Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Officials have identified seven people who appear to have contracted COVID-19 through activities related to the April 7 election, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said Monday.
By the end of this week, officials hope to have additional information on the cases that were reported between April 7 and Monday, she said.
That includes an answer to whether any of the seven cases resulted in death and whether the cases were concentrated at any of the city’s five in-person polling locations.
"There needs to be a little bit more analysis so we can connect the dots, that's why case investigation and contact tracing is so important," she said.
Asked how to conduct contact tracing at polling sites when anyone present was surrounded by numerous strangers, Kowalik referenced doing broad notification for people who were present during a certain time frame.
"As you recall, there were people that were in line for a very long time to get their vote in, so if you figure out around a range of time when someone was there or in the polling sites or in the line, connect to someone who was an actual case, that's when we would do notifications," she said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said about 3,500 voters came to each of the city's five voting sites and dozens of workers were there as well.
"This will tell you why we were so adamant about trying to not have this occur," he said, referring calls to cancel in-person voting.
Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said Monday the state’s health agency had not yet seen evidence linking new cases of the virus with the April 7 election. Palm also warned that if cases do exist, symptoms may not have appeared yet.
Tuesday will mark the 14th day since the election — a time frame epidemiologists agree typically passes before symptoms of a virus infection appear.
The in-person election saw voters standing in line at the city's five polling places, many for hours on end.
Journal Sentinel reporter Molly Beck contributed to this story.