Local vaccine shipment delayed, with fewer doses
Here are some local COVID updates:
• Indiana Department of Health and Wayne County Health Department are partnering to hold a free drive-thru testing clinic for COVID-19.
The clinic opened Tuesday, Jan. 5, and will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday, Jan. 9, outside Kuhlman Center on the Wayne County Fairgrounds, 861 Salisbury Road N., Richmond.
Testing will be available to all members of the public regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 can be tested with parental consent.
“We are excited to bring a drive-thru testing site to Wayne County,” said Dr. David Jetmore, Wayne County health officer. “We have seen our daily numbers of testing decreasing in the past few weeks. It is important to be testing for surveillance purposes, so you have an accurate assessment of true transmission within our community.”
Hoosiers will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required. Those who have private health insurance are asked to bring that information with them.
• Wayne County Health Department is looking for non-medical and medical volunteers to help operate its COVID vaccination clinic, which could open as soon as Jan. 11, when a shipment of Moderna vaccines is expected to arrive. Health officials initially announced vaccines would be arriving Jan. 4, but that shipment date was delayed a week.
Those interested in volunteering at the clinic are asked to contact Dan Burk, the health department’s emergency preparedness coordinator, at email@example.com. Vaccines will be given in the former Elder-Beerman store, 601 E. Main St., where COVID testing also is currently taking place.
• Christine Stinson, executive director of the health department, told local media Dec. 29 that the county initially should expect a shipment of a few hundred doses of vaccine, not a few thousand as originally planned.
The first doses available to the health department through the 1B round will go to first responders and those doing vital infrastructure work. WCHD will continue announcing who is eligible to receive vaccines as they arrive through press releases to local media, the department’s website and its own social media.
The state’s vaccination plan notes eventual recipients are to include those at higher risk of death from COVID, and those who are at higher risk of becoming ill through their work or living conditions, such as those in correctional facilities, group homes or shelters, and essential workers.
Wayne County Board of Commissioners President Ken Paust said the Elder-Beerman building is already prepared for the COVID vaccination clinic. Eight computer input stations, other equipment and 100 chairs are waiting for those eligible to receive the vaccine in round 1B.
Those who receive the vaccine will be expected to wait 15 to 30 minutes after receiving it to ensure they don’t have a serious reaction. If they do, Paust said emergency medical technicians will be available, as will a dedicated supply of
Narcan and EpiPens supplied by the county.
“We’re ready, but the date can change tomorrow,” Paust said.
• Deaths from COVID-19 complications continue to rise.
On Dec. 29 alone, the county’s health department learned of five more COVID-related deaths, bringing the area’s total to 138. By Jan. 4, that number
had risen to 147.
• Wayne County has passed more than 5,000 lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID, meaning more than 8 percent of the population knowingly has been ill with the virus since March.
As of Dec. 29, the county had 5,114 cases, and by Jan. 4, that had increased to 5,371. The number of new cases reported was much lower than usual on
several days, likely because of holiday-related lab and testing site closures.
State and county-operated testing sites were closed for the long Christmas weekend and open four hours on Christmas Eve.
Numbers for other area counties: 2,249 cases and 42 deaths in Fayette County;
4,398 cases and 56 deaths in Henry County; 1,891 cases and 36 deaths in Randolph County; 531 cases and 2 deaths in Union County; 1,269 cases and 29 deaths in Franklin County.
• Wayne County’s positivity rate for tests has been hovering around the 12 percent mark, so the county is remaining in the orange level for moderate to
high community spread.