MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin will open its first community vaccination clinic next week, Gov. Tony Evers announced Monday in another sign that the state's delivery efforts are improving after weeks of struggling to get people inoculated against the coronavirus.
Evers said his administration will work with AMI Expeditionary Healthcare to open the first community site on Feb. 16 in Rock County. His office did not provide an exact location, but it said the facility will be able to vaccinate up to 250 people per day, with a goal of ramping that up to 1,000 per day.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said the agency expects to release more details about the location of the Rock County site in the coming days.
The state and AMI plan to open up to 10 such centers around the state as needed and vaccine supplies allow, the governor said.
AMI will provide staffing, logistics and site management, and equipment for the first three centers, Goodsitt said. The state will pay the organization only for costs, up to $17.7 million for the first three sites. A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will cover 100% of the costs, she said.
The state will release details of funding for the additional centers as their sites become known, Goodsitt said.
AMI spokeswoman Chrissy Sinatra said she did not have any details about the Wisconsin plan immediately available and would have to confirm details.
Based in Reston, Virginia, AMI provides medical services such as aid posts and mobile clinics in remote areas around the world. The organization struck a $14.2 million contract with Bucks County, Pennsylvania, earlier this month to run up to six vaccine centers there.
Meanwhile on Monday, the Iowa County Health Department and Lands' End opened a vaccination clinic at the clothing maker's Dodgeville headquarters the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The clinic will follow the state's phase protocols. It plans to initially vaccinate 160 people every four hours and eventually to be able to accommodate up to 1,600 people over eight hours, the company said.
The community centers are another bit of good news for people desperately awaiting shots. Evers' administration has been struggling to deliver doses since vaccinations began in December. The state ranked 29th in the percentage of population that had gotten at least one shot as recently as Feb. 2, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Sunday, the state had risen to 10th in the country, with 10% of the population inoculated at least once. The national rate for a single dose was 9.5% as of Sunday.
A downward trend in state COVID-19 cases that began in mid-January continued Monday, with the state health department confirming 543 new cases and one new death. That pushed the state's pandemic totals to 550,369 cases and 6,055 deaths.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Reston, which had been misspelled "Ruston."
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