Knowledge is power—especially when we take what we know about COVID-19 and put it to work to protect one another. Our commitment to you is to compile and share knowledge that will make us all safer. And to put what we know into practice, so that you can come to us with confidence when you need healthcare.

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THE COVID VACCINE: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Bellin Health physicians recommend that you should remain up-to-date with all COVID-19 vaccinations, including any boosters for which you are eligible. Please follow state and local recommendations pertaining to COVID-19 mitigation.

The following Q&As were developed by Bellin's medical staff to address some common questions and concerns.

Bellin Health COVID-19 Vaccination Location and Scheduling Information

  1. Bellin Health Primary Care clinic locations.
  2. Bellin Fastlane in Green Bay is vaccinating during hours of operation. View hours of operation.

*Note that vaccine appointments for patients ages 6 months - 11 are available at select locations only. Bellin will expand vaccination availability to all its clinics as vaccine rollout proceeds.

To schedule: Visit mybellin.org or call the COVID-19 Hotline at 920-445-7313

Patients who are 15 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for their vaccinations. For ages 16 and 17, we recommend a parent or guardian accompany for first dose, and a signed consent form is recommended if these teens come alone.

Are booster shots really necessary? Who is eligible?
Bellin Health is administering Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent booster shot to individuals in accordance with guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Wisconsin and Michigan Departments of Health Services.

  • All individuals ages 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer bivalent booster shot if at least two months have elapsed since their most recent COVID vaccination.
  • Bellin Health is offering a mix-and-match booster framework that allows those eligible to get the bivalent booster, regardless of which vaccine they received initially.
  • Boosters are encouraged for all who are eligible

To schedule: Visit mybellin.org or call the COVID-19 Hotline at 920-445-7313.

Why should I be vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine is critical to keeping our families and communities safe from severe illness associated with COVID-19. It is safe and it is very effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death. The vaccine is recommended for almost all individuals who meet age criteria (5-plus or 18-plus, depending on vaccine version). Bellin Health strongly recommends you receive the vaccine when it becomes available to you.

Who is currently eligible for the vaccine?

Click below to access the most recent eligibility information issued by Wisconsin and Michigan.

Children ages 6 months and up can now get vaccinated. Visit mybellin.org or call the COVID-19 Hotline at 920-445-7313 to schedule.

**Youth up to age 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for their vaccinations. For ages 16 and 17, we recommend a parent or guardian accompany for first dose, and a signed consent form is recommended if these teens come alone.

Does the vaccine actually protect against serious COVID-19 illness?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you by creating an antibody cellular immune response in your body without you having to become sick with COVID-19. If you get COVID-19, the vaccine might keep you from becoming seriously ill or from developing serious complications. Getting vaccinated may also protect the people around you, especially those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

What are the side effects to this vaccine?

The most common side effects found include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, and joint pain. Most side effects are mild to moderate in severity and resolve within 1-2 days. Side effects tended to be more frequent after the second dose, according to the analysis. Booster doses do not appear to cause worse or more frequent side effects than previous doses. No serious long-term effects of the vaccine have been found to date, and monitoring will be continued in trial participants for two years.

Click here for CDC information regarding vaccine side effects

Can the COVID-19 vaccine actually make a COVID-19 infection worse?

No, there is no evidence that any of the coronavirus vaccines in development worsen a coronavirus infection. In fact, if you get COVID-19 infection after getting vaccinated, it will be less severe than if you had not been vaccinated.

Can I develop COVID-19 infection from the vaccine?

No, the vaccines in development do not contain active viruses, but only small fragments of the spike protein that allows the body to develop an immunity to the virus. There is no chance of getting COVID-19 infection from these vaccines.

When does protection against COVID-19 begin after the vaccine?

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

There is evidence of protection 12 days after the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

What about allergic reactions to the vaccine?

There was some early media attention surrounding the allergy risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Bellin Health’s Medical Branch continues to monitor these risks, and there are a few key points they would like you to share with your teams:

  • Severe allergic reactions to the vaccine are very rare
  • Individuals are screened for possible allergy issues before receiving the vaccine
  • A 15-minute observation period is built into each vaccination appointment in case there are any issues with the vaccine. For some people, such as those with a history of allergy to other vaccines, the observation period is 30 minutes.
  • Severe allergy reactions are treatable, and all vaccine administrative sites have treatment available

Click here for CDC information on COVID-19 vaccine allergies.

Should the vaccine be given to those previously infected with COVID-19?

Yes, data from research studies suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and likely improve protection against infection in people who were previously infected with the coronavirus, and vaccination should be offered to them. However, people with a current infection should not be vaccinated until the person has recovered, if they had symptoms, and if they're clear to leave isolation. There's no recommended minimum period between infection and vaccination, but since it appears reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, vaccination could be delayed until near the end of that period.

Should the vaccine be given to children?

The Pfizer vaccine is now approved for children ages 5 and older. 

Should pregnant/nursing mothers get the vaccine?

There have been a lot of questions—and some unfortunate misinformation—surrounding COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for pregnant or nursing mothers and rumors that vaccination can affect fertility. Here’s what you should know:

It’s Safe

  • The consensus in the medical community is that the vaccine is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the vaccine for women who are pregnant or nursing

It’s Important

  • Pregnant women are at higher risk for contracting more severe cases of COVID-19, versus the general population, and COVID-19 infection during pregnancy can increase the risk of complications such as pre-term labor.
  • Pregnant women frequently receive other immunizations to protect themselves and their babies. These include influenza, tetanus and pertussis
  • Antibodies from vaccinating the mother are passed to the newborn and provide protection against the baby becoming hospitalized for COVID-19

Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

Internet rumors about the COVID-19 vaccine inhibiting fertility are just that—rumors. There is no scientific evidence that the vaccine has any impact on fertility. Here are some key points:

  • Syncytin-1: Facebook posts and other social media outlets have comments stating that the antibodies from the vaccine will target the placental protein, syncytin-1, and damage the pregnancy or prevent it from happening. There is no scientific evidence to support this. In fact, every vaccine FAQ from every university or teaching hospital says the exact opposite. There is no scientist or doctor claiming this. Antibodies made from getting the vaccine attack the spike protein from coronavirus. They recognize spike protein based on the size, shape, and composition of spike protein. There is absolutely nothing about the size, shape, or composition of syncytin-1 that is similar to spike protein. They are completely different.
  • Animal studies of the available vaccines were completed and showed no evidence of decreased fertility or birth defects following vaccination
  • Other studies have shown similar rates of conception in couples receiving fertility treatments whether they had been vaccinated or not. Large registries of women monitoring outcomes of pregnancy have shown no increased risk of birth defects or miscarriage in women who have received COVID-19 vaccines.

Can I finally stop wearing a mask after I get the vaccine?

The CDC has released guidance for those who are fully vaccinated.  Click here to learn more.

Messenger RNA technology is new. How do we know it is safe?

There are several reasons why we know mRNA technology is safe. First, mRNA vaccine technology is not entirely new. Human trials of cancer vaccines using the same mRNA technology have been taking place since at least 2011.

Second, mRNA vaccines do not alter your DNA. That idea is completely false and has no scientific basis or rationale for that to happen. Once the injected mRNA enters a human cell, it degrades quickly and only stays in the body for a couple of minutes or hours. This is why people need two injections to develop the best immune response.

Third, mRNA vaccines are very specific. They are designed to only trigger an immune response to the virus's spike protein, which is just one component of the viral membrane and enables the virus to invade our cells.


LONG-HAUL COVID-19

You may have heard about “post-COVID long haulers” or “long-haul COVID.” These aren’t technical terms, but they’re common names for a common condition: people who have had COVID-19 and still haven’t returned to their pre-COVID state of health after weeks or even months.

It’s estimated that up to 30% of patients continue to have serious problems for two or three weeks, and up to 10% are still having problems after three to six months. Here are a few things you should know about the condition.

What are the symptoms of long COVID?

Symptoms common to long COVID (medical professionals generally call it “long COVID,” “post-acute COVID,” or “chronic COVID”) are similar to the regular symptoms of COVID-19: fatigue, body aches, shortness of breath, cough, difficulty concentrating, inability to exercise, headache, difficulty sleeping, racing heartbeat, chest pains, ongoing loss of taste and smell, GI symptoms, intermittent fevers, chills, and “brain fog.” The main difference is that while regular COVID-19 symptoms usually go away, long COVID symptoms continue even after the patient doesn’t have any detectable virus in their body.

Who gets long COVID?

We see long COVID in two groups: people who’ve had damage to organs like their heart or lungs (generally after severe COVID-19) and people who just continue to have symptoms for reasons we don’t entirely understand. Medical professionals are working all the time to learn more about long COVID.

We do know we’re more likely to see long COVID in people over the age of 50, people who already have two or three chronic illnesses, and people who got very sick when they first had COVID-19.

Is Bellin Health ready to treat long COVID?

Absolutely. We’ve always been dedicated to the close relationships between our care providers and our patients, and those relationships are key in treating COVID-19 long-term. We know you and your medical needs, and we know what to look for and how to treat chronic conditions like long COVID. Bellin is with you all the way.

We’re here to help.

It starts with a call to your Bellin Health primary care provider who will assess your symptoms and, if needed, connect you with additional members of your Bellin care team.

If you don’t have a primary care provider, simply call our Long COVID Care Hotline at 920-445-7395. One of our trained navigators will get you connected to the care you need.


testing

TESTING

An easy way to access COVID-19 testing, or to determine if you have symptoms, is to sign up for MyBellinHealth. It’s free, easy to do, and gives you access to online tools that make healthcare more effective, efficient, and convenient.

When might you want to be tested?

  • When you’re experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms
  • When you’ve been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • When you’re preparing to travel, visit loved ones, or return to your place of work
  • Whenever you feel that you could present a risk to others in the event you have coronavirus

Appointments are required for testing. To determine if you need a test (or other care) and to sign up for a testing time:

  • Sign into your MyBellinHealth account, or visit to set up a free account if you don't have one
  • Click COVID-19 Self-Triage and follow the prompts

You can also contact the Bellin COVID-19 Hotline at 920-445-7313 or 1-888-330-3524.

In an effort to direct people to the right location and preserve our Emergency Departments for those in need of emergent care, Bellin Health would like to reinforce the use of and numerous locations for COVID-19 testing in our area.

If your only reason for a visit is to get a COVID test, and you are not experiencing a healthcare emergency, please use one of these locations for testing. Our resources are strained due to high patient volumes and we want to direct people to the right resource, keeping our Emergency Departments focused on individuals with emergent care needs. We thank you for your help.

Bellin has testing sites in Wisconsin and Michigan at the following locations:

• Algoma: 831 Parker Street
• Bonduel: 401 W Mill St
• Brillion: 964 W Ryan St Suite B
• Crivitz: 218 S. US Hwy 141
• Daggett: 106 S. School Rd
• De Pere – East: 555 Redbird Cir.
• Escanaba: 610 S. Lincoln Rd.
• Green Bay - Bellin Health Fastlane (moving from 1555 Green Bay plaza to 1920 Libal St, effective August 12, 2022) offers a preferred location for quick and easy testing access
• Iron Mountain, MI: 440 Woodward Ave.
• Kewaunee: 575 4th Street
• Lakewood: 15481 Commercial Rd.
• Marinette: 2820 Roosevelt Rd. 
• Menominee: 1100 10th St.
• Oconto Falls: 107 E. Highland
• Peshtigo: 441 French Street
• Pulaski: 726 S. Wisconsin St.
• Seymour: 405 Commercial St.
• Sturgeon Bay: 311 N. 3rd Ave.
• Suring: 307 Manor Dr.

When and how can I expect results?

We encourage all to take advantage of MyBellinHealth to access COVID-19 test results. If you do not have a MyBellinHealth account, a Bellin Health team member will provide instruction for obtaining results at the time of testing.

  • If your test is positive:
    • You will receive a call from a Bellin care team member and Public Health. If you have a MyBellinHealth account, your result also will appear there
  • If your test is negative:
    • If you have a MyBellinHealth account, you will receive results there. You will not receive a phone call
    • If you do not have a MyBellinHealth account, you will receive a phone call

Note: Please do not present to your local clinic or hospital for COVID-19 testing or schedule a standard clinic appointment online for COVID-19 testing. If you are seriously ill, call 911.

Bellin offers COVID-19 testing for current and new patients. Learn more.

Will I owe for testing?

Ultimately, you should not owe anything for your test. Here is how it breaks down:

  • If you have insurance:
    • Bellin will bill your insurance. This is done to cover the cost of purchasing and administering COVID tests and allows for a substantially faster turnaround than state programs that do not bill insurance
    • Testing should be covered at 100 percent
    • You should not have a balance after insurance processes. If you do, please contact Bellin’s Patient Financial Services Department at 920-445-7210, and we will have it removed
    • Note: If you have insurance and choose not to bill your insurance, you will be responsible for the balance yourself
  • If you do not have insurance:
    • You will not owe anything
      • A Bellin partner will contact you to discuss no-cost permanent insurance options. You can also contact us at 920-965-0741 to begin the discussion
      • There are also federal programs and Bellin’s Community Care Program that we will help you utilize

Why do I see a balance in MyBellinHealth?

  • Any balance being held will be visible in your MyBellinHealth account
  • You do not owe anything unless you receive a statement from Bellin

What’s the difference between viral testing and antibody testing?

There are two kinds of tests for COVID-19. If you’ve been exposed to the virus, Bellin will perform a viral test, which shows if you have a current infection. That’s a simple nasal swab that will provide results within two to seven days.

The other kind of test is called an antibody test. This test determines whether you’ve been infected in the past and is performed via blood draw. It won’t determine if you’re infected now—the body takes one to three weeks to develop antibodies after infections. The serum antibody test takes about a week to provide results.


WISCONSIN CASE NUMBERS BY COUNTY


whatIsCovid

What is covid-19?

Get the facts on COVID-19 and the virus that causes it.

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans. The type of coronavirus causing the current pandemic is called SARS-CoV-2. This virus considered new and much remains to be learned about how it spreads and the severity of illness it causes. Humans have essentially no natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. It’s an abbreviation of “coronavirus disease 2019” (2019 being the year the novel coronavirus was discovered).

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 spreads via airborne transmission and respiratory droplets from an infected person. The infectious airborne particles or droplets released into the air from an infected person are inhaled by another person. This is more likely to happen when a person is in a closed physical space with another person who is actively infected. The closer together the people are the more likely the transmission.

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

Anyone of any age or level of health can become infected by COVID-19. But some people are more susceptible, and some people are at greater risk for severe illness if they get it. That includes:

  • People 65 years and older
  • People who have a history of diabetes, cardiac, or respiratory problems
  • People with compromised immune systems from other diseases or from immunosuppressants
  • People living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People with other high-risk conditions like chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, or heart disease with complications
  • People who are immunocompromised (cancer treatment)
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index BMI ≥ 40)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 comes with a variety of symptoms, but most have been described as “flu-like.” Symptoms appear an average of five to six days after exposure to the virus, although it can be as little as two days or as long as 14 days. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

Isolate from others and get tested — either an at-home rapid test or a conveniently available PCR test at a local testing site. If you need care for your symptoms, call the Bellin Health COVID-19 Hotline at 920-445-7313 or your primary care provider’s office. You can also visit MyBellinHealth to access our COVID-19 Self-Triage tool and to schedule a test.

Note: If you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911, tell them your symptoms, and tell them you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 so the ambulance crew can take the proper precautions.



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