COVID-19 Resources

At Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, member health and safety comes first. For vaccine help for questions, Wisconsin residents can call the COVID-19 vaccine assistance hotline at 844-684-1064.

COVID-19 Information from WI’s Department of Health Services

Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Update from our Chief Medical Officer, Scott Anderson, MD

Dear Members,
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Good news! In April, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s Chief Medical Adviser, told PBS NewsHour that the United States is “out of the pandemic phase.” Nearly 60 percent of people in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19. And even though COVID-19 disease activity is on the rise, a surge of hospitalizations is not expected.

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This doesn’t mean we can let our guard down completely. We just need to be smart about this very dangerous virus.  For people over age 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a second COVID-19 booster dose of the vaccine. This extra dose will help protect those who are at higher risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Emerging evidence suggests that a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) improves protection against severe COVID-19 and is not associated with new safety concerns.
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Data shows that two subvariants of Omicron are circulating in the U.S. and causing the increased infection rate. Here are a few things to know about Omicron:

  • Omicron spreads more easily than the Delta variant. When the virus spreads, it has a chance to mutate. These changes are how new variants develop, making it harder to stop the virus.
  • Omicron is also able to evade immune system response better than the Delta variant. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you could still get COVID-19.
  • Omicron targets upper airways, which can be a cause for concern in children. Their airways are smaller, potentially making upper respiratory illness worse.

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Most likely, COVID-19 will not go away. As an endemic viral illness, it will likely occur regularly every year, just like the flu. Taking steps to protect your health, and the health of the people around you, is very important. To familiarize yourself with the current CDC recommendations, please click here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

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Vaccines are free, safe, and highly effective. COVID-19 vaccines protect people by producing immunity. Millions of people in the United States have safely received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. If you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we strongly encourage you to find your nearest vaccination site here: https://vaccinefinder.org/search/.

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Getting vaccinated is an important tool to building immunity to COVID-19. 
The FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for distribution in the United States. All have met FDA safety and effectiveness standards.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) – now marketed as Comirnaty®
    • Full approval received from FDA for use in people ages 16 years and older.
    • Emergency authorization for use in children ages 5 years through 15 years old.
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273) – now marketed as Spikevax®
    • Full approval received from FDA for use in people ages 18 and older.
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ-78436735) – now marketed as Janssen®
    • Currently available for those aged 18 and older.
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To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines, including answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), please visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

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Thanks for doing your part to help fight against COVID-19. As always, if you have specific questions about how your own health history may potentially affect your vaccination status, please contact your health care provider.

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Stay safe and healthy,

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Scott Anderson, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer, CGHC

General COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Anderson

(See full PDF FAQs here)

Why is Omicron such a big deal?

The Omicron B.1.1.529 variant has many mutations, some of which are quite concerning. Clinical evidence has shown that Omicron is more transmissible (highly contagious) and able to reinfect, compared to other variants of concern (VOCs). As of January 12, 2022, the CDC estimated the Omicron variant accounted for 98.3 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the United States. Sub-variants of Omicron continue to emerge, which has the potential to further its spread. Please see the CDC COVID-19 Website for the most recent information about variants of the virus.

Isn’t the spread of COVID-19 limited to big cities like Milwaukee and Green Bay?

Not necessarily. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported on March 7, 2022, that COVID-19 transmission levels in Green Bay and Milwaukee are consistent with surrounding counties. Thanks to the high levels of vaccination and population immunity, the risk of severe hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 is greatly reduced. Please go to the WI DHS COVID-19 Website for the most up-to-date information about the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

What is the impact of Omicron on children?

The Omicron variant is not always mild in children. We are seeing worsening respiratory illness in young children. This includes tracheobronchitis and bronchiolitis reminiscent of croup. Parents often think of “croupy cough” as a lower airway disease, but it’s not. With Omicron, the upper airways are impacted. This can be a problem for young children whose airways are smaller. Younger children who are unvaccinated are most at risk for developing COVID-induced upper airway inflammation. In rare cases, complete airway obstruction can occur. This may require urgent, definitive airway management. Some children require hospital admission, supplemental oxygen, and even ventilatory support. Learn about keeping kids healthy on the WI DHS COVID-19 Website.

Will the booster be required for me to be considered fully vaccinated?

Currently, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after:

  • Two doses of the Pfizer® and Moderna® vaccines -or-
  • One dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen® vaccine.

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However, the definition of fully vaccinated could change. “Optimal vaccination” (i.e., providing the greatest protection) does include booster immunizations in most age groups. Please see the CDC COVID-19 Website for more information about COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters.

How much risk is there if I don’t get fully vaccinated?

Vaccinations provide the greatest protection against COVID-19 and its most serious symptoms. According to Wisconsin DHS data (from December 2021), people not fully vaccinated are:

  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 at a rate 3x higher than fully vaccinated people
  • Hospitalized with COVID-19 at a rate 10x higher than fully vaccinated people
  • Dying from COVID-19 at a rate 14x higher than people who were fully vaccinated

Can pregnant or lactating females receive COVID-19 Vaccines?

Yes, to both. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people who are pregnant or lactating. Approval by a healthcare professional is not required before receiving the vaccination, according to the CDC. However, if you are concerned about the use of a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or lactating, a discussion with your clinical provider team may help in deciding.

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Increased risks for severe illness exist for pregnant and recently pregnant people (for at least 42 days following the end of pregnancy) with COVID-19, when compared with non-pregnant people. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for preterm birth, stillbirth, and other pregnancy complications. For these reasons, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people who are pregnant. Please visit the FDA Website and CDC COVID-19 Website for more information.

Can you get a COVID-19 primary vaccination or booster, and a flu shot at the same time?

Yes. Getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time is safe. Clinical studies and real-world experience have proven that you can receive both at the same time. Please visit the FDA Website for the most up-to-date information.

I have already had COVID-19 and am not vaccinated. Will my natural immunity protect me from getting COVID-19 again, just like with other viral illnesses?

Probably not. Studies have determined that immunity from having a COVID-19 infection drops rather quickly. Unvaccinated people may still get very sick and could actually die of a repeat COVID-19 infection. Even people who were quite ill with COVID-19 are at risk for being infected with one of the variants of concern. We saw this happen during the Delta surge in the fall of 2021. Reinfection primarily occurs because new variants are genetically different to prior variants due to mutations. For example, Omicron has over thirty (30) different mutations, which makes Omicron incredibly contagious and very risky for unvaccinated individuals.

For information about Over-The-Counter At-Home COVID-19 tests, please use the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource, link below. If you purchase At-Home COVID-19 tests for you or your covered family members, please use the online form through OptumRx to submit your claim for reimbursement. Any other questions about coverage for at-home COVID-19 tests will be answered in our FAQ.

CGHC Promo Video