Milwaukee Mayor Barrett says increase in positive COVID tests should be concerning

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he's concerned after seeing an increase in positive cases within the city. 

"As you may recall, several weeks ago we dipped into that low transmission category for a week or two -- I'd love to get us back to that low transmission category," said Mayor Barrett.

The mayor said the disease burden rate has gone up from low transmission weeks ago to now moderate transmission. While overall numbers are low, he says people should also be concerned about the increase in the city's seven-day percent test positivity.

"Just in the last few weeks we were much, much lower than this. When I say much, much lower, we were closer to one-percent, now we're at 2.8-percent -- so people should be concerned about that," he adds.

Health officials say the case increases are due to the Delta variant and gatherings with a high percentage of people still unvaccinated. The city of Milwaukee still has less than 50-percent of people who are 16 and older fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, July 13.

"To the extent that people are not vaccinated, I'm very concerned. Not only at the gatherings in the Deer District, but anywhere, because the evidence is so clear that if you're vaccinated that you are infinitely more likely to be safe than if you're not vaccinated," says Mayor Barrett.

"If you're in the same sort of situation with someone who has COVID now, as you were a year ago, you're far more likely to catch COVID now," said Dr. Ben Weston, associate professor at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin and medical director at Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

Even with a slight increase in cases, the Milwaukee Health Department has continued vaccination efforts with its door-to-door service in areas with low vaccination rates.

"It's actually a lot of work, but we think it's worthwhile, because as of July 12, the health department has administered 208 vaccinations," adds Mayor Barrett.

"When we have a fairly sizeable unvaccinated population in Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County, in the city, it's easy for the virus to spread, and I think that's why we're seeing increased numbers," said Dr. Weston.

The Milwaukee Health Department will administer COVID shots at Fiserv Forum Plaza on Wednesday, July 14 from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

People who get vaccinated will have a chance to win two playoff tickets for the game at 8 p.m.

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