COVID-19 vaccine coming to Harvey County, though all doses earmarked
Health officials are expecting the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Harvey County this week.
And all the doses coming are earmarked for medical workers and residents in long-term care facilities.
"We should have some arriving in Harvey County this week," Lynnette Redington, director of the Harvey County Health Department, told the Harvey County Commission on Tuesday. "They will not go to the health department. They will go to the hospital and Walgreens for their distribution. (The hospital and Walgreens) have already made arrangements with long-term care facilities. It is not for the public to go to the hospital or Walgreens asking for a vaccine at this time."
Supplies, she said, will be tight statewide.
"We were told that 24,000 would be sent to hospitals in the state. That is not going to cover a lot of front-line workers," Redington said. "But that is the shipment we are expecting. Hopefully soon we will have more."
Those doses are manufactured by Pfizer, which started shipping vaccines this week. On Monday, nurses and doctors in several states began receiving the vaccine.
Reddington said the health department is watching for the certification of a second vaccine, manufactured by Moderna.
"When that happens, we have been told we can expect some vaccine at that time," Redington said. "We are waiting and planning. We have talked with our first responders, EMS, long-term cares and providers. We have talked about prioritizing when that comes in. It, again, will likely not be enough for all of those workers, staff and residents."
As of Tuesday, there were 275 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, down 100 in a week. The drop, according to Redington, is due in part to the county health department looking at cases closely — closing cases for those who have recovered and also making sure all cases attributed to Harvey County actually live in Harvey County.
"We are going carefully through and getting cases rerouted and making sure they get closed out," Redington said. "To give an example of our frustration, 187 have been sent to Harvey County that do not have addresses or phone numbers. ... We are talking with the state because we are very confused that those are not getting put into the system."
Some of those do not live in Harvey County, though they may have been tested in Harvey County. According to the Harvey County dashboard, there have been 9,710 individuals tested in Harvey County since the pandemic began. Since the pandemic began, 1,588 county residents have recovered from COVID-19 while 22 have died. There are 15 people at Newton Medical Center, the youngest in the "10-year-old range," according to Redington. The others are 60 and older.