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Milwaukee County sees increase in positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Milwaukee County has seen a slight setback in the fight against COVID-19.

The percentage of tests coming back positive is seeing an upward trend, and the number of people being admitted to hospitals went up as well.

That’s according to the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management. They track five indicators to see how we are handling the pandemic in the county. They track those indicators in a chart and give them color coding -- green is good, yellow worse, red worst.

They said Tuesday that they’ve noticed a statistically significant trend of tests coming back positive.
“Based on the data we have, we’ve changed the indicator of yellow over to red,” said Dr Ben Weston.

Dr. Weston admits not all the test results from the weekend were available, but it was enough to raise alarms.

They’ve also seen a jump in the number of COVID patients admitted to the hospital. “We moved from green backwards to yellow,” said Dr. Weston, “as there currently are more COVID-19 patients hospitalized than we’ve seen at any point, any day in the last month.”

“The concern over the hospitalization and the having to admit people for COVID symptoms is very concerning” said Dr. Jeanette Kowalik, the City of Milwaukee Health Commissioner.

Health officials have warned we’re at a critical time, as social distancing starts to disappear.

“As quickly as we can move back into some kind of normal, we can make things worse,” said Dr. Kowalik.

But they stopped short of blaming this slight setback on the rollback of stay at home orders. “While it’s too soon to say definitively that these changes are necessarily due to pulling back of stay at home orders, we can certainly say that we must be especially careful in our dialing back of physical distancing,” said Dr. Weston.

Dr. Weston says if there is any effect, it could come in the near future. “We may start seeing the effects of the pulling back of the stay at home orders right now now, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that,” he said.

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