WHA CMO Provides COVID Update to Statewide Business Group
Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) Chief Medical Officer Chris Green, M.D., provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce members this week, discussing the impact of the virus’s late-2020 surge on the state’s hospitals and reflecting on progress the state has made on vaccinating its residents.
While noting progress in Wisconsin in reducing COVID spread and significantly decreasing hospitalizations resulting from the virus, Green highlighted the potential threats of variant strains that may come to dominate new cases in the coming months. Because of the increased infectiousness of these strains and while we continue our vaccination campaign, it is important to continue mitigation practices, including wearing masks, hand hygiene and social distancing, Green said.
Green noted that pandemic-related restrictions would be lifted gradually as more and more people are vaccinated. This trend would apply to businesses as well, with the Centers for Disease Control likely to provide guidance to manufacturers and others about relaxing protective business practices in the weeks and months to come. “It will happen when infections are under control,” he said, adding, “It will be a gradual process.” The changes need to be made gradually to prevent a new virus surge and allow for a coordinated response at the first sign of an upward trend.
Businesses, Green noted, can play an important role in the state’s vaccination strategy by encouraging employees to be vaccinated and continuing to observe safe behaviors within their facilities.
Asked for his general sense of where things are headed in terms of COVID-19, Green responded, “I am optimistic, particularly as our vaccination rate goes up, that we are going to reach herd immunity and suppress COVID.”
This story originally appeared in the March 11, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter