A group of Dane County health organizations is asking the public to take care over the holidays to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19.
“Despite recent positive news about vaccine development, the general public is unlikely to receive vaccines until Spring of 2021 at the earliest,” the healthcare organizations, including SSM Health, UW Health, Public Health Madison & Dane County said in a joint statement.
The group asked people to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Wisconsin Department of Health Services websites for answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccine, instead of tying up phone lines to healthcare providers with these questions.
“Recommendations on how the early vaccine dosages are distributed will be developed at the federal level, and the first phase of vaccine distribution is expected to focus on frontline healthcare workers in patient service with the highest risk of exposure,” the statement continued.
People should not count on a vaccine to protect them this winter, the healthcare providers said in their message.
“Because a COVID-19 vaccine is not likely to be available for the public until Spring 2021 or later, it is imperative that the public continue to follow safety measures, especially as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid further strain on local hospitals.”
Among the preventive measures the health department recommended are:
- Don’t gather in the presence of those outside your immediate household, and if you must, wear a mask and 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.
- If you have symptoms stay home.
The Dane County healthcare organizations who supported the public health message are:
- Access Community Health Centers
- Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin
- Public Health Madison & Dane County
- SSM Health
- Stoughton Health
- UnityPoint Health ‒ Meriter
- UW Health