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Health officials urge COVID-19 boosters as Dane Co. community transmission level rises

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 9:59 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County shifted into a higher level of COVID-19 transmission levels Friday, prompting local health officials to encourage residents to go get their first or even second booster shot.

According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Levels map, Dane County has pushed into “medium” levels of transmission. Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janel Heinrich said the county’s increased COVID-19 case activity is what tipped it into medium levels of transmission.

“While this increase is a cause of concern and caution, it is not a cause for alarm,” Heinrich said. “We have always been clear that this pandemic is not over, we expect to see peaks and valleys in the number of cases in our community. Following these risk levels helps people make informed decisions and take proactive steps to stay healthy.”

PHMDC noted that COVID-19 case activity has been increasing since late March. The seven-day rolling average is currently at 159 cases per day.

The county’s high vaccination status, treatment options and immunity following the Omicron surge in January is what has kept hospitalizations and bed activity from increasing, according to PHMDC.

Cases per 100,000 residents, new hospitalizations and hospital bed capacity recorded over the past seven days are all metrics the CDC uses when determining disease transmission levels.

Heinrich stated that PHMDC is focused on reducing the number of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.

“We do that by staying up to date on our vaccinations,” Heinrich said. “So if you are among the 20% of our population currently eligible for boosters but have not gotten them, now is the time to get up to date.”

PHMDC said people can get their initial series, first booster or second boosters at clinics, mobile clinics, local pharmacies and health care providers.

The agency also added three considerations for people as we move into medium levels of community transmission.

  • Those who are immunocompromised or at high risk of getting COVID-19 should discuss wearing a mask in public with their doctor.
  • Those who live with someone or connect with people who are high risk should consider using a mask indoors or taking an at-home test.
  • Those who have symptoms or were exposed to the virus should get tested.

People who received their COVID-19 vaccine booster four months ago can get a second booster if:

  • They’re 50 years or older
  • 18 years old and immunocompromised

Per Heinrich and Waunakee Hometown Pharmacy pharmacist Heather Walker, people cannot schedule a second booster appointment sooner than four months after their initial booster.

“We get a lot of people asking questions,” Walker said. “We have people scheduling appointments but they’re not 50 yet so we have to cancel those.”

Walker recommends a second booster for immunocompromised individuals to bump up their immunity.

”Certainly if you’re traveling and you’re going to be among a whole bunch of people it might not be a bad idea to get a booster just so you have a little higher antibody level during the time you’re traveling,” Walker said.

People can book vaccine appointments through PHMDC at their website here.

Waunakee Hometown Pharmacy asks that people book vaccine appointments by calling (608) 850-9314. People need to bring their health insurance and vaccine record cards when receiving a booster shot.

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