The Ministry of Health asks for vaccinations and boosters

February 5 – KINGWOOD – COVID cases begin to decline in Preston County as delta variant moves to omicron – but personnel and equipment issues caused by the virus still exist.

Preston County Health Officer Dr Fred Conley said Preston Memorial Hospital had run out of ventilators and had to get some from the National Guard.

“We need to get the message out to get vaccinated,” he said. “We’ve had 16 people in isolation with COVID. Staffing is limited. Every department is really short-staffed.”

Preston County Health Department Director VJ Davis said 84% of COVID cases in the county were among the unvaccinated and 16% among the vaccinated. He said that 89% of deaths were in the unvaccinated and 11% in the vaccinated.

But, he said, PCHD hasn’t received any home test reports at this point.

Last month, the White House launched COVIDTests.gov, a website where people can order home COVID test kits for free. Each household can request up to four kits.

“I believe we’ll be inundated with it in three or four weeks,” Conley said. “If they are positive, we will have to accept them as active.”

“The deaths started to go down,” Davis said. “We see omicron now and it’s not as bad as delta.”

He said PCHD was planning vaccinations two days a week. Davis said they could start going to senior centers and doing mobile vaccinations. Home vaccination is still ongoing. He said pop-up clinics are also a possibility.

“Maybe we should stop saying vaccination prevents COVID,” Conley said. “The general public knows that is not the case. Perhaps we should point out that this is to prevent the risk of serious illness and death.”

In other cases, Davis said part-timers Tony and Sheila Amato talked to 5- to 9-year-olds about COVID and read “We Will Be Okay” to them.

“I spoke to (Superintendent of Schools) Steve Wotring and he was on board,” he said. “Teachers were hesitant about the reaction from parents, but we received no complaints. We could try to expand and find something for older children.”

Davis said the book is left at school and children are given information about vaccinations to take back to their parents.

Board members voted unanimously to award a $3 per hour incentive for every hour worked to temporary employees who worked in 2020-21.

Davis said full-time employees receive COVID incentive pay, but temporary employees are not eligible for the subsidy.

“I spoke to Jim (Fields, Chairman of the PCHD Board) and we thought that was a fair way to do it. to say thank you,” he said.

The next Preston County Health Department meeting will be March 10 at 7 p.m.

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