Vaccine distribution continues as COVID-19 infections hold steady

Posted 2/18/21

As the number of known COVID-19 infections in Park County remains relatively low, the effort to vaccinate local residents against the disease continues to move forward, with more than 1,000 residents …

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Vaccine distribution continues as COVID-19 infections hold steady

Posted

As the number of known COVID-19 infections in Park County remains relatively low, the effort to vaccinate local residents against the disease continues to move forward, with more than 1,000 residents receiving their initial doses last week.

With assistance from other medical providers, Park County Public Health administered 546 doses at the Cody Auditorium on Thursday, followed by another 458 doses at the Park County Fairgrounds in Powell on Friday.

They were the first large-scale clinics, which pleased Park County Public Health Nurse Manager Bill Crampton. However, he said vaccine doses remain limited and the recent poor weather could lead to delays.

“We’re just putting out what we’re getting and right now we’re getting 195 vials [at a time] and we try to get it out within the week,” Crampton said; each vial contains five to seven doses.

Only certain segments of the population are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, though Park County health officials have opened it up to those 65 years and older; eligibility had previously been limited to those 70 and older.

To look for a sign-up time, or for more information about the vaccination process, visit www.parkcounty.us/CoronaVirus.html.

Crampton urged those who sign up for a clinic to show up at their scheduled time.

“Please, if you make an appointment, keep your appointment,” he said. “We’re doing it rain or shine.”

Amid Friday’s poor weather, dozens of people failed to show up for their appointments in Powell — forcing public health staffers to scramble to find people interested in receiving a vaccination, regardless of whether they were within the current tiers of eligibility.

With the Pfizer vaccines having to be used within a couple days of being thawed, “we were looking for anything or anyone,” Crampton said.

Dozens of people quickly responded to the fairgrounds for their shots, but there were still a few vials left over by the end of the day. Fortunately, Crampton said, the vials were able to be transferred to Walgreens in Cody and the pharmacy dispensed the doses on Saturday.

“We’re doing our damnedest to try and make sure that nothing gets wasted,” he said.

Park County Health Officer Dr. Aaron Billin noted that the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are believed to be roughly 95% effective at preventing the novel coronavirus from replicating in a person’s upper respiratory system and elsewhere — preventing a significant infection.

However, “remember that those who are vaccinated can still inhale the virus and shed small amounts through exhalation,” Billin said Monday, adding, “This is why we need to keep wearing masks until we approach significant [herd] immunity.”

As of Wednesday, there were 31 active confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Park County, according to Wyoming Department of Health data. That was roughly the same as a week earlier.

Billin said Monday night that “the water testing data and active cases are trending up in Powell.” At that time, 20 of the county’s active cases were among Powell residents, while Cody had 11 cases.

Still, the figures remain significantly lower than the numbers seen in recent months.

Two patients were hospitalized in the county on Wednesday, according to data compiled by the state — one at Powell Valley Healthcare and another at Cody Regional Health. That’s down from a peak of 17 patients in early January.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health reported Park County’s 26th COVID-related death — one that occurred in late January. The deceased was an older woman who had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness related to COVID-19, the department said.

The 26 deaths have come among more than 2,570 confirmed and probable cases identified in the county since March.

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