Author: Rebekah Johnson

National Preparedness Month Week Four: Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

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Ready Business

  • Get involved and share preparedness info in your community, faith-based organization, business & more:
  • 40% of businesses never recover after a disaster. Watch this video and #PlanAhead:
  • Develop a preparedness program for your business to plan for & reduce the impact of disasters:
  • Planning ahead for disasters can be the difference between going out of business and running a successful one.

Ready Campus

  • Make sure your campus is a #ReadyCampus and prepared for all types of emergencies. Get involved:
  • Make sure your school has emergency procedures in place for disasters that could affect your campus.
  • Know how to get in touch with family/friends if phones are down. Text instead of call and mark yourself as safe on social media.
  • If you can’t get in touch with family/friends after a disaster, register yourself as “Safe and Well” on the Red Cross’ website 
  • Sign up to receive alerts from your school in case of an emergency like an active shooter event or natural disaster.

Faith-Based Preparedness

  • Keep your congregation safe – make sure your house of worship has a plan for all types of emergencies.
  • Faith-based venues can become targets. Protect your congregation & house of worship by preparing for emergencies:
  • Take steps to protect your house of worship from arson. Illuminate the exterior/entrances and clear anything that could fuel fire.
  • Get involved. Advocate including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into emergency planning in your community. Brought to you by the Ad Council and Ready. 

National Preparedness Month Week Three: Practice and Build Out Your Plans

Practice and Build Out Your Plans
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  • Complete an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)
  • Maintain emergency savings for use in case of an emergency
  • Participate in an emergency drill
  • Know how to access community resources (e.g., shelters, food banks)
  • What important docs should you have in your emergency kit? The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit explains them all:
  • How will you pay your bills if a disaster strikes? Disasters don’t plan ahead, you can: 
  • Maintain emergency savings in case of a disasters.
  • Do you know how to access community resources where you live? Search online today.
  • Make digital copies of important documents and save them on the cloud or a secure cell phone app in case disaster strikes.
  • Have at least a one-week supply of medications.
  • Flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period before they go into effect. Plan now for floods
  • Give yourself financial peace of mind & create an emergency savings account that can be used in a crisis.
  • Financial prep tip: gather & store critical personal, household, & medical information for easy access during a disaster.

 Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today. September is National Preparedness Month. Learn more at


Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today. September is National Preparedness Month. Learn more at



Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make a family emergency plan today. September is National Preparedness Month. Learn more at


Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

All information provided from

Who is at greatest risk from wildfire smoke?

  • People who have heart or lung diseases, like heart disease, chest pain, lung disease, or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke.
  • Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.
  • Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. Children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Also, children often spend more time outdoors engaged in activity and play.

Take steps to decrease your risk from wildfire smoke.

  • Check local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Find out if your community provides reports about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI) or check the report on In addition, pay attention to public health messages about safety measures.
  • Consult local visibility guides. Some communities have monitors that measure the amount of particles in the air. In the western United States, some states and communities have guidelines to help people determine if there are high levels of particulates in the air by how far they can see.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible if you are advised to stay indoors. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area.
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
  • Prevent wildfires from starting. Prepare, build, maintain and extinguish campfires safely. Follow local regulations if you burn trash or debris. Check with your local fire department to be sure the weather is safe enough for burning.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating if you are having trouble breathing. Call your doctor for  advice if your symptoms worsen.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.
  • Evacuate from the path of wildfires. Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of local officials about when and where to evacuate. Take only essential items with you. Follow designated evacuation routes–others may be blocked–and plan for heavy traffic.

National Preparedness Month Week Two: Plan to Help Your Neighbors and Friends

Lincoln County Emergency Management holds CERT classes during the Spring and Fall, pending participation. Classes are weekly on Thursday evenings for 6 weeks culminating in one Saturday skills check off course. The skills learned at CERT are invaluable for if and when disaster and emergencies strike.

September is National Preparedness Month!


Week One: Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
*All content courtesy of 

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Visit for handy downloadable templates for family emergency plans, pet owners emergency plans, and other information that will get you started on having your own plans in place for when disasters/emergencies happen.

The official logo for National Preparedness Month 2017. [High Resolution JPG]

NIAW: Tdap Vaccine

Tdap Vaccine

What is whooping cough (pertussis)? Why do preteens and teens need to be protected from it?

Pertussis – also known as whooping cough – is an easily spread respiratory disease known for uncontrollable violent coughing that often makes it hard to breathe. Whooping cough can make teens ill with a serious cough that can last for weeks and be quite debilitating. While they are sick, people can easily spread the disease. In the United States, most vaccine-preventable diseases are rare, but this is not true with whooping cough. It still causes outbreaks.

Protection against whooping cough from the vaccine fades over time.

So at 11 or 12 years old, children need one dose of Tdap, even if they received all necessary whooping cough vaccines in early childhood. This dose provides a boost in immunity for whooping cough. CDC also recommends teens who have never received a dose of whooping cough receive Tdap.

How many cases of whooping cough were reported last year?

In 2016, more than 15,000 cases were provisionally reported in the United States.


Why are we seeing more whooping cough over the last 20 or so years?

There are several reasons that help explain why we’re seeing more reported cases of whooping cough lately. Studies have shown that the whooping cough vaccines we use now, while safer, do not protect for as long as the old type of whooping cough vaccines. This is known as waning immunity. We are also more aware of whooping cough, have better tests to diagnose it, and have better systems for reporting.

 CDC’s current estimate is that Tdap fully protects seven out of 10 preteens and teens who receive it against whooping cough, but that protection fades over time. Tdap fully protects about three or four out of 10 teens are from whooping cough four years after getting Tdap.

Adolescents who get Tdap and still get whooping cough have fewer coughing fits, are coughing for fewer days, and are less likely to suffer from disease complications.

Did You Know?

  • These 3 diseases are all caused by bacteria. Both diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
  • Before vaccines, each year the U.S. averaged around
    • 500-600 cases of tetanus;
    • 100,000—200,000 cases of diphtheria;
    • 175,000 cases of pertussis.

The Public Health offices can offer this vaccine for a reduced cost under the Wyoming Vaccinates Important People program. This vaccine is provided for only an administration fee for administering it. The vaccine itself is free and there is no office visit fee. If your child is entering the 7th grade this year, school immunization regulations require a Tdap booster. If your child has not had one yet, please call our offices at 885-9598 or 877-3780 to make an appointment. 

–All information on this page is taken from the CDC. 

National Immunization Awareness Week: All About HPV Vaccine

Why is HPV vaccine needed?

HPV vaccine prevents cancer. About 79 million Americans are infected with human papillomavirus, or HPV. Although most HPV infections will go away on their own, some HPV infections can lead to various types of cancer. HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can protect people from infection with the types of HPV that can cause certain cancers.


How many types of HPV are there?

More than 40 HPV types can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. Most people who become infected with HPV do not know they have it.


How common are HPV infections?

HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Most people never know that they have been infected and may give HPV to a sex partner without knowing it. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with some type of HPV. About 14 million people in the United States become newly infected each year.


What kinds of problems does HPV infection cause?

Most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems. Most HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within two years. But, sometimes, HPV infections will last longer, and can cause certain cancers and other diseases. HPV infections can cause:

  • Cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women.
  • Cancers of the penis in men.
  • Cancers of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx), in both women and men. Every year in the United States, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women.


HPV can also cause genital warts in men and women.


How many people get cancer from HPV?

Every year nearly 31,000 men and women are affected by cancers caused by HPV infections.


How many people get genital warts from HPV?

Before HPV vaccines were introduced, roughly 340,000 to 360,000 women and men were affected by genital warts caused by HPV every year.* Also, about one in 100 sexually active adults in the U.S. have genital warts at any given time.


*As these figures only look at the number of people who sought care for genital warts, this could be an underestimate of the actual number of people who get genital warts.


How do people get HPV?

People get HPV from another person during sexual activity. Most of the time people get HPV from having vaginal and/or anal sex. Men and women can also get HPV from having oral and other sex play. A person can get HPV even if their partner (straight or same-sex) doesn’t have any signs or symptoms of HPV infection. A person can have HPV even if years have passed since he or she had sexual contact with an infected person. Most people do not realize they are infected. They also don’t know that they may be passing HPV to their sex partner(s). It is also possible for someone to get more than one type of HPV.


It’s not very common, but sometimes a pregnant woman with HPV can pass it to her baby during delivery. In these cases, the child can develop recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP), a rare condition where warts caused by HPV (similar to genital warts) grow in the throat.


Who should get the HPV vaccine?

All girls and boys who are 11 or 12 years old should get the recommended series of HPV vaccine. The vaccination series can be started at age 9 years. Teen boys and girls who did not get vaccinated when they were younger should get it now. HPV vaccine is recommended for young women through age 26, and young men through age 21. HPV vaccine is also recommended for the following people, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger:

  • Young men who have sex with men, including young men who identify as gay or bisexual or who intend to have sex with men through age 26.
  • Young adults who are transgender through age 26.
  • Young adults with certain immunocompromising conditions (including HIV) through age 26.


Why is the vaccine recommended at age 11 or 12?

For HPV vaccine to be most effective, the series should be given prior to exposure to HPV. There is no reason to wait to vaccinate until teens reach puberty or start having sex. Preteens should receive all recommended doses of the HPV vaccine series long before they begin any type of sexual activity.


Is the vaccine still effective if you have had sexual intercourse?

Even if someone has already had sex, they should still get HPV vaccine. Although HPV infection can occur soon after someone starts having sex, a person might not be exposed to any or all of the HPV types that are in the vaccine. Males and females in the age groups recommended for vaccination are likely to get some protection from the vaccine.


Why are two doses recommended for 9–14 year olds, while older adolescents need three doses?

Since 2006, HPV vaccines have been recommended in a three-dose series given over six months. In 2016, CDC changed the recommendation to two doses for persons starting the series before their 15th birthday. The second dose of HPV vaccine should be given six to 12 months after the first dose. Adolescents who receive their two doses less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine.


Teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 years still need three doses of HPV vaccine Also, three doses are still recommended for people with certain immunocompromising conditions ages 9 through 26 years.


CDC makes recommendations based on the best available scientific evidence. Studies have shown that two doses of HPV vaccine given at least six months apart to adolescents at age 9 through 14 years worked as well or better than three doses given to older adolescents and young adults. Studies have not been done to show this for adolescents starting the series at age 15 years or older.


How well does HPV vaccine work?

HPV vaccination works extremely well. Clinical trials showed the vaccines provided close to 100% protection against precancers and, for Gardasil® and Gardasil 9®, genital warts. Since vaccination was first recommended in 2006, there has been a 64% reduction in vaccine type HPV infections among teen girls in the U.S., even with low HPV vaccination rates. Studies have shown that fewer teens are getting genital warts.


In other countries, such as Australia, where HPV vaccination coverage is higher than in the United States, large decreases have been observed in these HPV-associated outcomes. HPV vaccines offer long-lasting protection against HPV infection and HPV disease. There has been no evidence to suggest that HPV vaccine loses any ability to provide protection over time. Data are available for about 10 years of follow-up after vaccination.


How long will the HPV vaccine provide protection?

HPV vaccine offers long-lasting protection against HPV infection and cancers and other diseases caused by HPV infections. Protection produced by HPV vaccine remains high for at least eight to 10 years according to data from clinical trials and ongoing research. Evidence suggests that the protection provided by the HPV vaccine will continue beyond 10 years.


Will the vaccine require a booster?

In the U.S., the HPV vaccine series requires two shots for teens under 15 years old – one shot followed by the second shot six to 12 months later. Booster doses are not recommended. Like all vaccines, HPV vaccine is monitored continually to make sure it remains safe and effective. If protection from HPV vaccine doesn’t last as long as it should, then CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would review the data and determine if a booster shot should be recommended.


Does someone have to restart the HPV vaccine series if too much time passes between the shots?

CDC recommends that all 11 or 12 year olds should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to 12 months apart. Adolescents who receive their two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine.


If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. If your child is older than 14 years, three shots will need to be given over six months. Also, three doses are still recommended for people with certain immunocompromising conditions ages 9 through 26 years. If someone waits longer than that between shots, they do not need to restart the series. Even if has been months or years since the last shot, the series should still be completed.


Does HPV vaccination offer similar protection from cervical cancer in all racial/ethnic groups?

Yes. Several different HPV types cause cervical cancer. HPV vaccines are designed to prevent the HPV types that cause most cervical cancers, so HPV vaccination will provide high protection for all racial/ethnic groups.

All three licensed HPV vaccines protect against types 16 and 18, which cause the majority of cervical cancers across racial/ethnic groups (67% of the cervical cancers among whites, 68% among blacks, and 64% among Hispanics). The 9-valent HPV vaccine protects against seven HPV types that cause about 80% of cervical cancer among all racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

Teens and young adults who haven’t completed the HPV vaccine series should make an appointment today to get vaccinated. To protect against cervical cancer, women age 21 through 65 years should get screened for cervical cancer at regular intervals and get follow-up care as recommended by their doctor or nurse.


How do we know that the HPV vaccine is safe?

The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. Years of testing are required by law to ensure the safety of vaccines before they are made available for use in the United States. This process can take 10 years or longer. Once a vaccine is in use, CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitor any associated side effects or possible side effects (adverse events) through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and other vaccine safety systems.


HPV vaccines went through years of extensive safety testing before they were licensed by FDA. Gardasil 9, the only HPV vaccine currently marketed in the U.S., was studied in more than 15,000 females and males prior to being licensed. No serious safety concerns were identified in these clinical trials. FDA only licenses a vaccine if it is safe, effective, and the benefits outweigh the risks. CDC and FDA continue to monitor HPV vaccines to make sure they are safe and beneficial for the public.


What are some possible side effects of HPV vaccination?

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Many people who get HPV vaccine have no side effects at all. Some people report having very mild side effects, like a sore arm from the shot. The most common side effects are usually mild. Common side effects of HPV vaccine include:

  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given.
  • Headache or feeling tired.
  • Muscle or joint pain.


Brief fainting spells and related symptoms (such as jerking movements) can happen after any medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes after a vaccination can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by falls.


On very rare occasions, severe (anaphylactic) allergic reactions may occur after vaccination. People with severe allergies to any component of a vaccine should not receive that vaccine.


Will the vaccine cause cancer?

HPV vaccine cannot cause HPV infection or cancer. HPV vaccine is made from one protein from the virus that cannot cause HPV infection or cancer. Not receiving HPV vaccine at the recommended ages can leave one vulnerable to cancers caused by HPV.


Will the vaccine cause fertility issues?

No. There are no data that suggest getting HPV vaccine will have an effect on future fertility. In fact, getting vaccinated and protecting against cervical cancer can help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Not getting the HPV vaccine leaves people vulnerable to HPV infection; for women, this could lead to cervical cancer. The treatment of cervical cancer (hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and/or radiation, for example) could leave a woman unable to have children. Even the treatment of cervical precancers caused by HPV can cause preterm labor or problems at the time of delivery.


Why is this vaccine not mandatory for school entry?

Each state determines which vaccines will be required for school entry. Many factors are taken into consideration before requiring any vaccine for school entry, including: community support for the requirement, financial resources needed to implement the requirement, burden on school personnel for enforcing the requirement, vaccine supply, and current vaccination coverage levels.

HPV vaccine was first recommended for girls only, and many states did not want to implement a requirement that only applied to half the student population.

Health care providers do not need to wait to recommend and/or administer the HPV vaccine until there is a school requirement. Almost every state has a Tdap requirement for middle school entry. Providers should use this opportunity to administer HPV and quadrivalent meningococal conjugate vaccines.


How can someone get help paying for HPV vaccine?

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. The program provides vaccines at no cost to children ages 18 years and younger who are uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian/Alaska Native. The Public Health office can also offer this vaccine for a reduced cost to those whose insurances do not cover this vaccine (note: a high deductible does not meet the criteria of the VFC program). If your insurance does not offer coverage for this vaccine, you are considered underinsured and can be offered this vaccine for reduced cost. Please contact your insurance company to find out what your coverage for this vaccine might be.

–All information on this page is directly taken from the CDC. 

NIAW: Varicella and Hepatitis A

Varicella vaccine protects against chickenpox.

Children get two doses of the chickenpox vaccine for best protection. Children need one dose at each of the following ages: 12 through 15 months and 4 through 6 years.

  • Chickenpox spreads primarily by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters and possibly from infected respiratory droplets.
    • Symptoms: rash, itching, tiredness, headache, high fever.
    • Complications: infected blisters, bleeding problems, encephalitis (brain swelling due to infection), pneumonia (infection in the lungs).
    • People can die from chickenpox.


Hepatitis A vaccine protects against hepatitis A.

Doctors recommend children get two doses of the hepatitis A shot for best protection. Children need the first dose at 12 through 23 months and the second dose 6 to 18 months after the first.

  • Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by feces or stool from an infected person.
    • Symptoms: Symptoms are more likely to occur in adults than in children, but not everyone has symptoms. If symptoms develop, there may be fever, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, joint pain, fatigue, jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes), dark urine, or grey-colored stools.
    • Complications: liver failure and death, although rare and occurs more commonly in people older than 50 and people with other liver diseases.


Hib vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

Doctors recommend children get three or four doses of the Hib vaccine for best protection. Children need one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months,

4 months, 6 months (for some brands), and 12 through 15 months.

  • Haemophilus influenzae type b is a bacterium that spreads through the air and direct contact with a person who has Hib.
    • Types of infection: The most common severe types of Hib disease are infections of the lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia), and covering of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
    • Symptoms of pneumonia can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, or chills. Symptoms of bacteremia can include fever, chills, excessive tiredness, or pain in the belly. Symptoms of meningitis can include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, or vomiting.
    • Complications: brain damage, hearing loss, loss of limbs, death.


PCV13 vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease.

CDC recommends children get four doses of the pneumococcal vaccine for best protection. Children need one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 12 through 15 months.

  • Pneumococcus is a bacterium spread through the air and direct contact with an infected person.
    • Types of infection: Pneumococcus bacteria can lead to infections of the lungs (pneumonia), lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), blood (bacteremia), ears, and sinuses.
    • Symptoms of pneumonia can include fever, chills, difficulty breathing, or chest pain. Symptoms of meningitis can include fever, headache, stiff neck, or confusion. Symptoms of bacteremia can include fever, chills, or low alertness. Symptoms of middle ear infections can include ear pain, a red, swollen ear drum, fever, or sleepiness. Symptoms of sinus infections can include headache, stuffy or runny nose, or facial pain or pressure.
    • Complications: brain damage, hearing loss, loss of limbs, death.


IPV vaccine protects against polio.

Children should get four doses of inactivated polio vaccine (also called IPV) for best protection. Children need one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years.

  • Polio spreads through contact with the stool of an infected person and, though less common, through droplets from a sneeze or cough. If you get stool or droplets from an infected person on your hands and you touch your mouth, you can get infected. Also, if you put objects that have stool or droplets on them into your mouth, you can get infected.
    • Symptoms: Most people with poliovirus infection will not have visible symptoms. About 1 out of 4 people with poliovirus infection will have flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, and stomach pain. A smaller proportion of people with poliovirus infection will develop other more serious symptoms, such as paralysis which can lead to permanent disability and death.

The Public Health offices in Afton and Kemmerer carry all approved and recommended childhood vaccinations. We can these for reduced cost under the Wyoming Vaccinates Important People state immunization program. We can administer these shots for the reduced fee of $20 with no office visit charge. The vaccine cost itself is free. If you cannot pay the $20 per shot fee, that price can be reduced or even waived entirely if necessary. We do not turn away anyone due to inability to pay. We accept Wyoming Medicaid and most health insurances. The only insurance company that does not accept our claims is Tricare. Please call us at 885-9598 or 877-3780 to schedule an appointment for any shots your child might need.

–All information is from the CDC