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Wisconsin health officials encourage masks; Florence County to host April 10 vaccine clinic

FLORENCE, Wis. — Although a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday struck down a statewide mask mandate, health officials in Florence and Marinette counties say it’s still prudent to wear a mask while in close proximity indoors to others.

It is also a good idea for businesses to continue to require masking, said Annette Seibold, Florence County health officer and director.

“The State Supreme Court’s ruling was about the governor’s authority. It was not about the need to still wear face coverings,” said Molly Bonjean, Marinette County public health officer. “We still need to wear face coverings because the disease activity in Wisconsin is still high and the majority of our residents have not been vaccinated yet. We are asking everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.

Currently, 26% of Florence County residents have received at least one vaccine dose. Next week, anyone age 16 age and older will be eligible to receive vaccine.

“We ask for patience and to hold tight and use those masks through the end of May so that we can get many more people fully vaccinated,” Seibold said.

Despite vaccination efforts, COVID cases are rising again in some areas. The Florence County Health Department is opening a Saturday vaccine clinic on April 10.

Follow the health department on Facebook or go to the agency’s website at www.florencewipublichealth.com for the sign-up link. The April 10 clinic will utilize Johnson & Johnson, which is a one-dose vaccine, so individuals do not need to return for a second dose.

For those individuals who do not have a computer or smart phone access, and are over the age of 60 or have a disability, please call the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 715-528-4890 for assistance in scheduling an appointment.

Those without computer access can also call the health department with questions, or to get scheduled. The number of appointments available each week is based on the quantity of vaccine supplied from the state.

Marinette County continues to require all employees and visitors entering county facilities to wear a face covering in all publicly accessible areas which includes, but is not limited to, hallways, bathrooms, courtrooms and all other meeting rooms until further notice, Bonjean said.

In addition to wearing a face covering, these actions will help protect both you and others from COVID-19:

— Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. Make sure to complete vaccination series to be considered fully vaccinated.

— Stay home if you are sick or feel off.

— Stay home if you do not need to go out. Working from home, virtual gatherings, and using curbside or delivery ordering are still the safest and best options to protect yourself and others.

— Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and/or use hand sanitizer.

— Stay 6 feet from other people. Respiratory droplets are expelled into the air when other people cough, sneeze, talk and breathe. Staying 6 feet from others will lower the chances of you encountering the virus from those droplets.

— Assume you have encountered COVID-19 if you go out. Watch for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor to be tested.

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