Mayor Tom Barrett Talks About the Future of Milwaukee on MilMag Live

“There’s a community responsibility that goes along with what we’re trying to do.”

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Mayor Tom Barrett joined Milwaukee Magazine Editor and Publisher Carole Nicksin for a livestream lunch Thursday.

Barrett talked about his recent reelection and how the coronavirus has affected Milwaukee. At the end of the conversation, Milwaukee County’s Emergency Management Medical Director Ben Weston provided an update about coronavirus developments in the area.

Barrett said that once the city is able to reopen, businesses should be as transparent as possible about their safety regulations and the number of positive cases they’ve had so that people can make informed decisions about where they go.

“There’s a community responsibility that goes along with what we’re trying to do,” Barrett said. “This is the time when we should have disclosure.”

In addition to the coronavirus, Barrett said he plans to focus on issues of public safety, education and housing during his fifth term as mayor. He also hopes to address the heath care disparity in Milwaukee’s minority communities. 

At the end of the conversation, Weston said there has been a slight downtrend in positive cases, but it is still too early to begin fully reopening the city.

He also said that the Milwaukee County Dashboard, which posts regular COVID-19 updates, is now tracking the percentage of tests that result in positive cases, rather than just the number of positive cases. As the rate of testing increases, this can result in a more accurate measurement of the coronavirus in Milwaukee. 

“We’re increasing our test capacity and keeping a close eye on hospital capacity,” Weston said. “Overall, I think we’re seeing modestly positive trends.”

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Elizabeth Johnson is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine and a journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.