COVID vaccine clinics begin today


To date, 886 county residents have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Fayette County Public Health (FCPH), and vaccine clinics that begin today are scheduled at FCPH and Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH).

Registration was held last week for individuals who are 80-years-old or older. Four local providers are offering vaccines to the public, including FCPH, FCMH, HealthSource of Ohio, and Kroger pharmacy.

On Tuesday, FCPH reported 168 new positive COVID cases (116 confirmed, 52 probable) and 38 of these were positive antigen tests. Cumulatively, there have been 2,298 positive cases (1,803 confirmed, 495 probable), and of those cases 1,007 were male and 1,291 were female.

There have been a total of 184 hospitalizations and 29 deaths, according to FCPH.

Vaccines are still limited and will be distributed according to state guidelines. Eventually, every Ohioan will be able to receive a vaccine if they choose to do so. During the initial week of Phase 1b of Ohio’s vaccine distribution plan, the Ohio Department of Health has provided 400 vaccine doses to Fayette County.

There are 420,000 individuals in the 80 and over age range in Ohio, but Ohio was only expected to receive 100,000 doses of vaccine this week. This means not everyone age 80+ will be able to get the vaccine in the first week, but rather this is the date their eligibility will begin. There are 2.2 million Ohioans that fall into group 1B for vaccine distribution.

All locations will offer the vaccine at no cost. Vaccine providers can bill a patient’s insurance for a fee to administer the vaccine, but will not be able to charge the patient. Providers can seek reimbursement for uninsured patients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

The pandemic’s U.S. death toll has eclipsed 400,000 and the loss of lives is accelerating.

The 400,000-death toll, reported Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of New Orleans, Cleveland or Tampa, Florida. It’s nearly equal to the number of American lives lost annually to strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined.

With more than 4,000 deaths recorded on some recent days — the most since the pandemic began — the toll by week’s end will probably surpass the number of Americans killed in World War II.

“We need to follow the science and the 400,000th death is shameful,” said Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, near Los Angeles. With its morgue full, the hospital has parked a refrigerated truck outside to hold the bodies of COVID-19 victims until funeral homes can retrieve them.

“It’s so incredibly, unimaginably sad that so many people have died that could have been avoided,” he said.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be sworn in on Wednesday, planned to take part in an evening ceremony Tuesday near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to honor the 400,000 dead. The bell at the Washington National Cathedral was set to toll 400 times. Other cities around the U.S. planned tributes as well.

The U.S. accounts for nearly 1 of every 5 virus deaths reported worldwide, far more than any other country despite its great wealth and medical resources.

U.S. deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000 in late May, then tripled by mid-December. Experts at the University of Washington project deaths will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1.

More than 120,000 patients with the virus are in the hospital in the U.S., according to the COVID Tracking Project, twice the number who filled wards during previous peaks. On a single day last week, the U.S. recorded more than 4,400 deaths.

While vaccine research funded by the administration as part of Warp Speed has proved successful, the campaign trumpeted by the White House to rapidly distribute and administer millions of shots has fallen well short of the early goals officials set.

“Young people are dying, young people who have their whole lives ahead of them,” said Mawata Kamara, a nurse at California’s San Leandro Hospital who is furious over the surging COVID-19 cases that have overwhelmed health care workers. “We could have done so much more.”
886 Fayette County residents have received first dose

Staff reports

and The Associated Press

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