By David Martin

Vaccination effort surges ahead


February 24, 2021

Despite snowstorms last week postponing the delivery of a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine last week, Sweetwater County Public Health and Castle Rock Medical Center continue to vaccinate residents.

According to Dr. Jean Stachon, Sweetwater County Public Health Officer, said between 25% and one-third of the county’s population having herd immunity, either from contracting COVID-19 or through a vaccination. An exact percentage is unknown because Dr. Stachon said there were likely residents who contracted COVID-19 and did not report the infection.

To date, the county has had 3,518 infections, which include 50 active cases. The percent-positivity rate for testing has averaged 6.3% in the last week, which is still higher than the state average of 2.8%. As of Monday, She said there was one COVID-19 patient in Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County’s intensive care unit. Kim White, Director of Emergency Services at MHSC, said the emergency room still receives two or three COVID-19 patients a day. At Castle Rock Medical Center, Dr. Connie Fauntleroy said the medical center is planning to close its COVID-19 drive-through testing service and move it into the medical center building. She said the transition would take place next week.

Kim Lionberger, director of Sweetwater County Public Health, said the March vaccine allotments have not been disclosed yet, which has caused them to hold off on scheduling vaccination clinics until they know the volume to expect. Lionberger described the vaccination clinics last week, due to the winter weather, as a “hodge-podge” because they did not receive a scheduled shipment of the Moderna vaccine, resulting in healthcare workers relying on limited amounts of vaccine doses to run the clinics.

As the herd immunity percentage climbs, Dr. Stachon said discussions about May graduation ceremonies have started taking place. She said she’s not sure what a ceremony will look like, but is working to help produce a plan with three scenarios based on how high infection rates are when the graduations take place. As far as summer events, she isn’t sure what they will entail.

“I would think those events will take place, just look a little different,”she said.


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