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0000017b-185c-d2e5-a37b-5cff92510000Wisconsin State and Local Government Sources: Wisconsin Department of Health Services: COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019)Oneida County Health DepartmentVilas County Health DepartmentLincoln County Health DepartmentMarathon County Health Department Langlade County Health DepartmentWestern Upper Peninsula Health DepartmentForest County Health DepartmentFederal Government Sources:Centers for Disease Control (CDC)Risk Assessment PageSituation Summary PageState Department Travel AdvisoriesWorld Health Organization (WHO)WHO Question and Answer Page

Wisconsin Rollout Enters Next Phase as Number of COVID-19 Cases Remain High but Steady

Wisconsin National Guard

Local and tribal health departments are getting more funding from the state to help with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Governors Evers and the Department of Health Services announced the funding last week.

The $86 million is being divided among Wisconsin’s local and tribal health departments.

DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said the funds are meant to help with cost of coordinating and administering COVID-19 vaccines as well as keep up with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

“Just like our healthcare partners, our public health partners have been and continue to be on the frontlines doing lifesaving work and this funding will help make it possible for that work to continue,” said Willems Van Dijk.

Starting Monday, Wisconsin is opening up vaccinations to police and fire first responders. They fall in the Phase 1B group.

They’re the only portion of that group that the state has designated as eligible to get the vaccine.

As WXPR reported Friday, the state is deploying nine mobile vaccination teams tomorrow to help with administering doses.

“The teams are composed of, I don’t know the exact number but, about 12-15 people,” said Willems Van Dijk. “This included people who do registration, people who actually do vaccinations, people who help with guiding, people through the process, and of course the important task of staying with people while they’re in the observation period after they’ve had their vaccination.”

People living in assisted living facilities can start getting vaccinated January 25. They’ll get their shots through the Pharmacy-Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. A certain portion of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Wisconsin go directly to this program.

The pharmacies started with skilled nursing facilities in December and will now move onto assisted living facilities.

Governor Evers says the timeline for when the state will move onto the next phases of vaccination depends a lot on the federal government.

“One of the things that will help know would be if the federal government would be more forthcoming with not only the vaccines, but status of the vaccines,” said Evers.

“Absolutely agree,” said Willems Van Dijk. “A longer planning timeframe would be incredibly helpful in making these decisions.”

Between Forest, Iron, Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, Price, and Vilas Counties more than 3,500 people have been vaccinated.

As vaccinations continue, people continue to get sick and die from COVID-19.

The good news is cases numbers have dropped in Wisconsin and we’re no longer in the dire situation we were in two months ago.

The bad news is things are still not great.

“I think that the appropriate perspective to take is that we have unacceptably high levels of disease in all areas of the state. This is in the context of epidemic being the worse than it ever has been in the entire country,” said Wisconsin Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westgaard.

He says people need to take as many precautions as possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Wisconsin is averaging about 2,100 cases a day.

Hospital capacities are showing no significant changes with about 84-percent of beds statewide currently in use.

“One of the things that we’ve learned through the epidemic is that the epidemic curve that we see is not a one-humped camel,” said Dr. Westergaard. “State or regions that were previously the worst in the middle of the pack or fair better as time goes on, that’s no guarantee that the fire will not burn hotter in the future.”

More than 485,000 people in Wisconsin have tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin and more than 5,300 people have died.

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