A two-week struggle with snow and cold has begun to let up and for the Daviess County Health Department that has meant doubling down on the number of vaccinations being given.
“Because there were days when we were closed and days when it was difficult for people to come in, we got behind on our vaccination schedule,” said Daviess County Public Health Nurse Kathy Sullender. “I think we are close to getting caught back up.”
The health department vaccinated 200 people on Friday and an additional 200 on Monday to get back on schedule.
“We changed the way we were delivering the service and it went very well,” said Sullender. “Instead of taking the information from people and have them sit in their vehicle, we just went ahead and had them come inside the building.”
Sullender said the health department turned every room into a vaccination station.
“We were moving them through very efficiently,” said Sullender. “All of the offices are now clinic rooms and it worked very well. It really helped the process.”
What also helped the process was having additional hands to assist in getting the work done.
“We have extra nurses and clerks on hand,” said Sullender. “They are independent contractors and we intend to keep them around until we can get everyone vaccinated. Given the way the vaccine is rolling out, we expect the shots to continue through the end of the summer.”
Currently Daviess County receives 500 doses of vaccine per week. The state has made that number available for several weeks.
“We may begin seeing more in the near future,” said Sullender. “The snow just messed up the distribution for everyone. We have received our new 500 doses for this week. We are still using the Moderna vaccine exclusively. I am anxious to see once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved if the number of shots we give will pick up a lot more.”
While Daviess County is making progress again on its COVID immunizations, the county is also making progress on slowing the spread of the disease.
“We continue to have a good positivity rate, and the number of cases are dropping,” said Sullender. “Of course, with the weather we have had a lot fewer people going in and getting tested in the last week. I am not certain but it looks like we may be on track to continue to be rated ‘blue’ for spread of the infection.”
A “blue” rating on the state’s color coded may means there is a low rate of infection spread. A second straight such rating would mean fewer restrictions on gatherings in the county.
Most of Indiana has seen a drop in the number of COVID cases since January. From Feb. 19 through Feb. 22 Daviess County recorded seven new cases, bringing the total to 2,842 confirmed COVID cases. The total number of deaths during that period increase by one to 96 deaths since the pandemic began.
“I suspect we have had a lot more people infected with the coronavirus than we have reported,” said Sullender. “There were so many people who never reported symptoms that may have been infected that we will never know about. I suspect there were a lot of cases of the sniffles that were really COVID that were never checked. All we can report is the number of cases that were tested and confirmed. We will never know exactly how many people have been exposed or infected with COVID.”