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Milwaukee County sees spike in teen COVID-19 cases despite overall downward trend

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) - Data show nearly two dozen states are seeing an upward trend in COVID-19 cases, but Wisconsin is not one of them. Even with a downward trend, area health officials are still treading carefully.

For Milwaukee County, the trends in percent positive cases and deaths are both decreasing, but with southern U.S. states like Florida and Texas now seeing outbreaks, health officials say they’re monitoring closely before moving forward.

“All of a sudden you’re seeing very sharp increases in places like Texas and Arizona and Florida, we in Milwaukee have been far more measured,” said Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett.

Milwaukee County will soon pass 10,000 confirmed cases, but is seeing a transmission rate less than one.

“Each positive case of COVID-19 is infecting less than one additional person in our community,” said Darren Rausch, City of Greenfield Health Department.

“I’m hoping that the fact that we’ve been following the science and acted more prudently that it will help us in the long run,” adds Mayor Barrett.

While spread is slowing down, health experts say there’s still nearly a hundred cases identified in the county every day. They say 18 to 39 year olds account for most of the cases, but now the county is seeing young teens contracting COVID-19.

“We’ve seen recent spikes in cases among those under 18, so that’s something we need to continue to monitor,” says Rausch.

Milwaukee was supposed to move forward with the next phase of reopening Friday, but is holding off because of testing setbacks. The city is currently in its third phase of reopening.

“We have to wait an additional 7 days to reassess,” said Jeanette Kowalik, Milwaukee’s Health Commissioner.

“Some southern cities you’ve seen some backtracking because they moved too quickly and they lifted the restrictions too quickly,” said Mayor Barrett.

Area doctors have said the worst is yet to come, and a factor of potential COVID-19 resurgence in the area could be increased interactions as life begins to normalize.

“Congregating and people coming together, being less than six feet apart for more than 10-minutes increases the risk of spread,” adds Kowalik.

“My fervent hope is that we don’t get a second wave of this that will require us to take additional actions,” says Mayor Barrett.

Kowalik says an update on Milwaukee’s fourth and next phase of reopening will happen on Friday, June 26th.

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