As you’ve probably seen or heard by now, a statewide mask order for indoor spaces goes into effect on Saturday, August 1.
I support the order. While I have concerns over enforcement, the reasons behind the order are sound, the motives are right, and the science is clear: Masks help limit the spread of COVID-19. They save lives.
We need to take these kinds of steps to keep people healthy.
The data is alarming locally. As of Wednesday, the South Milwaukee and St. Francis Health Department had recorded 313 positive cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. So far this month, we have recorded 150, and 88 in the two weeks since July 15.
In other words, we have seen more than a quarter of all of our cases in South Milwaukee in just 14 days. That has led to an incredibly high “disease burden” — a relative measure of cases per 100,00 people.
Our positive test rate (11% of those tested from July 9-22 tested positive) is also high — but testing is just one reason we are seeing high disease numbers. It’s also clear there is significant community spread of the illness, and if we can take steps to limit that spread, we should, as a government and, more importantly, as individuals.
We all have a responsibility here. The decisions we make will impact how quickly and widely COVID-19 spreads.
Mask up, South Milwaukee.