SUBSCRIBE NOW Just 99¢ for your first month



Vaccinated people can return to many mask-free activities in Douglas County

Douglas County Public Health Officer releases recommendation, based on updated state, federal guidance.

File: COVID-19 vaccine clinic.jpg
AMI Expeditionary Healthcare’s vaccination clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Superior opened Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Jed Carlson /
We are part of The Trust Project.

Two shots add up to no mask. Fully vaccinated people can resume mask-free activities in Douglas County, according to a May 18 news release from Douglas County Health Officer Kathy Ronchi.

The recommendation is based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the state Department of Health Services. Fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, both indoors and outdoors, without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations. Private businesses, schools and workplaces may have their own policies that need to be followed, Ronchi said.

There are exceptions to the new guidelines. People should continue to use masks in health care settings, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and on buses, trains and planes, Ronchi said. People who are not fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and physically distance in public. People with weakened immune systems should consult their health care provider.

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, they should still get tested for the virus if they experience any symptoms. Fully vaccinated people should not visit private or public settings if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing symptoms of the virus.

In the past year, more than 4,000 people in Douglas County tested positive for COVID-19, 150 people were hospitalized with the virus, and 39 have died. Thousands were quarantined as a result of being exposed to the disease.


As of May 17, nearly 48% of Douglas County residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the department of health services ; only 17,712, or 41% of the population, have completed the two-dose vaccine series. A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if it has been two or more weeks since they received the last dose of vaccine, which allows time for immunity to develop.

COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available in Douglas County. The Community Clinic at the Wessman Arena is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. No appointment is necessary. The clinic serves people 12 years and older. Information about other local vaccine clinics can be found online at .

What to read next
Free batteries can be picked up through Friday at St. Luke's Ear, Nose and Throat Associates or any St. Luke's primary care clinic, while supplies last.
A small county in Tennessee for much of the past year has reported the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Tennessee and one of the highest in the South. If only it were true. The rate in Meigs County was artificially inflated by a data error that distorted most of Tennessee’s county-level vaccination rates by attributing tens of thousands of doses to the wrong counties, according to a KHN review of Tennessee’s vaccination data. When the Tennessee Department of Health quietly corrected the error last month, county rates shifted overnight, and Meigs County’s rate of fully vaccinated people dropped from 65% to 43%, which is below the state average and middling in the rural South.
The key is to continually remind children and teens that they are cared for, and to help them get back into the structure and familiar activities that give them a feeling of accomplishment. That's the advice of two experts from Mayo Clinic.
"Minding Our Elders" columnist Carol Bradley Bursack says there are times when a decision has to be made on behalf of a family member.