CHIPPEWA FALLS — The number of people vaccinated in Chippewa County in the past week declined slightly, as the supply of doses supplied to the county was lower than expected.

Chippewa County Public Health Director Angela Weideman said Wednesday the county only received about 60% of the doses that were requested, including just 40% of what was requested for first-time doses. The vaccines that have been authorized to combat COVID-19 require two shots.

“Please be patient as the demand is greater than the supply,” Weideman said.

Overall, 2,440 doses were administered in the past week, down from 2,666 a week ago. A total of 9,652 doses have been given: 7,755 first shots, along with 948 second, booster doses.

Because so few doses were delivered this week, the Public Health Department won’t have further clinics this week.

“The clinics filled up fast,” she said. “We are hopeful we will be offered more next week.”

Weideman said they separate out the doses needed for second, booster shots when their vaccines arrive. Thus, they’ve not had a situation where someone was unable to get their second dose as scheduled, three or four weeks after their first dose, based on which vaccine they received.

Workers who are considered “1A,” such as medical workers, long-term care providers, law enforcement and firefighters have all been offered their first dose. Weideman said some who originally passed on getting it have now opted to take the vaccine.

In January, Weideman said the goal was for teachers to begin receiving their vaccinations in mid-February. However, she announced Wednesday that most teachers have been pushed back to March 1.

In general, people should be receiving their second doses at the same location they received their first shot. However, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital has moved its vaccination site from the hospital to Jacob’s Well Church in Lake Hallie.

“It is still the same entity running the site,” she said.

Cases, hospitalizations continue in right direction

Chippewa County, like Wisconsin and much of the country, has seen a sharp decline in new cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.

Weideman announced that 86 people tested positive for the virus in the past week out of 441 tests given, for a 19.3% positivity rate. Those numbers are down from last week, when 141 people tested positive out of 518 tests given, for a 27% positivity rate. The county reported four more deaths from the virus in the past week, including one Wednesday, bringing the total to 87.

Only two Chippewa County residents are now hospitalized from COVID-19-related symptoms, the same as last week, and down signficantly from the all-time high of 25. Overall, 74% of hospital beds are in use in the northwest region of Wisconsin, identical to last week. However, 91% of ICU beds are in use in the region, up significantly from 83% last week. Weideman said it shows that some COVID-19 patients from outside the region are likely being brought to area hospitals for care.

The county remains at a “high risk” level, with a recommendation that gatherings be limited to 15 indoors and 50 outdoors. While the case count continues to go down, Weideman urged the public to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing measures while the vaccine process proceeds.

During the press conference Wednesday, County Administrator Randy Scholz reiterated that the courthouse doors will reopen on Monday. Scholz urged people to use drop boxes whenever possible, and he reminded those who have court dates to double-check them before coming to the building.