SHAWANO-MENOMINEE COUNTIES, THEDACARE URGE COVID-SAFE PRECAUTIONS AHEAD OF HOLIDAY SEASON
Organizations Ask Community Members to Protect Loved Ones
FROM THE SHAWANO-MENOMINEE COUNTIES HEALTH DEPARTMENT
In the past week Wisconsin has averaged more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases per day, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), statistics not seen in nearly 11 months.
As of Monday, November 22, 2021,according to DHS, over the last week Shawano County has averaged more than 25 new coronavirus cases per day and Menominee County has averaged 3 cases per day.
Local health organizations, including Shawano-Menominee Counties Public Health Department(SMCHD) and ThedaCare, are asking for community action to protect loved ones ahead of the holiday season.
“When I see the increasing number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, I’m saddened that we are at this point again,” said Theresa Harmala, MSN, RN, Health Officer/Director of Shawano–Menominee Counties Health Department. “The first year of the pandemic was difficult for nearly every single person. Now that we have proven prevention methods and the COVID-19 vaccine available, we all must do our part to move past this pandemic.”
According to data from WI DHS, about 44% of Shawano residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 59% of Wisconsin residents who have received one dose.
Because of the continued rising levels of COVID-19 in Northeast and Central Wisconsin, ThedaCare, and other health systems, are nearing staffed-bed capacity to care for inpatient and COVID-19 patients.
“We need our communities’ help to change course and get infections under control,” said Julie Chikowski, Vice President of the ThedaCare North Region, which includes ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano. “ThedaCare continues to monitor and adjust our resources to provide care for our community. We must be available for those with COVID, and those suffering from serious medical situations such as heart attacks, stroke, trauma and providing cancer care treatments.”
Plea for Community Action
While the holidays are a great time for celebrating special moments with friends and family, it’s important for everyone to consider ways to keep their loved ones safe.
“The danger of spreading or contracting COVID-19 is still very real,” saidHarmala.“We CAN change the trajectory of this upward trend in cases.It will take our entire community, and we are asking for your help.”
The best way to protect yourself and loved ones over the holiday season is to limit your family gatherings to those who are fully vaccinated.A person is considered fully vaccinated if they have received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended booster shots for all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose.
Here are other recommendations from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID during holiday gatherings:
- Get vaccinated when eligible (The Pfizer vaccine is available for everyone ages 5 and older).
- Get a booster dose when eligible.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
- Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings if the vaccination status of all attending is unknown.
- Gathering outdoors is safer than indoors.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
“While we all look forward to getting back to traditional celebrations and events, it’s still important to continue practicing precautions so that we can do our best to stay healthy,” said Chikowski. “We are asking our friends and neighbors to rally again, get vaccinated, take COVID-safe precautions and support each other.”
“We want to thank community members who are taking precautions as we continue to navigate through the pandemic,” said Harmala. “Thank you for keeping our community safe.”
For a vaccine provider near you, please visit: https://www.vaccines.gov/.
For testing sites, please visit: COVID-19: Community Testing Sites | Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
About Shawano–Menominee Counties Health Department
Public Health protects and improves the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection, and control of infectious diseases of an entire population.Public Health professionals work to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services and conducting research. Public health also works to equalize the quality of health and health care for everyone in the community.
For more information, visit https://www.co.shawano.wi.us/departments/public-health/general-information/ .
For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including seven hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.
For more information, visit thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.