Milwaukee County COVID cases indicator 'red' for first time since January

NOW: Milwaukee County COVID cases indicator ’red’ for first time since January

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Health officials in Milwaukee County and across Wisconsin are concerned at a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

With more than 1,100 cases the last two weeks, Milwaukee County’s COVID-19 case indicator has been raised to "red" level concern for the first time since Jan. 11.

“The warning lights are blinking and we need to be cautious," Milwaukee County EMA Medical Services Director Dr. Ben Weston said. "We’re fighting against a new strain with increased contagiousness, and very likely increased severity.”

State leaders are also concerned. Wednesday saw the largest single day case increase in about one month.

Cases of COVID variants in neighboring states had DHS warning against travel during a Thursday press conference.

“We don’t want to bring more variants into Wisconsin, and we don’t want to take five steps back just when we’re at the cusp of things getting a lot better,” DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said.

UW Health said the general positive COVID trends might be leading people to be less cautious.

“It’s natural," UW Health Director of Primary Care Dr. Matt Anderson said. "People want to be out, doing things, seeing people. They feel like the end is near.”

State leaders and Dr. Anderson said it’s too early to tell whether Wednesday was just an exceptionally bad day, or the beginning of something worse.

“When you get a data point that looks like it’s a bit of an outlier, the question is, is that a trend, or is that, you know, an anomaly," Anderson said.

Despite the increase in cases, health leaders were optimistic that the vaccine rollout can help get the state back on track.

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