Milwaukee County sees significant increase in COVID-19 cases in young adults and teens

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) – Data show Wisconsin is now one of thirty states with rising coronavirus cases. Friday saw the largest daily increase in two weeks with 5.7-percent of tests being positive statewide.

Milwaukee County health officials say they’ve seen a recent significant increase in the percent of positive cases. Epidemiologists now seeing coronavirus cases increase in young adults, after southern and western states like Florida, Arizona and Texas reported dramatic outbreaks within the last week or so.  

“Of course I’m concerned, I’m very concerned with what we’re seeing in California, in Texas, in Arizona, in South Carolina,” said Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee.

Mayor Tom Barrett says coronavirus remains a very serious problem.

Epidemiology reports show the 18 to 39 year old population group is having some of the largest increases in cases in Milwaukee County.

“It does appear that as the county has become more open starting in mid-May, that cases among those under 18 and those 18 to 39 has increase pretty significantly,” said Darren Rausch, Public Health Officer for the City of Greenfield.

During a White House coronavirus briefing Friday afternoon, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says the nation is dealing with a ‘paradigm shift’ mainly driven by the younger population.

“If we want to end this outbreak, really end it and then hopefully when a vaccine comes it puts the nail in the coffin, we've got to realize that we are part of the process,” said Dr. Fauci.

While the county is seeing an overall downward trend in the number of cases, the percent of positive cases the last two weeks have gone up. From June 17th to June 23rd 8.9% of tests returned positive.

“That 14-day trend is increasing,” adds Rausch. “And that is a statistically significant increase so that is of note over the last 14 days.”

On Friday, the City of Milwaukee moved forward with Phase 4 of its re-opening plan, giving places like restaurants and bars, stores and child care centers more freedom. Area health experts say it’s important people remain vigilant while navigating the new normal.

“Disease is still out there, disease is still running rampant in our community, and it’s actually been increasing,” says Rausch.

Rausch says health officials will continue to monitor the trends in the younger population moving forward.

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