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Florence County makes vaccine available to health workers who meet eligibility requirements

FLORENCE, Wis. — Florence County is helping to provide COVID-19 vaccine to organizations that have frontline health care personnel that are not affiliated with a healthcare system, hospital, or long-term care facility.

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, and are currently eligible for vaccine.

Officials ask that Florence County organizations and residents who provide direct health care that meet the Tier 1a definition and are not yet matched with a vaccinator, call Sara at the Florence County Health Department at 715-528-4837.

“We look forward to making this vaccine available to help fight the COVID spread in our community. It is important to help provide this important vaccine to some of the frontline workers who play crucial roles in keeping our community healthy,” said Annette Seibold, county health officer.

Public Health will follow-up with organizations to collect names and contact information of individuals eligible for vaccine. As vaccine becomes available, individuals will be matched with appointments. If you provide direct health care and are interested in the vaccine, please contact the agency for further information and availability. This process may take some time.

Because Tier 1a is limited to direct patient care that is public facing, anyone with the ability to telework is not considered Tier 1a. Many clinics and organizations would like to get back to working in person. However, because some people (hospital workers, emergency workers, etc.) do not have the ability to work from home, they are being prioritized. All health care personnel that currently telework will still be considered in future tiers.

Some of the health care personnel categories in Tier 1a include:

— Certified nursing assistant, nursing assistant, nurse aide, medical assistant, nurses;

— Chiropractors;

— Dental services, including dentist, dental hygienist, dental assistants;

— Direct care personnel, for example, people who provide direct care to patients, including in their homes (for example, personal care assistant, home health worker);

— Emergency medical responders, including emergency medical technician/ paramedic including all levels of EMRs;

— Environmental services, food and nutrition, buildings and grounds in patient care setting;

— Hospice workers;

— Long-term care facilities staff;

— Pharmacist/pharmacist assistant;

— Physicians, physician assistant/nurse practitioners;

— Transportation services to and from health care settings, for example, testing sites, dialysis centers, ambulatory care.

This is not an exhaustive list. For a full description of who is in Tier 1a, see the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee guidance at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p02858.pdf.

As more information about vaccine availability for other tiers becomes available, Public Health will provide this information. There are no wait lists being formed for vaccines in future tiers. People are encouraged to stay up to date by visiting the public health Facebook or local newspapers.

The public is asked to be patient and to continue strong everyday precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The vaccine is offered voluntarily and at no cost.

These preventive measures include:

— Don’t gather with people outside your own household and if you must, wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart. 

— Wear a mask when in public, even in outdoor locations.

— Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing completely.

— Stay home if you have symptoms and get tested. 

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