COVID-19 vaccines

Freshly drawn up doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are placed in a tray Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Madison. 

As of March 22, individuals age 16 and older with specified underlying health conditions will be eligible to sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Medical conditions that make someone a priority for receiving the vaccine include asthma, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, kidney disease, chronic pulmonary embolism disease, cystic fibrosis, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, hypertension or high blood pressure, immunocompromised, liver disease, neurological conditions, obesity or overweight, pregnancy, pulmonary fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Thalassemia, or diabetes.

Vaccinations continue in Price County for seniors age 65 and older, employees in public-facing positions, agricultural workers, non-front line health care workers, and educators. Michelle Edwards, Price County Public Health Officer, reported on Monday that the first dose of the vaccine had been administered to all school employees who had requested one, and by April 9, these individuals will be fully vaccinated. Edwards also noted that Price County had vaccinated nearly 60% of all citizens age 65 and older.

The vaccine rollout is continuing at a relatively rapid pace in the county, with Marshfield Clinic, Price County Public Health, Park Pharmacy, and Pick ‘n Save all offering the vaccine.

As of Monday, 23.2% of Price County residents had received at least one shot, and 14.2% had completed the vaccine series. Statewide, 21.6% of Wisconsinites have started the vaccine series, while 12.3% have been completely vaccinated.

Edwards cautioned that as new groups become eligible for the vaccine, they should expect to be put on a waiting list as the first priority groups are treated.

“Eligibility doesn’t necessarily mean availability, at least not right away,” said Edwards.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has released new guidelines for individuals who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second vaccination.

At this time, vaccinated people can visit with other vaccinated people indoors without the precautions of masks or distance, as well as unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for the disease. Vaccinated people will also not have to be tested or quarantined even if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, unless they develop symptoms of the virus.

The DHS noted that fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in public spaces.

New case numbers in Price reach new low

Between March 8-15, there were only two new cases of the virus confirmed in Price County — the lowest number of new cases in a week for many months.

The county currently stands at a total of 1,173 cases, five of which were active on Monday. There have been 1,161 recoveries from the virus. There have been no new hospitalizations or deaths associated with the virus in the past week, leaving the county at 90 COVID-related hospitalizations and seven deaths over time.

Hospitals remain busy, but the number of patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis continues to decline. Statewide, there were 215 patients hospitalized with the virus, 57 of which were requiring intensive care. There were an additional 27 patients awaiting test results. In north central Wisconsin, there were 14 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, eight of which were in intensive care units.

The number of new weekly cases in counties neighboring Price remain relatively low. Between March 8-15, Iron County had the fewest new cases with three, and Vilas had the most with 23. For the first time in a number of months, none of the eight counties encompassing Price County recorded any deaths associated with the virus.

Oneida County had confirmed 3,350 cases as of Monday — up by 16 from the week previous — with seven active cases. There have been 166 hospitalizations (up by three from the week previous) and 69 deaths associated with the virus. A total of 3,256 people have recovered, and 24,027 tests have returned negative.

Lincoln County had confirmed 2,928 cases — up by 10 — with 15 active cases. There have been 118 hospitalizations and 58 deaths associated with the virus. A total of 2,855 people have recovered, and 11,921 tests have returned negative.

Vilas County had confirmed 2,303 cases — up by 23 — with 60 active cases. There have been 128 hospitalizations (up by three) and 41 deaths. A total of 2,203 people have recovered, and 9,226 tests have returned negative.

Taylor County had confirmed 2,009 cases — up by six — with 24 active cases. There have been 63 hospitalizations (up by two) and 30 deaths. A total of 1,955 people have recovered, and 5,804 tests have returned negative.

Sawyer County had confirmed 1,543 cases — up by 10 — with 16 active cases. There have been 76 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. A total of 1,503 people have recovered, and 8,261 tests have returned negative.

Rusk County had confirmed 1,273 cases — up by nine — with 26 active cases. There have been 86 hospitalizations (up by one) and 16 deaths. A total of 1,231 people have recovered, and 4,938 tests have returned negative.

Ashland County had confirmed 1,185 cases, up by 10. There have been 54 hospitalizations (up by two) and 16 deaths. A total of 6,901 tests have returned negative.

Iron County had confirmed 555 cases, up by three. There have been 41 hospitalizations (up by one) and 21 deaths. A total of 2,532 tests have returned negative.

Active case numbers and recoveries were not available for Iron and Ashland counties.

Statewide, 569,932 cases have been confirmed with 6,023 cases active as of Monday. A total of 6,536 people have died due to the virus and 26,821 people have been hospitalized. A total of 557,214 people have recovered, and 2,671,549 tests have returned negative.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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