Milwaukee's south side experiences an uptick in coronavirus cases over two weeks

NOW: Milwaukee’s south side experiences an uptick in coronavirus cases over two weeks

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- There’s been an uptick in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases within Milwaukee County’s Latinx community.

The group remains the third highest number of positive cases and deaths in the county.

Over the last two weeks, Milwaukee’s south side has seen a spike in cases.

“There’s a lot of testing in that community, which is a good thing," said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the Office of Emergency Management.

Leaders say this could equal more cases, but historically, Latinx people have been disadvantaged in Milwaukee County.

“Diabetes, blood pressure they are usually most predominantly centered in our African American community, and then the second hot spot tends to be our Hispanic community," Weston added.

And much of the care and testing on the south side is happening at the 16th Street clinics.

“So we’re seeing a mix of kind of the symptoms that you’d expect: fevers, coughs," 16th Street Clinic Physician Dr. Molly Cousin said.

The sites perform coronavirus tests daily.

Since March, Cousin estimated the number of positive cases went from 10% to 20%.

In the last two weeks, it grew to 25%.

Cousin added that risk factors among the city’s Hispanic population also mirror those in the city's Black community.

“Many essential workers, close housing conditions and multiple families in duplexes," she explained.

Multi-generational living, overall, is about 69% higher in the Latinx community than in the White community, according to Dr. Tito Izard, president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee Health Services.

“People end up living together for economic reasons, again, everything circles back to economic reasons," he said.

Through contact tracing, county health leaders are also connecting the virus’ spread to working conditions of some essential employees.

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said citizens who know of a business that’s not protecting its workers contact the health department.

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