RACINE — In July when the city’s mask ordinance went into effect the plan was to reconvene in October to discuss the ordinance.
Three months later, on Tuesday, no aldermen proposed rescinding the ordinance that went into effect after a controversial 8-7 July vote.
The state’s mask mandate is currently set to expire Nov. 21. Meanwhile the city’s mask ordinance is set to go until the end of the year, unless it is extended or terminated by the City Council.
In addition, no changes were proposed Tuesday to the city’s Safer Racine ordinance that continues to place some restrictions on businesses.
The message from the health department was the city has seen a significant increase in cases, but Safer Racine and other local measures are helping to keep the pandemic manageable.
Initially, the city of Racine had a much higher rate of COVID than the county of Racine. The jurisdiction of the city health department covers 40% of the county, but at the beginning of the pandemic, 70% of the cases were in that jurisdiction.
The city now has about 42% of the county’s cases.
“Safer Racine has helped bring us down and in line with the rest of the county,” said Cody Pearce, epidemiologist.
Despite the safety measures, the deaths of three people from COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday as cases spiked and the city continued with its efforts to contain the virus.
That was part of an update to the Council Tuesday by Dottie-Kay Bowersox, public health administrator, Pearce and Bobbi Fergus, director of community health.
Pearce said the three reported deaths brought the total number of deaths in Racine from coronavirus to 37. It brought the county’s total COVID-related deaths to 105.
Pearce added that on Monday at noon the total number of cases in the city’s jurisdiction was 3,078 and by Tuesday afternoon that number was 3,131 with another 353 probable cases.
Countywide as of Wednesday, there had been a reported total of 6,575 cases since March. There have also been a total of 75,576 negative tests.
On a positive note, Racine County is no longer second in the state for its percentage of COVID cases. It is now 20th in the state.
Holidays continue to be a problem in the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19 because people want to keep to their customs of getting together and/or traveling.
Since Labor Day, the city has seen a 27% increase in the disease. Initially, the increase meant 22 cases a day, but just lately, the figure rose to an average of 39 positive cases in the city every day.
“So cases do continue to increase, but as of right now,” Pearce said, “they remain manageable.”
Fergus, the director of community health, updated the council on the investigations in the city.
She said the department has completed 3,391 investigations into positive or probable cases.
COVID cases also rising nationally
At the time of the presentation, there were 8.13 million cases of COVID in the US — a 4.8% increase from the week before and a 171% increase since Aug. 5.
Bowersox told the council the high numbers of COVID were the result of inconsistent mask use, such as wearing the mask under a nose, traveling to locations that were high risk for COVID, and ignoring guidelines altogether — especially mask and social gathering restrictions.
Bowersox said after every holiday there’s a coronavirus spike.
The U.S. is currently averaging 55,000 new cases every day, she said.
Wisconsin has had 16,000 new cases in the last seven days, sending it from no. 5 to no. 3 in the country for the number of positive cases.
Bowersox said 4,591 cases were reported in Wisconsin just on Tuesday.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Dec. 9, (excluding on Nov. 11) the National Guard will be performing testing at the Central Racine County Health Department, 10005 Northwestern Ave., Franksville.