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Aspirus Urges Continued COVID Safety Practices as It Readies to Distribute Vaccine


On an average day, Aspirus is treating 125 COVID-19 patients in their homes.

The healthcare system is using different technologies to help keep hospital beds free.

Aspirus Senior Vice President Jesse Tischer said Friday they’ve now treated well-over 1,000 patients from home.

He said this is just one way Aspirus has been able to treat more people along with antibodies therapies.
Like many people, Tischer is happy about the news of a vaccine, but warns we still have a long road ahead of us and importance of following COVID safety guidelines.

“Again, each one of these tools has allowed us to combat this deadly disease, but we also have to remember as we’ve said before the basics of masking, washing your hands, and social distancing,” said Tischer.

Credit Wisconsin DHS

Hospital capacity in the north central region is still above 88%. In total, more than 19,000 people have been hospitalized in Wisconsin because of the virus.

Aspirus said it’s ready to receive and distribute the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine could get emergency use approval this weekend.

Its Michigan distribution sites could get doses as soon as Tuesday.  Aspirus said it hasn’t gotten a date for Wisconsin.

Dr. Susan Schneider is the Aspirus System Senior Physician Executive.

She says Aspirus has had to work through a lot of logistical issues with this vaccine.

“Because it has to be kept at that ultra-cold temperature. We have been planning around distribution, around transportation, and around storage to maintain the integrity of the vaccine as well as making sure that we can actually very quickly and efficiently give the vaccine once we do receive it,” said Dr. Schneider.

Frontline healthcare workers and long-term care residents will be the first to get the vaccine.

Tischer said Aspirus does not plan force its employees to take the vaccine at this point.

“Depending upon how the pandemic continues and what some of our regulatory bodies may require we are reserving the right that at some point if it becomes something we force that we would at that point,” said Tischer.

Dr. Schneider said it likely wouldn’t be until spring that a COVID-19 vaccine is available to the general public.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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