MARINETTE — Marinette’s Health and Human Services gave an update on COVID-19 at their monthly meeting.

At the Wednesday meeting, they addressed COVID-19, the coming flu season and vaccinations.

The main focus of the meeting was the continued monitoring of COVID-19 cases in Marinette County. Health Officer Molly Bonjean gave several updates on the county’s virus situation and how it has changed over the past month.

“Statewide COVID infections are at 83,334 positive cases, and for Marinette County, we have 643 positive cases,” said Bonjean. “I went back to last month’s reports to compare where we were last month at this time to now. Last month we were at 342 cases and now we are up to 643, so we’ve almost doubled in the past month.”

“Of all of our positive cases, 88% have recovered, 11% are still active. The virus activity level for Marinette County remains high,” Bonjean said.

Bonjean also announced that the Wisconsin Department of Public Health has added a new metric to measure COVID-19 based on the age ranges of those infected. “Current data shows that those in the 18-34 age range have more confirmed cases, and that is true in Marinette County. Between 20-29-year-olds were our highest category, with 18% of our cases, followed by a very close second, which was 17.9%, is 50-59-year-old age group. To date we’ve had seven deaths due to COVID,” Bonjean reported.

Shifting gears, Bonjean also emphasized the need for a strong push by Health and Human Services for flu vaccines this flu season.

“State health officials today are urging citizens to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible. While flu vaccines are always important, but right now reducing hospitalizations and illness from flu is critical this year, to protect our front line health care workers and hospital systems who will continue to care for people with COVID,” Bonjean said.

Right now, Health and Human Services are considering several methods to help boost flu vaccinations throughout the community. They are considering doing free vaccines for kids through the school districts, but this may not be possible due to their limited resources at the moment. They are also considering a drive-through vaccination station, this would help to minimize contact, while also vaccinating many people very quickly.

Vaccines for both children and adults over 65 are currently available from Health and Human Services, but they have not yet received their vaccines for adults. “We have been starting to schedule appointments for vaccines, but we have limited availability so we are only scheduling appointments for Tuesday and Thursday. The message is just, everyone get your flu vaccine this year,” said Bonjean.

Finally, Health and Human Services Director Robin Elsner informed the committee of several updates from the services other programs. He provided updates on Share Academy, a group home run by the county, and how, currently, seven out of eight beds are full, with the eighth reserved for temporary mental health patients.

Elsner also reminded the board that September is suicide prevention month in Wisconsin. He emphasized that suicide is something that is treatable and if people know anyone experiencing depression or suicidal ideation, they should seek treatment immediately.