Kenosha mask mandate ends as vaccination numbers stagnate in communities of color

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KENOSHA ⸺ As of today, the city of Kenosha is no longer under the enforcement of any face mask mandate. However, the county Health Department has released recommendations to continue to stop the spread of COVID-19. 


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On Wednesday, a day before the city’s mandate expired, Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit encouraged residents to continue the use of face masks and continue the vaccination push.

“The main point is that people who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should continue to wear a mask while in indoor public places or where physical distancing is not possible, just as the CDC recommended for many months prior to last week’s guidance,” Freiheit said. 

“Furthermore, there are still settings where masks should be worn regardless of a person’s vaccination status.” 

She said, ultimately, “eliminating all mask recommendations will be incumbent on getting more of our population vaccinated.”

Freiheit’s recommendations can be seen in their entirety below.

mask; mask mandate; health; health department; covid; covid-19; kenosha; kenosha county
mask; mask mandate; health; health department; covid; covid-19; kenosha; kenosha county

Thursday’s vaccination numbers as mask mandate ends

As of Thursday, county health officials have injected 128,143 doses of COVID-19 vaccine into county residents. As a result, approximately 42% of the county population has received at least one dose.

The county has also fully vaccinated approximately 36% of its total population.

mask; mask mandate; health; health department; covid; covid-19; kenosha; kenosha county
Kenosha County vaccination data provided by Kenosha County as of Thursday afternoon, May 27, 2021.

in other words, the county has fully vaccinated approximately 62,000 residents as of Thursday afternoon. 

Great disparities in COVID-19 vaccine race data

However, while 62,000 fully vaccinated in the population seems like good progress, the race data paints a far different picture.

As of Thursday, 46,543 “White Alone” residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

That number plummets by approximately 41,000 to the next-closest population: Hispanic or Latino (of any race), at 5,026 fully vaccinated. Unknown race/ethnicity comes in at third highest at 4,331 fully vaccinated.

mask; mask mandate; health; health department; covid; covid-19; kenosha; kenosha county
Kenosha County vaccination data provided by Kenosha County as of Thursday afternoon, May 27, 2021.
Kenosha County vaccination data provided by Kenosha County as of Thursday afternoon, May 27, 2021.

The numbers once again fall by nearly half to the fourth population: Black or African-American Alone, with 2,268 fully vaccinated in Kenosha County. 

Likewise, other race, not Hispanic has a smaller number as well at 1,508 fully vaccinated. Kenosha County’s Asian population makes up 1,145 of the county’s vaccinated residents.

However, the group that has the lowest numbers of vaccination is “American Indian or Alaska native alone” with 155 fully vaccinated ⏤ roughly mirroring, in placement on the list, its lower ranking in census population numbers.

Black population least in partial vaccination

While Native American and Alaska native residents fall last in full vaccination, their partial vaccination rate currently rests at 33%, according to county data.

In fact, the group showing the most stagnation in partial vaccination is the Black community.

Kenosha County vaccination data provided by Kenosha County as of Thursday afternoon, May 27, 2021.

While there have been efforts to both quell vaccine fears and outreach to the community for ease of vaccination, it remains a struggle for the county, according to its own data. 

Disparities hinted at, provide a stark contrast

The rolling data inside the county’s COVID-19 data hub shows an alarming contrast between caucasian residents and communities of color throughout Kenosha County. However, this is something that health officials have been aware of and struggling to combat since the pandemic began.

Recently, the county’s health department has taken to adopting methods more mirroring the nation’s response to polio in the mid-1900s: doing outreach and also bringing vaccines out to the community instead of large, stationary clinics.

However, looking at the racial data on the county’s website, there appears to be much work still left to close those gaps. 

For more information on COVID-19 numbers and vaccination rates in Kenosha County, please also visit https://kenosha-county-covid-19-response-kenoshacounty.hub.arcgis.com/.


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