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Vaccines received and ready in Belmont County

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Coronavirus vaccines are ready for the first 400 Belmont County residents age 80 and older, and Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul told county commissioners Wednesday that recipients are being notified.

“We’re going to do a drive-through clinic,” he said. “It’ll be for those first 400 that have registered with our office. Again, we’re going to reach out to them to let them know where they need to go and the time they need to be there. I was hoping to have the phone calls done (Tuesday), but there was a delivery issue and our vaccine came in at 10 p.m. last night. I wanted to make sure the vaccine showed up and it was OK before we did any calls. So we’ll be calling those individuals today.”

Registration is available through the health department website, and people are able to print and fill out a form to present at the vaccination site, speeding up the process.

“They’ll be asked about their health. They’ll receive the shot, then they’ll have to wait for 15 minutes to make sure there are no reactions,” Sproul said.

Next week, the eligible age range will expand to 75 and older and people with serious health conditions.

“The governor has since put out an update to what serious health conditions are, so we will have to go through our list of … people and put them against this list, too. Just another layer of work and another layer of phone calls out to the public,” Sproul said.

Recipients must have a developmental or intellectual disability and one of the following conditions: cerebral palsy; spina bifida; severe congenital heart disease requiring hospitalization; severe type 1 diabetes requiring hospitalization; inherited metabolic disorders including phenylketonuria; severe neurological disorders including epilepsy, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly; severe genetic disorders including Down Syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Turner Syndrome and muscular dystrophy; severe lung disease; sickle cell anemia; alpha and beta thalassemia; or solid organ transplants.

“On Feb. 1 is the school staff and 70 and above, and following that is 65 and above,” he said. “February will be all of 1B. (Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine) just kind of phased it in.”

In answer to a question from Commissioner J.P. Dutton, Sproul said his office is receiving about 400 doses a week on average.

Sproul said the governor’s office reached out to the local educational service center to inform schools that shotes will be stepped up with the goal of having schools back in session by March 1. Doses will also be put aside so that every eligible educator can have a vaccine by the end of February.

“They’re basically saying they’re going to subset vaccines based on the number of doses we need at the school,” he said. “That’s going to come to the health department along with these other vaccines, or to a private provider.”

Sproul continues to ask the public for patience.

“This is frustrating, we agree, but this isn’t anything we’re creating,” Sproul said.

In answer to a question from Commissioner Jerry Echemann, Sproul said no cards have yet been produced for people to indicate they have been vaccinated.

To register for a vaccine with the health department, go to belmontcountyhealth.com.

More information about vaccination sites and available doses in a county can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital will be conducting a two-day community vaccination clinic on site Thursday and Friday. Those 80 and older can call 740-425-5255 for an appointment.

Since the pandemic’s onset, Sproul reported 4,652 total cases in the county, with 1,057 people isolated at home with active cases and 37 hospitalized. A total of 3,471 people have recovered and 87 residents have died while infected with the coronavirus.

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