Molly Bonjean at city hall

EagleHerald/Dan Kitkowski

Marinette County Public Health Officer Molly Bonjean, lower right), appeared via Zoom Tuesday at a meeting at Marinette City Hall. Above right is Mayor Steve Genisot and lower left is alderman Doug Oitzinger. 

EagleHerald Editor

MARINETTE—Marinette County Public Health Officer Molly Bonjean made the rounds early this week talking about vaccinations.

Following Monday’s visit with Gov. Tony Evers and health and education leaders Monday at the UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus, she addressed the Marinette County Board on Tuesday morning and conducted a community health update for City of Marinette department heads and common council members at Marinette City Hall Tuesday afternoon. Three alderpersons were in attendance.

Bonjean spoke to the county board, while Prevea President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai appeared via Zoom video. They shared much of the same information that came from Monday’s tour of the new Prevea COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in the Max E. Peterson Field House at UW-Green Bay, Marinette Campus (see related story). They also took questions from supervisors.

Bonjean reiterated that Marinette County is hoping to receive between 1,400 and 1,500 doses per week and they come from either Pfizer or Moderna. “We are happy to take whatever we can get,” she said.

Supervisor Al Sauld, of Niagara, mentioned an 85-year-old constituent who was hoping to get on a waiting list but was told there is no list.

“If that’s true, why don’t you have a waiting list,” Sauld asked.

“Prevea and Public Health do not entertain waiting lists,” Bonjean said. “We have no plans to do so as they become quickly unmanageable.”

She said they learned firsthand about two years ago when Public Health took waiting lists for people to receive the shingles vaccine.

“That was small compared to this and it became quickly unmanageable,” Bonjean said. “We want this to be a smooth process.”

She said they are telling people to keep going online, noting that Prevea runs its weeks from Wednesday through Tuesday. That way they know how many doses they will have on hand, she explained.

“Shipments usually come Monday and Tuesday,” Bonjean said. “We keep telling everyone to check back because every week more appointments will be made available.”

Supervisor Don Pazynski asked why when registering at MyPrevea, they ask for your social security number.

“The question to me (from a constituent) was ‘why (my) social security number’ when we are encouraged to guard that number and protect it from hackers and so forth,” he asked.

Rai stated that people can enter all 9s in the social security area and it will bypass that request. He said if people still have trouble they can call Prevea toll free at 1-833-344-4373.

Responding to a question about COVID-19 testing, Bonjean said testing has opened up more and that information on testing sites is available at the Public Health website. Go to MarinetteCounty.com and follow the dropdowns from Departments, Health and Human Services, Public Health.

Later Tuesday, Bonjean appeared via Zoom video for the city meeting. She began by rattling off statistics with a key figure being that Marinette County is averaging just three positive tests per day for the past seven days. As of about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, there were no reported positive cases for that day, she said, adding that last month at this time, the county was averaging 14 new cases per day.

“We certainly are not out of the woods,” Bonjean said. “We know those numbers will probably go back up. We have additional holidays around the corner. We have spring break. We have Easter. Of course we want people to remain vigilant and continue do all the things we have been doing. I know we are all getting tired of it, but it’s important now more than ever if we want to get out of this.”

Bonjean also told the group about the vaccine clinic and vaccination efforts (see related story). She said about 13% of county residents, or about 5,400 people, have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about 4% percent of county residents, or just under 2,000 people, have received two doses.

“We definitely have a long way to go, but we are definitely pickup up speed here,” she said. “The CDC’s goal is to get 80% of folks vaccinated.”

Bonjean noted that Prevea is just one source of people getting the vaccine. She said other healthcare systems and pharmacies have been instrumental in the effort.

“It’s going to take all of us to do this,” she said. “We are thankful for everyone doing their part.”