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COVID-19 FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions 

 

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  For Individuals

Are masks required in the City of Milwaukee?

As of June 1, 2021, the mask ordinance in the City of Milwaukee is no longer in effect. The Milwaukee Health Department, following CDC guidance, issued a mask advisory on July 29 for all people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in pubic, indoor settings. 

 

What does “fully vaccinated” mean?

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.

For more information about the vaccine and clinic locations, visit Milwaukee.gov/CovidVax

 

Can a business require me to prove my vaccination status?

Yes, legally a business can ask customers if they have been vaccinated. This is not a HIPAA violation. Customers can choose whether or not to disclose their vaccination status, but are subject to a business refusing service if they required proof of vaccination.

 

I have been exposed to COVID-19. Do I need to test and quarantine?

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, who has come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be tested 3-5 days after exposure. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • You should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:
  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
  • You have completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
  • You received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.

You do not need to quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:

  • You are ages 12 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
  • You are ages 5-11 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (you tested positive using a viral test).

 

I need to quarantine. What does that mean?

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.
  • For 10 days after your last close contact with someone with COVID-19, watch for fever (100.4◦F or greater), cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms.
    • If you develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results. If you test positive, follow isolation recommendations.
    • If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.

More details from the CDC about quarantining.

 

I tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

If you have received a positive PCR or rapid antigen test, you should isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved or if you were asymptomatic and continue to have no symptoms.

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 total days.

More details from the CDC about isolating.

 

I’m vaccinated. Can I spread COVID-19 to my unvaccinated kids?

We are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Emerging data show that vaccines help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19. We know that people who don’t have COVID-19 can’t spread COVID-19. As of May 17 in Wisconsin, only 0.045% of vaccinated people tested positive for COVID-19 (these are called breakthrough infections). As a vaccinated person, to spread the virus, you’d need to be one of those 0.045% of people and you’d need to have a viral load high enough to transmit the virus. The odds of you spreading the virus are exceedingly small. Additionally, with low levels of virus circulating in our highly vaccinated community, the likelihood of encountering COVID-19 decreases every day.

(source: Public Health Madison & Dane County)

 

How can I keep my unvaccinated kids safe?

Get vaccinated yourself.

The most important thing you can do to protect your kids is ensure you and any eligible people in the house are vaccinated. Encourage the people in your kids’ lives, such as coaches, teachers, and family friends, to also get vaccinated. This helps form a circle of protection around your kids who are not yet able to get vaccinated. Get your kids vaccinated as soon as their age group is eligible.

Align your behaviors with your comfort with risks.

Many businesses are continuing to offer options that became popular in the past year, including curbside pickup, delivery, and online ordering. Continue to make use of these options if you aren’t comfortable bringing your child into an indoor public space.

CDC outlines certain activities by risk level. For example, it’s safer for an unvaccinated kid to have a playdate outside than to dine indoors at a busy restaurant. Determine what you’re comfortable with and adjust your behavior accordingly.

Have kids ages 2 and older mask up in indoor public spaces.

Per CDC guidance, we recommend any unvaccinated person ages 2 and older wear a mask when in indoor public spaces.

Ask organizers about your kid’s activities.

If your child participates in youth activities, such as music lessons or after school camps, ask them about their policies following the expiration of the health order on June 1. We recommend that these youth activities follow CDC guidance, which at this time recommend groups of youth continue to wear masks.

Get tested if you or your kids have symptoms.

There are tons of options for getting tested in Milwaukee. Free COVID-19 tests are available for anyone, regardless of symptoms, for drive-thru or walk-up without an appointment.

(source: Public Health Madison & Dane County)

  COVID-19 Testing FAQs

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

Milwaukee Health Department COVID-19 testing locations and hours can be found here.
Additional verified testing sites in Milwaukee County can be found at HealthyMKE.com.

 

I received a PCR test from a Milwaukee Health Department COVID-19 site. How long will it take to receive my results?

PCR test results can be expected between 24 – 48 hours. You will receive a text message and email with your results. Be sure to double check your phone number and email address are correct when you register.

 

What do I do if I haven’t received or cannot access my COVID-19 test results?

If it has been over 48 hours, you received a text but not an email, or you cannot access your results, please call the COVID Hotline at 414-286-6800 to inquire.

 

I tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

If you have received a positive PCR or rapid antigen test, you should isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved or if you were asymptomatic and continue to have no symptoms.

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 total days.

More details from the CDC about isolating.

 

How can I request an at-home COVID-19 test?

Beginning January 19, every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days. Request your COVID-19 tests here.

The State of Wisconsin and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer a free COVID-19 testing option for everyone who lives in Wisconsin. This new service allows people to collect their own saliva samples for testing in their home. Request a collection kit here.

  COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Who should get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone who is able to get a vaccine should get one when it’s made available to them. Currently, everyone 5 years of age and older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccination?

The Milwaukee Health Department has walk-in vaccination clinics at the Northwest Health Center, 6431 N. 76th Street, Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd Street, and Menomonee Valley Drive-Thru Site, 2401 W. St. Paul Ave. In-home vaccinations are available by calling (414) 286-6800 to schedule. Weekly mobile vaccination clinics are listed on the COVID-19 Vaccination webpage.

Additionally, you can reach out directly to your primary healthcare provider or local pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment.

 

What do I do if I lost my COVID-19 vaccination card?

If you lost your COVID-19 Vaccination Card, you can access and print your own immunization record in the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR).  
See also: WIR Parent Brochure

 

Is the COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA?

On August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (now marketed as Comirnaty) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 5 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines continue to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA).

 

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

 

Is it safe for children to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Children 5 years and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children 5 years and older. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 5 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is the only one available to children 5 years and older.

 

What are the most common side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

If I am pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or hope to become pregnant in the future, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant now, or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you.

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.

While such a conversation with your healthcare provider might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

How long after receiving the vaccine will I develop immunity?

Immunity should be developed within a two weeks of receiving the second dose. It's important that individuals continue to wear a mask, wash their hands, and physical distance until fully inoculated.

 

How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?

We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

 

Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

 No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Source: CDC Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

  COVID-19 Vaccine for 5 - 11 Year Olds

On November 2, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 5 to 11 years old with the recommendation that everyone 5 years of age and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and loved ones against COVID-19.

Children ages 5 through 11 years receive one-third of the adult dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Smaller needles, designed specifically for children, are used for children ages 5 through11 years. COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. Your child will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine three weeks after their first shot.

View more guidance from the CDC.

 

Is my child eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone 5 years of age and above are now eligible and recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, anyone 5 to 17 years old are only authorized to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Why should I get my child vaccinated against COVID-19?

Although children are at a lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can:

  • Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
  • Get very sick from COVID-19
  • Have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19
  • Spread COVID-19 to others

 

Is the vaccine safe for children?

Yes. Scientists have conducted clinical trials with about 3,000 children and the FDA has determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has met the safety and efficacy standards for authorization in children ages 5 through 11 years.

COVID-19 vaccines are being monitored for safety with the most comprehensive and intense safety monitoring program in U.S. history. CDC monitors the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines after vaccines are authorized or approved for use, including the risk of myocarditis in children ages 5 through 11 years.

  • Your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu vaccine, at the same time.
  • Serious health events after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.
  • Cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination of children ages 12–17 years. These reactions are rare. In one study, the risk of myocarditis after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech in the week following vaccination was around 54 cases per million doses administered to males ages 12–17 years.
  • A severe allergic reaction, like anaphylaxis, may happen after any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, but this is rare.
  • Your child cannot get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine, including the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine. Learn more about how mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, work.
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems.

 

What side effects might my child experience?

Your child may experience some side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, which are normal signs that the body is building protection. On the arm where your child got their vaccine, they may experience some pain, redness, and swelling. Throughout the rest of their body, they may experience tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea.

These side effects may affect your child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects and severe allergic reactions are rare. If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine providers can rapidly provide care and call for emergency medical services, if needed.

 

If my child was previously tested positive for COVID-19, do they still need to get the vaccine?

Yes. Efficacy of “natural” immunity is high, but protection wanes for some. Getting a vaccine, even for people who have already recovered from COVID-19 strengthens your immune response. The immune response from natural infection is not as focused as vaccine immunity, so evidence shows the vaccine better protects against variants of concern.

 

How can I prepare my child for their COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Talk to your child beforehand about what to expect.
  • Be ready to support your child during the vaccine visit. Pack your child’s favorite toy, book, or blanket to comfort him or her during vaccinations.
  • Be honest with your child. Explain that vaccines can pinch or sting, but that it won’t hurt for long.
  • Engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.
  • Remind your child that the COVID-19 vaccine will help to keep them healthy.

 

Where can I get my child vaccinated?

The Milwaukee Health Department has vaccine available at the Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Road, Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd Street, and Menomonee Valley Drive-Thru Site, 2401 W. St. Paul Avenue. Vaccines are free and available without an appointment.

A weekly list of Milwaukee Health Department mobile vaccine clinics can be found at Milwaukee.gov/COVIDVAX.

Additionally, you can reach out directly to your primary healthcare provider or local pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Find more vaccination opportunities at vaccines.gov and HealthyMKE.com

 

If my child is currently 11 years old, should they wait until they are 12 to get the adult dose of the vaccine?

The CDC recommends that children be vaccinated as soon as possible. If they are currently 11 years old, they should receive the pediatric dose.

If your child turns 12 years old during the three-week period between doses, they will be able to receive the full adult dosage for their second dose.

  COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose FAQs

Who is eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone ages 12 and older is recommended to get a booster dose for the best protection against COVID-19 and circulating variants. Booster doses are strongly recommended for people who are at the greatest risk for severe disease, such as people who live in long-term care settings and everyone 50 years and older.

If you are eligible, you can get your COVID-19 booster dose:

  • At least 5 months after you got your last dose of your Pfizer or Moderna primary vaccine series.
  • At least 2 months after you got your Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

More information regarding eligibility.

 

Why do I need a booster dose?

A "booster dose" refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after their initial vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time – also referred to as waning immunity. Evidence suggests that immunity is waning over time for some people who were initially well-protected by the vaccine. For those people, a booster dose will strengthen and extend their protection against infection, serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

 

What booster dose should I get?

If you are 18 years or older, you can choose which vaccine you get as a booster dose, no matter which vaccine you got in your primary series. CDC recommends people receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (like Pfizer or Moderna) over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, 12 through 17-year-olds are only eligible to receive a Pfizer vaccine booster dose.

  For Businesses and Events

Does my business still need to submit or follow a safety plan?

No. After June 1, the Risk Assessment Tool and safety plan are no longer required. However, these are good recommendations to follow if you are looking to restart indoor dining operations. If you have a previously approved safety plan and wish to make amendments, please document what you are changing in your safety plan in a separate document and you can submit to MHD for review.

 

Will businesses be required to verify that individuals are fully vaccinated?

At this point, there is no uniform proof of vaccine. Businesses can choose to verify that individuals are fully vaccinated by checking vaccination card, photo/photocopy of vaccination card, or other printout/photo/electronic proof of vaccine records with the patron’s name. Businesses may develop methods to evaluate authenticity of the documentation provided.

 

Do religious assemblies need to abide by gathering size limits or mask requirements?

Religious assemblies have the option to operate at 100% capacity and will be required to abide by the current mask ordinance. Religious institutions can choose to enforce any safety policies in the best interests of their congregation.

 

Will schools still enforce safety policies?

As of June 1, 2021, all K-12 schools have the option to operate in-person without any capacity limits or restrictions within the City of Milwaukee. The CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies. 

School Reopening Guidance (8/5/2021)

 

Masks are highly recommended in schools by the CDC, specifically in elementary and middle schools where students are not eligible for the vaccine yet. While masks are highly recommended for students, teachers, and staff regardless of vaccination status, enforcement will be up to the individual schools and school districts.

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