Local Covid-19

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Everyone 16 and older in Wisconsin will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine starting April 5th.

Governor Tony Evers tweeted the announcement Tuesday afternoon. He said, “Wisconsin leads the nation in getting available shots in arms, and today we’re announcing everyone 16 and older will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting next week.”

The state has administered 2.7 million doses so far with more than one million Wisconsinites fully vaccinated.

Office of the Secretary of Defense

A new CDC-led study shows mRNA vaccines to be 90% effective against COVID-19 after the second dose and 80% effective after the first.

The Marshfield Clinic Research Institute was the sole reference lab in the nation for the research.

For 13 consecutive weeks, researchers tested nearly 4,000 samples a week for COVID-19 from healthcare workers, first responders, and other frontline essential workers. These are people who are more likely to contract the virus because of their job. They’re also among the first in the country to get vaccinated.

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The first Wisconsin case of a potentially more severe COVID-19 variant known that originated in Brazil was confirmed Friday by the state Department of Health Services.

The variant known as the P.1 is believed to spread more rapidly and easily than the original strain of COVID-19.

Wisconsin health officials also said the variant has unique mutations that may make it more difficult for antibodies generated through vaccinations or previous infections to fight it off.

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Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout got off to a slow start.

At the end of January, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the state was among the bottom five in administering the vaccine.

But since then, Wisconsin has climbed the ranks.

Now, CDC data show more than 29 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, placing Wisconsin in the top 15 states for getting shots into arms.

Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

As COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up in Wisconsin, spread of the virus is still a concern.

The Department of Health Services is reporting another 537 cases and two more deaths Thursday.

The 7-day average of new cases is up slightly at 479 cases per day.

DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk says that’s definitely better than November when we were averaging more than 6,000 cases a day, but it’s still not great.

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Vaccines are a key part in ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there are many other factors than can play into it.

Social distancing and mask wearing to prevent the spread and mutation of the virus will help.

A successful treatment for the disease will also be a major factor.

Aspirus is crediting an COVID-19 antibody treatment with preventing dozens of hospitalizations due to the virus.

Wisconsin Department of Administration

The Wisconsin Senate has voted to take control of the state’s share of the $1.9 trillion federal coronavirus stimulus package away Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Instead, lawmakers would have the ability to decide how to spend the estimated $5.7 billion coming for state and local governments. It was one of several coronavirus-related bills the Legislature was voting on Tuesday. The Republican-controlled Assembly also passed bills that would prohibit the government and employers from requiring people to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

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Gov. Tony Evers has signed a bill that allows dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

Evers announced he had signed the bill on Monday morning, the same day that nearly 2 million more people with preexisting conditions became eligible for immunization.

The general public will become eligible no later than May 1.

As of Sunday about 25% of Wisconsin's population had received at least one dose.

Nearly 15% had received two doses, completing their vaccination cycle.

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The Lincoln County Health Department is reporting 100 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine have gone to waste.

It happened on Friday. The Health Department said a vial of the vaccine was not properly prepared, so they are not able to use it.

“We know how important each vaccine is to our community. It is just as important to our staff", said Shelley Hersil, Health Officer for Lincoln County. "Our staff is heartbroken over this error. We have worked very hard to not have any vaccine wasted and will continue to do so. We have taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again."

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Michigan will expand vaccine eligibility today to residents age 50 and older.

This comes as public health experts are voicing fresh concerns about Michigan’s rising COVID-19 infection rate.

Ford Field is set to open Wednesday as Michigan's first federally run mass vaccine site.

State health officials say the state's case rate has increased 77% to more than 170 cases per million people.

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

While it’s still too early to put plants in the ground, Hanson’s Garden Village of Rhinelander is getting ready for what they expect to be another busy year.

“We definitely feel the anxiety, I wanna say, or the interest and anxiety from the gardeners that are like, ‘Are we going to be able to get this? Can I hold stuff? Will you have it?’ All that stuff,” said Manager Beth Hanson.

Iron Mountain VA Medical Center

Starting next week, vaccinations will be increasing significantly.

The next eligible group in Wisconsin includes more than two million people.

DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told reporters last week that the state is increasing eligibility because vaccine supply is increasing.

“We’re talking about 400,000 to 500,000 doses a week in the coming weeks,” said Willems Van Dijk. “We need all hands on deck cause this is going to be the point where there’s a lot of vaccine and lots of demand and we need lots of vaccinators administering it.”

Wisconsin Health Care Associaton

On Monday, a broad new group of people in Wisconsin will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

People age 16 or older with certain medical conditions will be eligible.

The conditions include chronic diseases, diabetes, and obesity.

The vaccine rollout has been successful in Wisconsin compared to other states, allowing the state to move up eligibility dates for the new group.

On Thursday, Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk sounded optimistic about where the state stands with regard to vaccinations.

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On Tuesday morning, Brendan Tuckey was putting the finishing touches on a germination incubator he built at his farm in Sugar Camp.

The chamber, about the size of a large locker, is heated to help vegetable seeds begin to sprout in the spring. It will get its first use in the coming weeks.

Tuckey and his wife Jenny own EverGood Farm, an organic vegetable farm serving the Northwoods.

Most years, they sell much of what they grow at local farmer’s markets. But as the pandemic spread last spring, they pulled the plug on that plan.

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Fewer than 2,400 doses of the precious and highly sought after coronavirus vaccine were wasted or spoiled in Wisconsin through February, with the single largest case happening when an employee did it on purpose.

That is according to data that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services provided to The Associated Press.

The data shows that through February, there had been more than 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Wisconsin and just 2,349 were wasted or spoiled.

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