GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Local health leaders held a joint news conference on Thursday urging people who have not yet gotten their COVID-19 vaccine booster to get one.

“Ninety percent of our patients with COVID-19 are non-vaccinated patients,” said Dr. Raul Mendoza, Aurora BayCare Pulmonologist and Medical Director of Respiratory Services.

That’s exactly why doctors are pushing the message getting vaccinated will help keep you out of the hospital.

“Every day we have new admissions. We also have discharges, but our COVID-19 numbers are staying very high,” said the President and CEO of Prevea Health Dr. Ashok Rai.

Doctors say while most people have their first set of shots, they have noticed a slowdown of people getting their booster.

“Knowing that you’re a fully vaccinated person, plus a booster, which the CDC would call ‘being up-to-date on your shots,’ means you’re very well protected,” Dr. Rai added.

When it comes to masking up, there has been a lot of confusion recently. While N95 and KN95 masks offer more protection, doctors say surgical masks are still OK to wear and use.

“In general, if this (surgical mask) is what you want to wear, this is going to be the best we can do right now against the Omicron variant,” said Dr. James Heise, the Chief Medical Officer for Door County Medical Center.

Dr. Heise adds if you want to wear a cloth mask you should make sure it has multiple layers, and suggests not using bandanas or gaiters because they do not offer the protection you need.

There is some good news when it comes to COVID-19 testing, especially here in our area. While there were massive delays when the Omicron surge first hit here, things are calming down. “We now have same-day and next-day appointments available at Bellin, as do our colleagues at Prevea,” said Bellin Health Team Leader of Primary Care Clinical Operations Jill Spejcher.

Doctors want to reiterate as new variants emerge, and add they will, it’s about adjusting as things change.

“It’s evolved a lot in the last two years,” said Dr. Rai. “It’s just making sure that everyone understands we aren’t changing our minds, it’s that data (has) evolved, and recommendations are based on that data.”

Doctors also stress, if you feel sick, you should stay home, whether or not you test positive for COVID-19 since we are in the height of cold and flu season.