,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

Officials said it’s also impacting middle-aged black men the most. All four coronavirus deaths in the city were black men in their 50s and 60s.

They say people aren’t heading the orders, and continue to gather in groups. “The more distance that you have, the less likely we are to transmit this disease,” Barrett said.

Experts are looking into other contributing factors causing the high numbers.

To help stop the spread, the health department is partnering with the CDC to get the message out through public service announcements.

“Part of that message is promoting basic hygiene, social distancing, as well as, abiding by the stay at home order,” said Dr. Jeanette Kowalik, health commissioner.

Officials add the number of positive cases are underestimated because of limitations on testing.

However, Alderman Khalif Rainey sent a letter to Ascension Healthcare asking them to provide free COVID-19 testing at St. Joseph's Hospital located on the north side.

He said in part, “this pandemic cannot become a death sentence for the poor and uninsured.”

City leaders also said there's an uptick of cases in the Hispanic community. 

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