Flu season is rapidly approaching and because the illness’s symptoms overlap those of COVID-19’s, health care providers urge people to get immunized as a way to more quickly diagnose between the two ailments.
By eliminating the flu as the possible cause of illness, health care providers can better allocate resources. That’s essential as it’s possible hospital beds could become scarce in the midst of a pandemic.
“We don’t want to overcrowd the hospitals,” Bayfield County Health Office Sara Wartman said.
Bayfield County and Essentia Health are holding flu vaccination clinics during October.
Bayfield County is holding three drive-through clinics in three different communities.
Two doses are available, one at $30 and the higher dose at $60. The county urges senior citizens to buy the higher dose, Wartman said.
Medicaid, Medicare and Badger Care will cover the cost, and the county will have a limited number of free doses to offer to people who are uninsured or underinsured. But if someone has a billing source, the immunization will be billed.
Bayfield County school children can be vaccinated for free and officials urge parents to take advantage of the drive-through clinics.
Washburn will hold a clinic at the Fire Hall, 1021 N. Washington Ave., on Oct. 7. Drummond Fire Hall, 52650 Front Ave., will host a clinic Oct. 14, and an Oct. 20 event will be held at Port Wing Fire Hall, 83030 Pennsylvania Ave. All of the clinics run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Essentia Health is offering flu shots to the community in a variety of ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year might be the most important year for a flu shot ever,” Dr. Aaron Phillipps, an infectious disease specialist at Essentia, said in a news release. “Cold weather pushes us indoors and the close quarters allow for easier person-to-person transmission of respiratory viruses such as influenza and COVID-19. An outbreak of illness can overfill and overtax our hospitals. We have a vaccine against the flu that can help keep our cases down and keep our hospital beds available when they are needed.”
The flu vaccine is recommended for people 6 months and older, including people with compromised immune systems and chronic medical conditions.
Ashland Essentia flu shot locations are:
Essentia Health-Ashland Clinic: 8 a.m. to noon on Oct. 6-7 and 1 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 8 and 14, 1615 Maple Lane, Suite 1. Call 715-685-7500 to schedule an appointment.
Super One Foods: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 15, 401 Ellis Ave. Shots available to people ages 6 years and older. Walk-ins are welcome.
Bayfield County Flu Clinics
Washburn: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 7, Fire Hall, 1021 N. Washington Ave.
Drummond: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 14, Fire Hall, 52650 Front Ave.
Port Wing: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 20, Fire Hall, 83030 Pennsylvania Ave.