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Wisconsin official: COVID-19 herd immunity possible by July – WISN Milwaukee

There will be enough coronavirus vaccine doses in Wisconsin by the end of June to immunize 80% of those age 16 and over in the state, a top state health official said Thursday.Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinThat milestone would mean hitting a key target to achieve herd immunity for COVID-19.”Wouldn’t that be a wonderful 4th of July celebration, to hit 80% community immunity in the state of Wisconsin?” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said the nation must achieve a vaccination rate of about 80% to reach “herd immunity.” Other health experts have said “herd immunity” won’t be reached until 90% of the population is vaccinated. More than 23% of Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Thursday and more than 13%, about 761,000 people, were fully vaccinated, according to the health department. More than 2 million people ages 16 to 64 with any of a broad array of preexisting conditions including being overweight, having high blood pressure or moderate asthma, will become eligible Monday. Everyone older than age 65 and all frontline health care workers, grocery store workers and restaurant employees are already eligible.Wisconsinites will be eligible “no later” than May 1, Willems Van Dijk said. She also said she didn’t have a problem with people who qualify on Monday taking open appointments between now and then.”I don’t think it’s going to be a free-for-all,” she said. “We’re getting much closer to being able to have (vaccine) supply to open to everyone.” Health officials also said Thursday they do not anticipate being able to determine in what type of group home setting more than 1,700 people who died from COVID-19 resided, even as the state recently added nearly 1,000 deaths from unknown to long-term care facilities. State health officials in recent weeks have been revising and updating the data, including matching the addresses of known long-term care facilities with those who have died. That resulted in about 1,000 people who died while residing in a long-term care facility being moved from the unknown category. The percentage of unknown deaths in group housing settings dropped from 46% to 26%, with the deaths in long-term care facilities increasing from 26% to 45%. The state reported at least 2,935 COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities as of Thursday.That was up from 1,956 reported earlier this month. There were 1,719 deaths in the unknown category for group homes.”At this time, I don’t anticipate it will be further reduced unless we come up with another creative idea about how to match some other kind of housing,” Willems Van Dijk said. Long-term care facilities include nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Other group housing facilities include prisons, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes. The accuracy of COVID-19 data has been an issue in many states, particularly among critics of efforts earlier in the pandemic to close businesses and take other mitigation steps to slow the spread of the virus. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is under federal investigation after it underreported deaths in nursing homes following his decision to open them to recovering COVID-19 patients.Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday a second federally run vaccination site in Wisconsin will be located in Eau Claire and will open April 8. The first one is in Milwaukee and officials in Madison hope to host one there as well. The Eau Claire facility, to be run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency along with state and local partners, will be at Zorn Arena on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The state committed to providing at least 3,500 doses of vaccine a week, up to 7,000, based on supply. It will have the capacity to vaccinate 1,200 people a day, Evers’ administration said.Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISNGet breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

There will be enough coronavirus vaccine doses in Wisconsin by the end of June to immunize 80% of those age 16 and over in the state, a top state health official said Thursday.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in Wisconsin

That milestone would mean hitting a key target to achieve herd immunity for COVID-19.

“Wouldn’t that be a wonderful 4th of July celebration, to hit 80% community immunity in the state of Wisconsin?” said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has said the nation must achieve a vaccination rate of about 80% to reach “herd immunity.”

Other health experts have said “herd immunity” won’t be reached until 90% of the population is vaccinated.

More than 23% of Wisconsin residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Thursday and more than 13%, about 761,000 people, were fully vaccinated, according to the health department.

More than 2 million people ages 16 to 64 with any of a broad array of preexisting conditions including being overweight, having high blood pressure or moderate asthma, will become eligible Monday.

Everyone older than age 65 and all frontline health care workers, grocery store workers and restaurant employees are already eligible.

Wisconsinites will be eligible “no later” than May 1, Willems Van Dijk said.

She also said she didn’t have a problem with people who qualify on Monday taking open appointments between now and then.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a free-for-all,” she said. “We’re getting much closer to being able to have (vaccine) supply to open to everyone.”

Health officials also said Thursday they do not anticipate being able to determine in what type of group home setting more than 1,700 people who died from COVID-19 resided, even as the state recently added nearly 1,000 deaths from unknown to long-term care facilities.

State health officials in recent weeks have been revising and updating the data, including matching the addresses of known long-term care facilities with those who have died.

That resulted in about 1,000 people who died while residing in a long-term care facility being moved from the unknown category.

The percentage of unknown deaths in group housing settings dropped from 46% to 26%, with the deaths in long-term care facilities increasing from 26% to 45%.

The state reported at least 2,935 COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities as of Thursday.

That was up from 1,956 reported earlier this month.

There were 1,719 deaths in the unknown category for group homes.

“At this time, I don’t anticipate it will be further reduced unless we come up with another creative idea about how to match some other kind of housing,” Willems Van Dijk said.

Long-term care facilities include nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Other group housing facilities include prisons, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes.

The accuracy of COVID-19 data has been an issue in many states, particularly among critics of efforts earlier in the pandemic to close businesses and take other mitigation steps to slow the spread of the virus.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is under federal investigation after it underreported deaths in nursing homes following his decision to open them to recovering COVID-19 patients.

Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday a second federally run vaccination site in Wisconsin will be located in Eau Claire and will open April 8.

The first one is in Milwaukee and officials in Madison hope to host one there as well.

The Eau Claire facility, to be run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency along with state and local partners, will be at Zorn Arena on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The state committed to providing at least 3,500 doses of vaccine a week, up to 7,000, based on supply.

It will have the capacity to vaccinate 1,200 people a day, Evers’ administration said.

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