Wisconsin contact tracers link coronavirus spike in young people to bars, gatherings
Twenty-three percent of cases in Wisconsin are people in their twenties
WISCONSIN (WBAY) - The state’s health agency says contact tracing by some local health departments has linked a spike in coronavirus cases in younger people to bars and gatherings.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says nearly 20 percent of total COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin have tested positive in the last two weeks.
Twenty-three percent of cases in Wisconsin are people in their twenties, says the DHS.
“Compare that to our cases in early April when 11 percent of positive cases were in their twenties. In order to help decrease the infection rate in our state, we need younger Wisconsinites to take more precautions like staying home, physical distancing, and wearing cloth face coverings whenever possible,” says DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.
There were more confirmed cases in May than early June. However, more than twice the percentage of cases reported attending a party or meeting up outside their homes within two weeks of getting coronavirus.
One percent reported attending a protest or rally during early June.
The message comes as people get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend.
“This message is especially important for younger people to hear,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “We know this is a time people like to celebrate with friends, but COVID-19 is still spreading in our state, and we need everyone to take the necessary precautions.”
Earlier this week, Public Health Madison & Dane County ordered bars in Madison to close indoor service. The bars will be able to serve people on outdoor patios. Critics, including the Tavern League of Wisconsin, claim this ruling unfairly targets bar owners.
Green Bay Alderman Randy Scannell tells Action 2 News he is proposing a mask requirement in the city.
“By making this ordinance I’m hoping we can have everybody wearing masks, following good sound medical advice and we can open up and stay open,” said Scannell.
Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai encourages businesses to require their employees to wear masks.
“The smartest thing for a business to do is mask their employees. Patrons will come in and out, but your employee is going to be there in that closed situation for a much longer period of time. If you want to create a safe environment for your patrons, put a mask on your employees. I think the restaurants down there are doing a very good job about advocating for that. I don’t think we’ll get to a full masking mandate here. People will talk about enforcement and how difficult that is. Yet we enforce a lot of things that we can’t see every day, such as seat belts. But at the same time, the one thing you could enforce is an ordinance around businesses requiring masking of their employees, because there’s licensure involved, there’s permits involved. Hopefully we’ll get to a universal masking policy in the country. Maybe we’ll get to one in Wisconsin. Maybe we’ll get to one in Green Bay. But we could take steps to get there very quickly. One is like what the Milwaukee businesses are asking for, which is a mandate for masking, especially for the businesses. And that would help local businesses stay in business,” says Dr. Rai.
Some businesses in Milwaukee have asked the city to enact a masking requirement for bars and restaurants.
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