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State's first community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinic to be in Rock County
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State's first community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinic to be in Rock County

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Nursing home nurse gets COVID-19 vaccine (copy) (copy) (copy)

Carla Durst, a nurse at New Glarus Home, gets a COVID-19 shot Dec. 28, the first day staff and residents at some of Wisconsin's nursing homes were able to be immunized against the coronavirus. "It's a very big day," said Patty Emberson, the facility's director of nursing.

The state's first community-based COVID-19 vaccination clinic will start in Rock County Feb. 16, Gov. Tony Evers said Monday.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin has administered 767,020 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 165,370 people fully immunized with two doses, according to the state health department. As of Monday morning, it ranked 10th among states in the percentage of people who have received at least one dose, up from ranking near the bottom last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AMI Expeditionary Healthcare will run the clinic in Rock County, with six to 10 more sites to open across the state as needed, Evers said. AMI, through a partnership with the state Department of Health Services, will work closely with the Wisconsin National Guard, Wisconsin Emergency Management and local public health partners to expand vaccine coverage across the state, Evers said.

The Rock County site, for which a location was not disclosed, will start by vaccinating up to 250 individuals daily. If Wisconsin’s vaccine allocations increase, the clinic’s goal is to provide up to 1,000 vaccinations per day. 

"We expect to be able to share detailed information about the location with you in the coming days," Elizabeth Goodsitt, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said in an email.

The state health department plans to add community sites as needed and when more vaccine is available.

“This partnership with AMI is going to help us take another step in the right direction,” Evers said in a statement. “Our top priority is to get folks vaccinated and to continue to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe, and that’s going to take a team effort not only with partners like AMI, but with every Wisconsinite practicing social distancing and wearing masks and doing their part to help prevent the spread in the meantime.”

Reston, Virginia-based AMI is a doctor-owned and doctor-led company that specializes in delivering care in remote, challenging and under-resourced environments.

A vaccination clinic by Lands' End and the Iowa County Health Department was starting Monday, at the Comer Center at Lands' End headquarters in Dodgeville. The clinic, to be open "for the foreseeable future," will initially vaccinate 160 people over a four-hour period and can eventually accommodate up to 1,600 people over eight hours, Lands' End said.

In Dane County, 83,792 doses have been given to 62,505 people, according to Public Health Madison and Dane County, which on Thursday is holding a COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Town Hall.

UW Health has given 17,462 first doses and 10,105 second doses, according its new dashboard. UW Health, along with SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital and UnityPoint Health-Meriter, are scheduling patients 65 and older for immunizations.

Wisconsin has reported a single case of one of the new variants of COVID-19, which have caused concern because they appear to spread more easily and vaccines may be less effective against them. The case, reported in Eau Claire County last month, was of the B117 variant that emerged late last year in England.

Less than 1% of samples statewide undergo the whole genome sequencing required to identify such variants, which include one first seen in South Africa. But about 5% of samples in Dane County have undergone such sequencing, with no variants identified yet, according to UW-Madison scientists.

"And the fact that we haven't means that if these viruses are here, they're here in low enough levels that we don't have to worry too much — yet," UW-Madison researcher David O'Connor said in a statement.

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