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TCHC Town Hall Meeting: Vaccination and building project update

by Trinity Gruenberg

Tri-County Health Care held a virtual town hall meeting to update the community on COVID-19 vaccinations, rates, and building project updates.

The positive case rate has declined substantially and has plateaued.

They are concerned about a post-holiday surge. They didn’t see much after Thanksgiving and will be watching over the next 10 days to see if the holidays will cause a spike.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ben Hess shared that they have seen a seven percent positivity rate locally the last two weeks, close to the five percent where they’d like to be at.

The peak left most hospitals in the state at full or nearly full capacity, leaving a dozen ICU beds for the entire population, straining the medical system.

“All it takes is a large super spreading event, or people getting relaxed on social distancing to see another surge,” said Hess.

The vaccination strategy was explained by Tammy Suchy, incident commander. They are working closely with the department of health and remain in phase 1a for vaccines giving them to healthcare workers, long-term care centers, and staff. Tri-County Health Care has approximately 50 percent of their staff receiving their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

The next phase, 1b, is for adults 75 and older and frontline essential workers. The 1c group includes those 65 and older and those that are at high risk.

Hess explained high-risk individuals are in a broad category, including autoimmune diseases, on chronic immune suppression medications, obesity, diabetes, respiratory illnesses such as asthma or COPD, and heart disease.

Hess expects to receive more guidance on this aspect once it gets closer to vaccinating this group.

Locally, they are using the Pfizer vaccine, as that is what was available. The two shot series, given 21 days apart, is going well. This vaccine is developed with newer MRNA technology. . .


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