COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to frontline health care personnel Begins

The Kenosha County Division of Health is now helping to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to frontline health care personnel, with an initial emphasis on emergency medical services workers, Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit said today.

Freiheit said Kenosha County is one of eight public health departments in Wisconsin that received supplies of the vaccine this week.

Kenosha County took delivery of 300 doses, many of which have been transferred to the Kenosha Fire Department, which has been trained to vaccinate its emergency medical technicians. Others are being administered to first responders and other first-tier health care workers by county public health nurses.

“We were ready and prepared to receive early supplies of the vaccine, and we’re now one of the first health departments in the state to get shots in the arms of frontline health care workers,” Freiheit said. “We will continue coordinating the release of the vaccine as quickly as we can receive it. We ask for the public’s patience as we mark this important milestone.”

Following tiers defined by a state advisory group, individuals who provide direct patient service or engage in health care services that place them into contact with patients who may have COVID-19 are defined as Tier 1a, the only group currently eligible for vaccination.

Vaccine eligibility for subsequent tiers including other population groups and, eventually, the general public, will be announced at future dates, pending federal and state guidance.

“We know many people are very eager to receive the vaccine and, eventually, put COVID-19 behind them,” Freiheit said. “Access for future tiers over the coming months will be announced as soon as possible. We ask that people please refrain from calling the Division of Health with questions about vaccine availability, as our staff remains very busy processing a high volume of COVID-19 cases and, now, the limited rollout of the vaccine.”

Freiheit said it remains important to continue important precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

 

Planniing for vaccine distribution commences

The Kenosha County Division of Health is working actively with the Kenosha County Emergency Operations Center, health care providers and other partners to coordinate local distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local health officials are following up on a planning process that began on the federal level and then moved to state health departments, which are now sharing information with local partners about how implementation will occur.

Initial supplies of the vaccine locally are expected to be scarce, with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services overseeing and determining allocations based on guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee.

It is not yet known how much vaccine Kenosha County will initially receive or which health care providers will receive supplies during the early rollout.

“I know that the COVID-19 vaccine is a long time coming for many of our residents, and I understand that there are many questions to which we don’t yet have answers,” said Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit. “I ask for the public’s patience as we receive and react to federal and state guidance. As always, the Kenosha County Division of Health will be here to serve our health partners and the general public as we round another bend in the pandemic.”

Under initial state and federal distribution plans:
n Vaccination distribution will occur in phases starting with 1A, which officially began

Monday. Those slated to receive the vaccine in Phase 1A include health care personnel and long-term care facility residents and staff. Initial vaccine allotments will not be available to the general public during Phase 1A.

n Those primarily responsible for administering vaccinations in Phase 1A will include hospitals and health care providers (for their health care workers) and pharmacies (for long-term care facility providers and residents). Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has issued a request for services for vaccination clinics.

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JOINT INFORMATION RELEASE

Joint Information Center (JIC)

n The Kenosha County Division of Health will help to fill gaps for Phase 1A vaccine delivery (for emergency medical services, for example) as resources allow. The Division of Health does not expect to receive any vaccine or to vaccinate until January 2021 at the earliest; the exact timing and parameters for distribution are not yet known.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Phase 1B will include essential workers (still to be defined by the state), while Phase 1C will include people age 65 and older and those with other conditions that put them at higher risk. The timeframe for these phases is not yet known.

The general public will be eligible for vaccination during the subsequent Phases 2 and 3, assuming a sufficient supply of vaccine. The earliest timeline for the general public to receive vaccine, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts, is the second or third quarter of 2021.

Prior to the vaccine becoming widely available to the public, Freiheit said it remains vital to wear a mask in public, socially distance, avoid gatherings and keep your social circle small, and stay home if sick or quarantined.

“This has been a long ride, but now is not yet the time to ease up on the measures we should be taking to slow the spread and reduce the risks of COVID-19,” Freiheit said. “I look forward to sharing more information about vaccine supplies and distribution as it becomes available.”

More information about COVID-19, including local data and links to tips and resources, is available on the Kenosha County COVID-19 Response Hub website, at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/covid-19.

Together, we can and will slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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Kenosha County backs shorter quarantine for some COVID-19 close contacts

The Kenosha County Division of Health will support a new, shortened 10-day quarantine time for symptom-free individuals who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit said today.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance that the 14-day quarantine length for close contacts can be condensed to seven days with a negative test result or 10 days without a test.

While noting that a reduced quarantine period may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing economic hardship for people who cannot work during that time, the CDC continues to endorse the full, 14-day quarantine as the safest alternative, as the incubation period for the COVID-19 virus is two to 14 days.

The CDC is deferring to local public health authorities to make the final decisions about how long quarantines should last in their communities, based on local conditions and needs.

“Kenosha County supports the 10-day quarantine for close contacts, as long as they remain symptom-free,” Freiheit said. “Ideally, this earlier release from quarantine would come with a negative test result. Those who are not tested should continue to self-monitor for symptoms for an additional four days if they elect to come out of quarantine after Day 10.”

The new county protocols note that to ensure maximum accuracy, testing should not occur until six days after an individual’s last contact with a COVID-19-positive case.

Freiheit added that the Division of Health is not able to provide proof of negative test results to end quarantines. Test results may be obtained via email when tested at a Wisconsin National Guard testing site or should be requested from the medical facility that ordered testing.

Close contacts are identified as those who experienced at least one of the following connections with a COVID-19 case:

n You were within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for 15 or minutes or more in a given day.

n You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19.
n You had direct physical contact with the person (handshake, hug, kiss, etc.). n You shared eating or drinking utensils.
n They sneezed, coughed or somehow got respiratory droplets on you.

Household contacts of a COVID-19-positive individual who is not able to separate completely from others should continue their quarantine for at least 10 days after the positive case is released from his or her isolation. Complete separation means spending no time together in the same room and no sharing of any spaces, such as using the same bathroom.

These protocols do not apply to people who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms within 90 days of their first bout of the virus may need to be tested if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms; they are advised to follow the recommendation of their physician.

The new Kenosha County guidelines take effect Tuesday, Dec. 8. People who have already been placed into isolation or quarantine prior to Dec. 8 will remain on their original schedules.

Freiheit said following the recommended protocols will help greatly to lessen the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“I know that these guidelines can be confusing, and that they can cause great hardships for individuals and families,” Freiheit said. “But these are best practices that are rooted in science, and we’re asking the community to follow them — for their own health and safety, and so we can eradicate this virus as quickly as possible.”

For resources and guidance pertaining to quarantine and other COVID-19 information, visit the Kenosha County COVID-19 Response Hub at www.kenoshacounty.org/covid-19 or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov. For other questions, call the Kenosha County Health Department at 262-605-6700 or email COVID-19@kenoshacounty.org.

2021 Susan B. Anthony – Women of Influence Awards Dinner canceled; Scholarships for women and grant opportunities remain available

KENOSHA – Out of an abundance of caution resulting from the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 Susan B. Anthony – Women of Influence Awards banquet will be canceled. However, SBA Award, Inc. is accepting applications for scholarships and grant opportunities in order to support those needs in our community.

“We are saddened to forgo the recognition of the women who do such impactful work in Kenosha County in 2021, but we came to the realization that a virtual event would not be as meaningful for their work and contributions,” said Guida Brown, president of SBA Award, Inc. “We are looking forward to a proper celebration in 2022.”

“Still, the need to support women who are furthering their education and assist nonprofit organizations that assist women and girls are not going away,” Brown said. As a result, SBA Award, Inc. will be seeking donations to support those awards.

Grants are given to nonprofit groups, agencies and organizations that work with girls and/or women and their families in Kenosha County. Grant applications are due by 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4.

Scholarships are offered to Kenosha County nontraditional-aged female students who have obtained, at a minimum, an associate degree and are seeking to pursue higher education. The scholarship application deadline is also 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 4.

To receive Susan B. Anthony – Women of Influence scholarship and grant applications and to donate, contact SusanBAwards@gmail.com.

SBA Inc. is a cooperative effort of three women’s organizations in the Kenosha area: the Kenosha Women’s Network, AAUW-Kenosha (WI) Branch, and Tempo Kenosha with support from the Kenosha Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund and the Southeast Wisconsin Labor Times.  

 

Kenosha Fire Department announces FREE COVID-19 testing on Wednesdays and Fridays

The Kenosha Fire Department will be offering FREE COVID-19 testing on Wednesdays and Fridays through the end of the year beginning this Friday, Nov. 20, the department announced today.

Anyone who lives or works in Wisconsin, ages 5 and above, can be tested. Testing will take place at vacant Fire Station #3, 2121 Roosevelt Road.

Testing hours are noon to 6 p.m.

The Kenosha Fire Department is offering this testing site in partnership with Modern Apothecary pharmacy and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. In order to be tested, follow these steps:

  1. An appointment is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED. Appointments are made by clicking here: https://10to8.com/book/modernapothecary.

  2. After making an appointment, please register in advance by clicking here:

    https://register.covidconnect.wi.gov/en-US/. Registering in advance will speed up

    the line at the testing site and keep traffic congestion to a minimum.

  3. You will receive an e-mail after completing registration. Bring this e-mail printed or on your mobile device to the appointment.

Individuals who are tested should expect results via email within seven days, or by calling the Wisconsin COVID 19 Results Hotline at 866-419-6988.

This newly announced testing is in addition to the testing that Modern Apothecary is offering at the former fire station from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 19.

Information about additional testing opportunities in and around Kenosha County is available here: https://www.kenoshacounty.org/2058/COVID-19-Testing-Locations.

Together, we can and will slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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Kenosha sees HUGE spike in COVID cases

With cases of COVID-19 rising sharply in Kenosha County, local government and health leaders are imploring the community follow some fundamental health and safety recommendations.

As of Friday, Kenosha County had some 7,200 cumulative, confirmed cases of the virus — a total that increased by more than 700 cases over the course of the week.

“We are in an urgent crisis with COVID-19,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “I am calling on our community to take this very seriously — to take the steps we all need to be doing to protect ourselves and our loved ones from this virus, including wearing a mask and staying at home when possible. I know many of you are already doing that, but the significant, continuing spread of cases that we’re seeing shows that we all need to be on high alert.”

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian urged citizens to take steps to keep themselves and their loved ones safe during the pandemic, such as washing their hands often, wearing masks and avoiding crowds.

“People should exercise good judgment,” Antaramian said. “People who feel ill should stay home and limit their exposure to others.”

Specifically, the Kenosha County COVID-19 Joint Information Center makes the following recommendations:

n Stay home if you do not need to go out.
n If you leave your home, expect that you may be exposed to COVID-19.
n Wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
n Avoid all unnecessary travel.
n Avoid all public and personal social gatherings of any size.
n If you have to go out, avoid any businesses that are not following the state mask order. n If you feel sick, stay home.
n Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
n Remember, this won’t last forever! We can make a positive impact for our loved ones,

friends, businesses and our community by adhering to these recommendations.

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JOINT INFORMATION RELEASE

Joint Information Center (JIC)

“I understand that with schools in session and the holidays approaching, this is a difficult time to stay home and stay out of harm’s way,” Kreuser said. “But making these sacrifices now will help to keep us all safe and healthy and will get us that much closer to the days when the numbers will go down, and we’ll make that return to the normalcy that’s been missing from our lives.”

Kenosha County Health Officer Dr. Jen Freiheit echoed Kreuser and Antaramian’s appeal for the community’s cooperation with the recommendations.

“Getting through this pandemic is a team effort,” Freiheit said. “Ultimately, it’s up to all of us to protect ourselves and one another from the virus.”

Some additional information of note from the Kenosha County Division of Health:
n Public health advises asymptomatic people who are a close contact to a positive case to

wait 5-10 days to get tested for COVID-19. Testing too soon after exposure can lead to false negatives, as the body will not yet have enough viral load. Those who have any symptoms even if mild (such as extreme fatigue or runny nose) can test immediately. Anyone who has had close contact to a positive case should quarantine until 14 days after their last contact with the positive individual.

n People sometimes receive test results directly from their physician or laboratory before they are uploaded into the state system that sends test information to local health departments. Once the Division of Health receives lab information indicating a positive case, it is assigned to a disease investigator who will make three attempts to contact the positive individual. Due to case volume, it is now sometimes taking a day or two for disease investigators to make contact with a newly received positive case.

n The Division of Health has trained local schools on how to assign isolation and quarantine dates. Please trust the dates that schools distribute to affected families.

n When one member of a household is identified as positive for COVID-19, the rest of the household contacts should be in quarantine for 14 days while the positive individual isolates alone. If the positive individual does not have access to his or her own bathroom and bedroom, then the rest of the household’s 14-day quarantine period does not begin until the positive individual has been well without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours.

More information about COVID-19, including local data and links to resources, is available athttps://www.kenoshacounty.org/covid-19.

Together, we can and will slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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