The U.S. government is once again offering free Covid-19 tests and approved a new vaccine this month for the latest Omicron variant.
The free tests, up to four a home, will be available to order online from Sept. 25. The new vaccine, approved by the FDA on Sept. 11, is now available in some pharmacies in Wisconsin.
The City of Milwaukee Health Department expects to receive its first shipments, free for the public, later this month.
"Right now, I'm day eight after my recent Covid diagnosis. And even though I'm young and healthy, it still laid me up a couple days this weekend," said Jessica Lenaghan, a family doctor with Ascension Medical Group.
Lenaghan, who works out of a clinic downtown, recommends everyone six months or older get the updated vaccine. She said Ascension clinics expect the new vaccine soon.
"It's still an evolving virus. And our vaccines are still highly effective at preventing severe symptoms, hospitalization and death," said Lenaghan.
Nationwide, hospitalization and death from Covid-19 have fallen significantly since the peak of the pandemic. However, the CDC reports hospitalizations have increased 7% nationwide and deaths 4% just in the last week.
In Milwaukee County, data shows Covid-19 tests have doubled since July through late September, with positive tests doubling as well.
Hospitalizations in that same time have nearly tripled to 30 in the County, according to County data.
Both the County and City are now looking more to wastewater for an accurate measure of Covid-19 in the area. According to the City, measurements are now high compared to the last six months.
"This fall season is really the time to make sure you get yourself and your family protected for those seasonable vaccine preventable diseases. I'm thinking flu, Covid. The RSV vaccine is also new this season," said Kayla Hensley, Division Health Leader in Wisconsin with Kroger Health.
Hensley said pharmacies at Wisconsin Pick 'n Save and Metro Market stores have started to receive the updated vaccine.
"Come in and talk with our pharmacy teams. They're capable of researching what programs may be available to them and what their insurance coverage is if they have insurance coverage," said Hensley.