Several weeks after loosening COVID gathering restrictions, the City of Milwaukee will likely tighten them up next week.
The Milwaukee Health Department says they are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. It includes a rise in the seven-day rate for cases per 100,000 people from 45.8 back on March 18 to 95.6 on April 8. This rate has been in the “substantial transmission” category the past three weeks.
In addition, the seven-day average for the percentage of positive tests has also increased to 5-percent this week, moving it from the low transmission category to moderate.
“It seems counterintuitive,” says Commissioner Kirsten Johnson. “At a time when vaccinations are available and everyone is aware of safe practices, we should see COVID-19 infection rates declining. That is not the case. The presence of newer, easily transmitted COVID variants is one likely culprit; another factor is COVID fatigue. With the finish line in sight, we all need to take every reasonable precaution to limit the spread of the virus.”
The health department would change its Moving Milwaukee Forward Safety plan from Phase 6 to Phase 5. Changes to capacity limits include:
- Restaurants and bars without approved safety plans would be reduced from 50 to 25-percent.
- Faith institutions, theaters and places of amusement would be reduced from 75 to 50-percent for indoor facilities, while outdoor capacity would be reduced from 1,000 to 750.
- Museum and hotel capacity would be reduced from 100 to 75-percent.
- Youth programs and child care facilities would see capacity reduced from 100 to 85-percent.
- Salons and spas would reduce their clients per service provider from 3 to 2.
- Schools would need to change from offering full in-person instruction to a hybrid learning model.
- Attendance for recreational activities would be reduced from 750 to 500, with participants only allowed to bring 4 observers instead of 6.
There are improvements in the efforts to get people vaccinated. 16.3-percent of city adults have been vaccinated, and the city has sufficient supplies to meet demand at the Wisconsin Center and community vaccination sites. That means same day appointments are available at the Wisconsin Center, as well as possible walk-in appointments.