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Another Death; Washington County Health Department Asks for Patience

Update: On Wednesday, Feb 3 the Health Department announced 13 new cases of Covid-19 in the County, bringing the total to 30 active cases and 1 Hospitalized with Covid.

On Monday, February 1 the Washington County Health Department released a statement announcing one additional death in Washington County as of January 29th. The female in her 70’s was released from isolation prior to her passing. This brings the total number of deaths in the county up to 25. Of these, 18 were active cases and 7 were released.

In the same press release, the Health Department also announced that Washington County had 0 active hospitalizations due to Covid-19. They announced only 6 more positive cases, bringing the county’s total to 26 currently active cases.

These uplifting numbers come as the nation hits a milestone of more individuals vaccinated against Covid-19 than those currently with the virus. However, vaccination efforts are still slow in Washington County. The Health Department is doing everything they can, but ask for patience and understanding at this time. They released a statement which can be read below: 

“Vaccine continues to trickle in much slower than we would like.  Although the common category in Phase 1B is those individuals age 65 years and older, there are also certain essential employees that are outlined in the Illinois Vaccination Plan in which we must incorporate into our plans.  These employees include education through 12th grade, manufacturing, postal workers, grocery store workers, and agricultural workers involved with processing and animal services.  This is an incredibly large group in our county.  Our list has expanded to approximately 3000 people at this time, including about 1000 qualifying essential workers.  

Additional vaccine has been requested to move forward more quickly through the vaccination process; however this request has not yet been approved by IDPH, as they are also working with limited vaccine to allocate.  The ordering process is very controlled in quantities as the supply is very limited at this time.  We understand that the community is anxious to get vaccine in the arms of our residents, and that media coverage of seemingly large clinics in surrounding areas fuels frustration with the speed of our vaccine administration, and we ask for patience.  Please remember that without vaccine coming in, it can’t be given. The last thing we want to do is have to call hundreds of people to reschedule if we don’t get vaccine.  

There have been issues in other counties that did not receive vaccine in time.  This causes much angst and additional work and takes staff away from moving forward.  With the growing demand and limited supply, our strategy to vaccinate  has changed slightly.  We will continue to work through our list of names that have been collected prior to Jan 13.  This list has been compiled and individuals will be contacted based on the birthdate (oldest to youngest) as vaccine is available.  When this list is completed, we will begin scheduling appointments based on the date the name was received and by age.  If a person is not able to take an appointment, their name will be transferred to the top of the next list based on when their call was received. 

Duplicate calls to our office are slowing work of our staff during this time.  Staff are not able to verify where anyone is on the roster, so please do not call to ask. We will contact those on the list as vaccine is available. If you have gotten the vaccine from another provider, please call to let us know to remove you from our roster or tell us when we call to schedule an appointment.  We have waited a very long time to get to this point.  The last 11 months have been grueling.  The light at the end of the tunnel is approaching.  We just need to be patient a little longer as we continue to move forward towards our new normal.”

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