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DHS: Be optimistic, but pandemic not over yet

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WISCONSIN (WQOW) - As mask requirements loosen, COVID-19 cases go down and vaccinations rise, where is Wisconsin at with the progress of our pandemic response?

Chief Medical Officer with the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, said that in Wisconsin, we are more than halfway to our goal of vaccinating 80% of eligible residents.

Cases of the virus are also less than they were at this time last year, meaning it's fair to be optimistic about where we are at and going with the pandemic. But Westergaard said we are not yet at a high enough level of vaccines to have reached herd immunity and that if people relax too much on precautions such as large indoor gatherings, we could see outbreaks.

"We've made a lot of good progress, we have levels of protection, meaning immune protection from vaccine and natural infection, and they're higher than we've ever had, so we should be proud of our response in many ways," Westergaard said, "But we should also be honest with ourselves that the pandemic is not over."

Health officials said Wisconsinites need to continue to be vigilant in doing what we can to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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Felicity Bosk

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