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Shawnee Co. remains at uncontrolled level, health officials prep for next vaccination phase

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 6:40 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The latest Shawnee Co. COVID-19 Community Transmission Scorecard marks the area at 23, one shy of last week’s score and still at the uncontrolled level.

Health officials said Thursday the area is in a post-holiday surge.

A record 1,129 COVID-19 cases were reported within the last week and 23 people died because of the virus in the period between January 3-9.

Derik Flerlage, the Shawnee County Health Department Infectious Disease Division Manager, said it is not too late to take action.

“The first best time was then, the next best time is now,” he said at the Health Department’s virtual news conference Thursday.

“We know how hard this has been on our kids the parents our healthcare system our own public healthcare system our businesses and our community.”

Every section of the scorecard is in the uncontrolled zone except for the hospital occupancy rate, which is just below 90 percent.

Stormont Vail Health’s CEO Dr. Robert Kenagy said the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 during the past week has ranged in the 50s.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon with the record number of positive tests that we’re seeing in the hospital we have yet to see a significant increase in hospitalizations,” he said at the news conference.

According to Interim Health Officer Dr. Dennis Cooley, over 10,000 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to date in the county and only two doses administered by the Health Department were wasted due to malfunctions in a syringe.

He said the number could be much higher due to vaccines being administered through a federal program at CVS and Walgreens.

Cooley announced there will be a survey released in the coming days for those interested in receiving the vaccine in the next eligible group which includes people over 65, first responders, those in congregate housing and essential workers like teachers.

He reminded people that each state sets its own schedule for vaccine distribution.

“Each state’s different and they can vaccinate in any order they want to and whomever they choose and in many ways too you have to remember vaccine distribution isn’t equal to all the states,” he said.

“We have been offering vaccines as soon as we get it we haven’t been letting it sit on our shelves or anything like that matter of fact the first day we got vaccines in the health department we were given immunizations the very same day.”

Until the vaccine becomes more widely available, Cooley encouraged patience as well as continuing to follow safety guidelines.

“I know everybody’s first question is ‘when am I going to get my shot?’” he began.

“To be honest I can’t tell you when you’re going to get your shot there’s a lot of things involved with it we’re certainly working as hard as we can to make sure you can get your shot and we can get it to you as quickly as we can.”

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