Laboratory technicians Justin Lange, left, and Akanksh Shetty observe social distancing while creating viral transport media at the University of Illinois. The fluid is used to preserve patient test samples for COVID-19. Courtesy of Ann Hyoung Sook/University of Illinois

By Shereen Siewert

Marathon County health officials on Wednesday released their first vaccine availability status report, which shows that 5,963 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given to county residents as of Jan. 19.

The reports, issued by Public Information Officer Judy Burrows, will be issued weekly to reflect the status of vaccine delivery in the area.

Marathon County is transitioning into the next phase of vaccine delivery, which means EMS, firefighters and police began receiving doses this week. Adults age 65 and older are in the next group and will be eligible beginning Jan. 25.

The Marathon County Health Department does not issue the vaccines, which are instead delivered through health care providers including the Marshfield Clinic and Aspirus. Residents who are eligible should contact their health care provider to schedule an appointment.

State health officials have not yet finalized who is deemed an “essential worker,” though those determinations are ongoing. Each state uses a unique formula and plan to distribute vaccine received from the federal government. Those vaccines are then allocated to health systems and pharmacies that provide the vaccines to residents.

As of Jan. 20, Marathon County has confirmed 12,970 cases of COVID-19, with 197 deaths. Of those infected, 11,727 have recovered, according to DHS data.