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December 13, 2022

ThedaCare Urges Community Members to Protect Themselves Against “Triple-Demic” This Holiday Season

Annual Influenza Vaccines and COVID Boosters Now Available

With respiratory viruses such as COVID-19, influenza, and RSV circulating at high levels nationwide, and in Wisconsin, ThedaCare is urging community members to protect themselves this holiday season.

“With increasing cases of the three viruses, the season has the potential to be severe, especially for young children and older adults,” said Dr. Zachary Baeseman, ThedaCare Family Medicine Practitioner in Waupaca and Wild Rose. “In recent years, more people were wearing face masks and were more likely to stay home while sick. This year, because many people are no longer masking and taking those precautions, we are seeing increased cases. Also, children who haven’t been previously exposed to respiratory viruses are getting sick, and they are then passing it on to loved ones and others.”

Vaccines are especially important for those at higher risk of becoming seriously ill. That includes the elderly, pregnant women, young children and those with weakened immune systems and chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung diseases, high blood pressure, and those going through cancer treatment.

Flu season is already hitting hard across the country, and hospitals are continuing to see high numbers of respiratory illnesses cases.

“We’re asking everyone to take precautions and receive all recommended vaccines, including the updated COVID-19 booster and the flu vaccine, to help prevent and slow the spread of respiratory illnesses,” said Dr. Baeseman.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, fewer than 15% of Wisconsinites have gotten their updated COVID-19 booster.

Everyone 6 months and older can get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time. Everyone 5 years and older should also get an updated COVID-19 booster when eligible. The updated COVID-19 booster provides increased protection against Omicron variants, which cause most of the current COVID-19 cases.

Taking Additional Precautions

In addition to getting all recommended vaccines, community members should take extra steps when planning their holiday celebrations. Respiratory viruses spread more easily when people are gathered indoors. Precautions include:

  • If you are feeling sick, get tested. People can order free COVID-19 rapid tests and access testing at many community locations across the state. 
  • If you’re sick, stay home. This helps protect others, especially those who are most vulnerable.
  • Check your COVID-19 Community Level for information about the amount of severe illness in your community before any holiday celebration. If your COVID-19 Community Level is high, you should wear a well-fitting mask when you are inside public places around others. 
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water to help prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses, and cover coughs and sneezes to avoid spreading germs. 

“Most people, who do find themselves with an illness at this time, and who are not at risk for severe illness, can likely stay home,” said Dr. Baeseman. “Those with a mild illness will experience a low fever, aches and pains, or a mild cough. If you have these symptoms, stay at home and isolate. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and monitor your symptoms. Hopefully, you will start feeling better within a few days.”

Dr. Baeseman explained that if you are at higher risk for severe infection, or are concerned about your symptoms, contact your primary care provider’s office. For immediate, non-emergency concerns, patients can also visit a ThedaCare Urgent Care or Walk-In location without making an appointment or talk to a provider through eVisit or Video Visit services.

Schedule Your Influenza Vaccine and COVID Booster

ThedaCare will be holding various COVID vaccination and booster clinics in communities throughout the month of December. For more information and to find a location near you, please visit

Patients can also schedule vaccinations at most primary care facilities. ThedaCare patients and community members can schedule vaccinations online. Log in to MyThedaCare/MyChart, select Schedule a Visit, and then select Vaccines.

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including eight hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique, best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.