MILWAUKEE -- It has been one week since Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced he was angry and disappointed by the Health Department's handling of the lead program in the city. On Friday, Jan 19, he provided an update on the thousands of letters the city is set to send to parents.
Mayor Barrett announced that 6,428 letters are being mailed to families of children who have been tested and shown to have elevated lead levels in their blood. Those letters were expected to be mailed Friday and Monday -- and should be in the mailboxes of those families by Tuesday or Wednesday.
"I felt out of an abundance of caution that it would be important for us to simply send letters to all those individuals who had their blood tested," Barrett said.
Officials say about 25,000 children are tested for lead every year -- and the test results of about 3,000 children are noted as elevated. The providers are to notify parents of this -- and so is the health department.
There is a question as to whether the Health Department notified all of the affected families between 2015 and 2017.
"We are taking the steps we said we would take -- and we are moving forward with our plan to ensure all families will receive the proper follow-up regarding a child with an elevated blood level," Barrett said.
The letter notifies families that their child may need additional services or testing based on previous results. Children very high levels are getting personal visit from the Health Department's nursing staff.
The mayor also mentioned a hotline is being set up so the public has a place to call to get information on lead testing, concerns and clinic information. It's important to note -- that phone number (414-286-8800) will not go active until Monday, Jan 22.
Along with the letters and hotline being created, the mayor indicated leading testing would be available at 3 walk-in clinics within the city -- two on the city's north side and one on the city's south side. Those locations are as follows:
- Keenan Health Center: 3200 N. 36th St.
- Northwest Health Center: 7630 W. Mill Rd.
- Southside Health Center: 1639 S. 23rd St.