Sky-high COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin led the Department of Health Services (DHS) to switch reporting systems to allow positive COVID-19 test results to be automatically imported into the system.
Dr. Hashim Zaibak of Hayat Pharmacies runs testing and vaccine sites all throughout the city and has seen case counts climb over the last week.
"It's the highest I have seen since the pandemic," said Dr. Zaibak.
According to the DHS, Wisconsin shattered the record of positive cases Friday reaching almost 20,000. This was a 7,000 jump from just the day before.
In an effort to keep track of the rising numbers, DHS says they will now allow positive test results to be automatically reported. They also warned that we could see elevated case counts as the new system begins to process and enter in back-logged results.
"With the number of tests going up and also the number of positive cases going up, it then becomes a little bit more challenging. It's a time-consuming task, and that has probably created some of the numbers not to be as up to date and I think that the state is doing the right thing now by simplifying the process," said Dr. Zaibak.
According to the DHS release, they say this change is intended to support the efforts of local and tribal health departments (LTHDs) as they manage the influx of positive tests due to the Omicron variant.
Currently, the seven-day average increased by more than 10,000 cases a day to now 11,000.
These numbers raise concerns for some Milwaukee Public School (MPS) teachers heading back to in-person learning on Tuesday. The district postponed their start date as much of their staff was out sick, however `this could still very much be a problem come Tuesday.
"Whether or not the staffing is there children are gonna show up on Tuesday," said Angela Harris, MPS teacher and President of the Black Educators Caucus.
MPS data shows nearly 200 members of their staff tested positive in the last week. These numbers were reported as the district was still in virtual learning.
The district used the week of virtual learning to secure more than a million higher-quality masks for students and staff.
"I think that you know there's been some steps taken by the district to ensure that you know we have the KN95 masks. There's been a push to make sure our buildings are clean, but I think ultimately what it's really going to be is staffing and ensuring that we have enough staff in our building," said Harris.