With Wisconsin now in the second stage of the COVID-19 vaccination process, education and childcare workers are eligible to be immunized, starting this week.
Price County Public Health Officer Michelle Edwards reported that approximately 70-75% of employees in the county’s three school districts have expressed an interest in being immunized. By the end of next week, all school employees who wish to be vaccinated should have received their first dose.
Vaccination clinics will be held on school campuses both this week and next, and all second doses should be completed by April 9.
Edwards noted that two weeks after the final dose has been completed, a vaccinated individual will not need to quarantine if they come in contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 — which should help ease the burden on schools to minimize contacts.
Any other education or childcare workers who want to be vaccinated are also eligible.
Once the priority group of education and childcare workers have been vaccinated, the next priority group will be individuals who are enrolled in long-term Medicaid programs.
Public-facing essential workers will be the next priority, with first dose clinics planned for March 25. This group will be a large one in Price County, and will include employees of grocery stores, gas stations, etc., agriculture production workers such as employees on local farms, public transit workers such as BART bus drivers and volunteer drivers for seniors, and employees of utility and communication services whose work prevents them from social distancing.
Healthcare employees who are not on the front lines will encompass the next group, which includes IT workers, buildings and grounds employees, etc.
The final group in this phase of the vaccination distribution will be those in congregate living, such as those living in shared employer-based housing, patients of mental health institutions, individuals in transitional housing or homeless shelters, and those who are incarcerated. In Price County, the main group that will fall into this category are individuals in the Price County Jail.
Price County Public Health is working in close partnership with Marshfield Clinic in order to distribute vaccinations as quickly and efficiently as possible, according to Edwards. Since there are several large groups within this phase of the distribution process, Edwards said it is unlikely it will be completed before the end of April or beginning of May.
So far, 2,327 Price County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 908 people have completed the vaccine series. Edwards reported that the majority of healthcare workers who chose to be vaccinated have completed their series, as have employees and residents of local assisted living and nursing homes.
Marshfield Clinic has reported they will continue to focus on vaccinating citizens aged 65 and older, any remaining healthcare workers, as well as police, firefights, and correctional staff — prioritizing those groups until vaccination is complete. People who wish to be added to a waitlist for the vaccine can visit marshfieldclinic.org/CovidVaccine or call 877-998-0880.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Service reported that 912,429 people statewide have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 8.5% of the state’s population have been fully vaccinated.
Regional case numbers
As of Monday, Price County had confirmed a total of 1,161 cases of the coronavirus, 15 of which were currently active. Cases were up by 11 from a week previous. A total of 1,139 people in Price County have recovered from the virus.
Oneida County had confirmed 3,306 cases as of Monday — up by 43 from the week previous — with 55 active cases. There have been 161 hospitalizations, one of which is current, and 66 deaths (one of which is new since last week) attributed to the virus. A total of 3,184 people have recovered, and 22,588 tests have returned negative.
Lincoln County had confirmed 2,909 cases — up by 17 — with 23 active cases. There have been 115 hospitalizations and 57 deaths (up by one) attributed to the virus. A total of 2,828 people have recovered, and 11,539 tests have returned negative.
Vilas County had confirmed 2,263 cases — up by 62 — with 80 active cases. There have been 125 hospitalizations and 39 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 2,145 people have recovered, and 8,959 tests have returned negative.
Taylor County had confirmed 2,001 cases — up by nine — with 38 active cases. There have been 65 hospitalizations and 30 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 5,713 people have recovered, and 5,713 tests have returned negative.
Sawyer County had confirmed 1,517 cases — up by 21 — with 27 active cases. There have been 76 hospitalizations and 21 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 1,467 people have recovered, and 8,117 tests have returned negative.
Rusk County had confirmed 1,253 cases — up by eight — with 16 active cases. There have been 85 hospitalizations and 16 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 1,221 people have recovered, and 4,827 tests have returned negative.
Ashland County had confirmed 1,174 cases, up by three. There have been 52 hospitalizations and 16 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 6,790 tests have returned negative.
Iron County had confirmed 541 cases, up by 10. There have been 39 hospitalizations, and 20 deaths attributed to the virus. A total of 2,479 tests have returned negative.
Active case numbers and recoveries were not available for Iron and Ashland counties.