By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
As more people get vaccinated, the more elected officials are updating COVID-19 safety protocols. These updated measures are designed to help keep people safe as the world adjusts to a new normal.
Earlier this week, County Executive David Crowley announced changes to Milwaukee County’s face mask policy.
Members of public are asked to continue masking and practice social distancing when inside Milwaukee County facilities and at private indoor events. Masks are not required outdoors at county-owned properties. County employees are asked to continue masking and practice social distancing while indoors; they will be required to wear a mask outdoors when they cannot maintain six feet of space.
The new updates will go in to effect on Tuesday, June 1.
“Since the pandemic began, the County has made a careful, measured and intentional effort to protect the health and well-being of all Milwaukee County residents by leaning into equitable strategies and policies,” County Executive David Crowley said in the press release. “Our commitment to data-driven decisions that are in the best interest of the broader County community continues today.”
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people can proceed with their regular activities without wearing a mask unless federal, state, local or other entities stated otherwise. The CDC stressed that these are recommendations.
During the bi-weekly COVID-19 county updates, Crowley noted that the CDC recommends still masking up in certain settings including clinics, detention facilities, hospitals, public transportation and more. This applies to fully vaccinated people and those who are not vaccinated.
Crowley said that Milwaukee County vaccination rates are not where they should be with only 43% of adults having received at least one dose. The information regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing, he said during the press conference, and that Milwaukee County is leveraging the information it has today to take precautions that are in the best interest of county residents, employees and visitors.
“The best path forward for Milwaukee County is for as many members of our community to be vaccinated as soon as possible, which means we must do everything we can to ensure that anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can get one,” Crowley said in the press release.
With that in mind, Crowley also announced the “Healthy Homes” initiative, the county’s free at-home COVID-19 vaccination program. The purpose of the program is to make the vaccine accessible to individuals who have trouble leaving their homes.
According to the press release, “approximately 6% of individuals on Medicare have difficulty leaving their homes. In Milwaukee County, that represents about 9,500 community members.”
Milwaukee County is committed to ensure that anyone who wants the COVID-19 vaccine can get one, Crowley said. However, some individuals face barriers that prevent them from getting to one of the vaccine sites, which is where Health Homes comes in.
Healthy Homes meets residents where they are, in this case their homes, and administers the COVID-19 vaccination there.
“It shouldn’t be the case that you aren’t vaccinated, or that your general health care takes a bad turn, just because you cannot access the medical system traditionally,” Crowley said in the press release. “We can create healthier communities not by just making services accessible, but by physically meeting residents where they are and connecting them to needed services like life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.”
To learn more about Healthy Homes or register for an appointment visit the Health Homes webpage at https://www.healthymke.com/healthyhomes or call 414-257-SHOT (7468). Those interested in the program will be prioritized by the Evaluating Vulnerability and Equity Model or EVE Model.
This EVE Model follows the efforts of local health departments, the City of Milwaukee and others to reach the most vulnerable population.
County vaccinators will also connect residents with additional resources and services that cover housing, meals or transportation under the county’s “No Wrong Door” initiative.
“We are doing everything we can to break down barriers to accessing care, including receiving a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Crowley. ”We need the community to join us and help connect those in need with available services, including this at-home vaccine option.”