MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Health Department is now urging residents to wear a mask "at all times" when indoors or in public, after the county moved into the CDC's high level of COVID-19 community spread.
The city issued a mask advisory on Thursday urging residents to do so; there is no mask requirement like during the height of the pandemic. The advisory applies to anyone over the age of two years old who can medically tolerate having a mask on their face.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Health Department "strongly advises" people to stay up to date on the COVID vaccines, socially distance, improve ventilation of indoor spaces, regularly sanitize their hands and space and test themselves for COVID when sick.
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson in a news release identified the new BA.5 variant as the cause for concern.
“Even with prior infection, the BA.5 variant is seemingly more transmissible and more immune-evading," said Johnson. "The good news is the COVID-19 vaccine is working to protect against severe illness and death, but masking is an important additional tool to protect against widespread infection.”
Milwaukee issued a city-wide mask advisory in May of 2022 and November of 2021 during spikes in COVID cases.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the statewide mask requirement back in March of 2021.
According to Milwaukee County's COVID dashboard, the 7-day average number of cases is 255, 6 more or a 0.7 percent increase from the week before.