Ahead of the holiday weekend, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) encourages Wisconsinites to keep doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated and continuing to follow public health practices are critical to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 4th of July looked a lot different last year. This year, we have reduced infection rates, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, our businesses are bouncing back, and we’re a national leader in getting shots in arms, including half of Wisconsinites receiving one dose of the vaccine,” said Gov. Tony Evers in a Department of Health Services news release. “We have a lot to be proud of, but our continued economic recovery depends on making sure folks get the COVID-19 vaccine, so if you haven’t already, roll up your sleeves and find a shot near you."

For anyone 12 and older, there are many ways to get vaccinated against COVID-19 including at pop-up clinics, pharmacies, or through your health care provider. To find a nearby vaccine provider, call 211 or visit the DHS COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.

Since December of 2020, nearly 3 million Wisconsinites have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; however, there are still populations that are unable to get vaccinated. This includes children ages 11 and younger and certain immunocompromised people.

“The COVID-19 vaccine has been a game-changer. However, vaccines alone will not bring us to the end of this pandemic,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “We also have to stop the spread of the virus now, so it does not continue to mutate. With half of our population not yet vaccinated, the use of mitigation strategies such as getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, staying home, and keeping your distance from others when you are sick will help bring us to the finish-line.”

DHS is providing COVID-19 testing support services to help reduce outbreaks in higher-risk settings such as schools, child care centers, camps, and shelters or congregate-living facilities. However, with unusually high rates of seasonal respiratory viruses circulating across the nation, public health experts also recommend that anyone experiencing symptoms—including those fully vaccinated—get tested for COVID-19. To find a testing site, request an at-home collection kit, or to learn about testing support services, visit the DHS COVID-19 Testing webpage.

DHS also urges everyone to travel with a mask. Certain places such as health care centers, public transit, and some local businesses may still require masks. For those not vaccinated, mask-use in public spaces, physical distancing from others, and washing hands will help prevent infection. For those who are fully vaccinated, mask-use will help protect vulnerable populations and can prevent other illnesses from spreading.

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