Evers, health officials visit Ashland on "Thank You Tour" | www.WDIO.com

Evers, health officials visit Ashland on "Thank You Tour"

Updated: May 31, 2022 10:14 PM
Created: May 31, 2022 09:01 PM

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) and his top health officials embarked on a "Thank You Tour" of northern Wisconsin Tuesday. 

They visited Ashland in the afternoon, speaking to a small crowd of health care workers in the Ashland High School Field House. 

"We're here to thank people. That's the bottom line," Evers told them. 

He also announced $22 million in funding for emergency first responders, which he said will include permanent drive-through immunization and testing sites, fire station construction, and expansion of emergency medical services programs. 

"It's been an extraordinary two years, especially for people at the local level, whether you're in public health, whether you're a teacher in a school district, doesn't make any difference," Gov. Evers said. "It's been a tough two years, and the people that are here with us today, they've been saving lives. They're heroes."

The theme of the tour was "Moving Forward Together," but health leaders took the opportunity to reflect on the past two years. 

"We have gone through so much together. Whether you're in health care, hospitals, nursing homes, doctor's offices, clinics, dental offices, public health, Red Cliff, Bad River tribal community centers, we have been through so much," Bayfield County Health Officer Sara Wartman said. 

She said there would have been many more deaths associated with COVID-19 were it not for the partnerships and vaccination efforts. Wartman said when things got tough and comments turned negative, consistent support helped them continue on. 

"Occasionally, our office would get a box of cheese from Benoit Cheese Factory or some flowers sent or even just chocolate, like just sugary chocolate, and just a mental health little needed trinket," she said. "And that support from our community really helped us stay inspired."

Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake said local partnerships are what will propel Wisconsin forward as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

"I think what we know is that COVID is going to be with us for some time to come," she said, "but the good news is we have the tools to keep it at bay. So we still have lots of vaccines that we need people to get, we have testing available, we have new therapeutics, we have even preventive drugs for people who are immunocompromised."

To check the latest Wisconsin COVID-19 data, click here

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