Green River Star -

By David Martin
Publisher 

County COVID infections drop

 

January 27, 2021



After several weeks of dire reports about Sweetwater County’s COVID-19 infection rates, Sweetwater County Health Officer Dr. Jean Stachon had good news to share Monday.

The county’s infection rate is declining, recorded at a 7.6% positivity rate over the between Jan. 10-24, moving it in a “yellow zone” for infection risk.

Other promising news coming out of the Monday COVID-19 update is the fact the county has distributed all of its vaccine doses allocated to it. Between the number of people who have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and those who were infected, Dr. Stachon believes approximately 6,600 people have been exposed to the coronavirus, but thinks the percentage of the population who have been exposed is between roughly 20-23%. Dr. Stachon said that estimate comes from the fact the department isn’t aware of exactly every person who has been infected.

Of those who have received either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, 22 percent have had their second dose. Through January, Dr. Station said the health department will have received 2,170 doses and expects a similar number through February.

So far, Dr. Stachon said she is both pleased and proud of Sweetwater County’s residents and healthcare workers in how they’re continually responding to the pandemic. With vaccinations, Sweetwater County Public Health has a much larger capacity to vaccinate residents.

Estimates from Kim Lionberger, director of the Sweetwater County Board of Health, suggest they could vaccinate 1,000 in an 8-hour clinic hosted at the Sweetwater County Events Complex. The challenge remains to be the volume of vaccine doses the county receives, which is far lower than the number they could vaccinate.

Lionberger expects changes to the 1B priority group to come from the state health department later this week, which are expected to include people age 65 and older with health conditions that could result in severe COVID-19 complications to receive the vaccine.

Other people who could be covered include people working in courthouses and other public buildings.

“We will be in 1B for awhile,” she said.

While vaccinations have been handled at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, Castle Rock Hospital District and the county health department, MHSC will be stepping away from providing those vaccinations in the future, which has lead to some confusion of if the hospital has first-round doses of the vaccine.

“We’ve had a lot of confusion about whether the second dose is still available – it is,” Deb Sutton, MHSC’s public information officer said in a release issued Tuesday. “There are no first doses available at the hospital.”

“We are asking those people who scheduled an appointment for a second dose to please keep their appointment,” Sutton said.

“Please bring the vaccination card you received during your first visit,” she added.

The vaccination scheduled at MHSC are:

Jan. 28-30: Those who received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at MHSC are scheduled to return to the same location for the second dose on one of those three days.

Feb. 6-7: Those who received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine at MHSC are scheduled to return to that same location for the second dose on one of those two days.

So far, 30 county residents have died from complications related to COVID-19, through Dr. Stachon said there are a few more deaths that are suspected to be from COVID-19, though not yet confirmed.

Not everything from the update was good news as Dr. Stachon said the department is keeping an eye on a COVID-19 variation originally discovered in the United Kingdom. The variant was found in Teton County and while Dr. Stachon hopes it won’t makes its way to Swetwater County, expects it to appear at some point.

She said the variation was discovered after samples taken from COVID-19-infected people were genetically sequenced, revealing the variation.

 

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