More COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics are planned to allow providers additional space to process more patients as supplies allow.
Meanwhile, confirmed cases of infection continue to ease downward as health officials urge the public to continue taking precautions to limit spread of the coronavirus.
Last week the White County Health Department began giving second-round doses at the county senior center while continuing with first doses in its main office. County Public Safety Director David Murphy says plans now call for a mass vaccination clinic for those age 65 and older – under Georgia’s Phase 1A rollout – on Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 9-4 p.m. at The Bridge Church (607 Hulsey Road) in Cleveland.
“Our goal is to begin that day with vaccinating over a thousand people, both first shots and second shots,” Murphy said, adding that most patients are likely to be those who already had appointments with the health department.
The event is a precursor to health department performing all of its COVID-19 vaccinations off-site. As March 1, vaccinations will continue at the church Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for both first and second dose appointments, Murphy said.
“[That’s] essentially moving everything out of the health department into one location that specifically focuses on vaccine distribution,” he said.
“This expands it, makes it safer, gives us the opportunity to do more per day as long as the vaccine is provided by the state.”
(A church representative contacted the News to advise visitors to use an alternate entrance via NOK Drive on Hulsey Road due to ongoing road construction.)
Essential services such as, immunizations for school, women’s health services, and communicable disease services will be available at the health department.
Medlink Georgia’s White County office will also host a mass vaccination event Feb. 24 at The Bridge Church, said Practice Manager Carolina Munoz. The clinic will continue to provide vaccines to those eligible under the state’s Phase 1A rollout at its office on Wednesdays and Fridays.
The rate of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in White County has continued to slow in recent weeks. The seven-day moving daily case average was at 7.7 as of Feb. 9, according to Georgia Department of Public Health data. That’s down from 13.7 on Feb. 2 and the lowest it has been since 7.4 on Nov. 17 – just as the county entered its most active period of infections during the pandemic.
There had been 79 cases reported as of Feb. 9. There were 659 in January and 688 in December.
Murphy attributed to recent trend to coming out of the holiday season when general vulnerability rose as more people traveled, as well as ongoing efforts by the public to mitigate virus spread.
He said people should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on limiting COVID-19 exposure.
“We’re on the trajectory of getting this behind us if we just stay the course.”
COVID-19 ACTIVITY IN WHITE COUNTY
Source: Georgia Department of Public Health Feb. 9 status report
• 2,758 total confirmed cases during pandemic
• 7-day moving average of cases
• 7.7 case average as of Feb. 9
• Down from 13.7 on Feb. 2
• Recent: 15.7 on Jan. 25 and 23.4 on Jan. 19
• 79 cases reported this month through Feb. 9
• January had 659, with December’s 688 being the highest count yet
• 55 deaths attributed to COVID-19
• White County School System: Its weekly status report released Feb. 10 said there were currently 16 students who had reported positive for COVID-19 and 86 students quarantined for possible exposure at that time. There was one report of a staff member with a positive COVID-19 test, and five staff members quarantined for possible exposure.
COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT
• Who can get it now?
Under Georgia’s Phase 1A+ rollout: Medical personnel, such as those at hospitals, health clinics, EMS and first responders, residents and staff of long-term care facilities (such as nursing homes), adults ages 65 and older, law enforcement officers and firefighters.
CHECKING ON VACCINE AVAILABILITY
Most local appointments are booked, but some providers advise checking back for updates. Information on providers throughout the state is available at dph.georgia.gov.
• White County Health Department and the District 2 Public Health Office
• MedLink Georgia – White County
• Cleveland Drug Company
ν Ingles Pharmacy
Availability is posted at www.ingles-markets.com/pharmacy/pg1/pharmacy-sub/vaccinations
• Northeast Georgia Health System / Northeast Georgia Physicians Group
Visit www.nghs.com/covid-19/vaccine-updates or call 678-989-5005 with vaccine questions.
• Habersham Medical Center