MILWAUKEE - The rising prevalence of COVID-19 omicron variant cases, including one in Milwaukee County, has furthered health officials' push for vaccinations.
A vaccine clinic, held at Fiserv Forum on Saturday, Dec. 4, offered people a chance to get the shot and see the Larry O'Brien championship trophy in person.
"Everyone please get vaccinated so we can get this under control and enjoy the holidays," said Debra Dinsmore. "I came to a game, but I didn’t get the chance to see the trophy, so I’m excited"
Dinsmore was one of dozens who showed up at the Saturday clinic – held one day after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed the omicron cases linked to the Milwaukee County gathering.
"It's in the United States, we’ve known that since last week. It was just a matter of time," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said of the variant's spread.
Fiserv Forum vaccine clinic on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Johnson said, while there are many unknowns with the variant, the health department's message to the public remains the same.
"Please get vaccinated. It's great to see families out getting first and second doses for their kiddos," said Johnson. "Get your booster. If you haven’t been boosted, and if you’re not feeling well, please stay home."
As for the holiday season, Johnson said don't live in fear – just be cautious.
"I don’t think this is a time for alarm or panic," Johnson said. "Research is being done right now. Knowing we have a situation in Milwaukee County is actually a great way to learn in terms of how its spreading, who it's spreading to and how severe the symptoms are to those who are vaccinated or not."
The Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory, as well as additional labs across the state, have the ability to identify the omicron variant in positive specimens. The Northwest Health Center, Southside Health Center, and Menomonee Valley Site offer drive-thru and walk-up testing without an appointment for anyone over the age of one. The locations and hours of these sites can be found on the city's website.