'We need people to get tested': Milwaukee Co. leaders push COVID-19 testing after numbers drop around holiday

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County health leaders are pushing for people to keep getting tested for COVID-19.

Their message comes after a drop in testing numbers around the Christmas holiday.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said COVID-19 testing numbers were up the Monday after Christmas.

"We had almost 3,000 people on Monday alone," he explained.

But after the holiday, Barrett and county health leaders said the public is not clear of the virus, yet.

They are encouraging people to get back in line.

"We need folks out there to understand that the holidays are here and we need people to continuously get tested," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

Though their holiday was quiet, Olivia Varraza brought her parents for testing.

“I think that everybody should really try to get tested, especially since everybody’s getting together," Varraza said.

Numbers from the community testing sites in Milwaukee show a dip from November to December.

Testing averaged 18,000 to 19,000 in November.

That average dropped to 10,000 to 12,000 after Thanksgiving and into December.

"And for this time of winter, colds are going around, a lot of viral illnesses going around, and it's really impossible to tell the difference between a simple cold and COVID," Dr. Ben Weston, associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said.

Dr. Weston also said the "disease burden" of the virus is currently down, and a drop in testing could suggest people becoming more relaxed.

"There is that concern that people will loosen up at a little bit and get back into that cycle where we rise up in the disease burden. Hopefully we won't, but that's certainly a concern," he said.

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