BISBEE — Alicia Thompson, Cochise Health and Social Services director, decided to answer a text from the Arizona Department of Health Services even though she was in a work session with the county Board of Supervisors Friday.
She was glad she did as it was a question asking if the county would like an additional 600 vaccine doses next week along with the 3,400 she was expecting.
“Excuse me, I have to take this,” she said. “We’re getting 600 more doses.”
Last week, the county received 3,400 doses, but the state contacted her and asked if she could use another 2,000. Of course, she said she could.
With the partnership the county health department has with local medical providers, the 2,000 doses were quickly taken up and ended up in people’s arms, she said.
Craig Janiszewski, Public Health Emergency Preparedness coordinator, told Supervisors Ann English, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby 1,616 doses were given on Thursday, Feb. 11. With last week’s allocation, the county has received 19,900 doses.
“We will continue to engage the over-65 demographic,” he added. “Our efforts are paying off.”
Camila Rochin, the county’s new public information officer, said she would work on getting information out to county residents.
In welcome news, Janiszewski reported the state website for vaccine registration was improved and people no longer had to re-input personal information every time they signed on. However, they still have to answer the questions that place them in a category.
English said, “They keep asking for all this information. I had to enter my Social Security number again and again. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve already given you my number twice.’ We let the state know about it.”
Janiszewski said, “The state hears us and continues to make improvements.”
English asked about the status of the new form the state requires from the county’s partners and if there had been any complaints about the added time it required.
Thompson assured her there were no problems as the county had already asked for the information and the partners were complying with no complaints.
Tammi Jo Wilkins, emergency preparedness specialist, told the supervisors the federal retail pharmacy program was open and now Fry’s in Sierra Vista and Safeway Pharmacies in Benson, Bisbee, Sierra Vista and Willcox were set to open registrations.
She said the county’s pharmacies have joined in the partnership and will provide the numbers of vaccine they receive and the inoculations they give to the county. The pharmacies order and receive vaccine from the federal government, not the state or county.
Judy Lund, county Emergency Services director, said she had no solid answer form the state on when Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection officers would receive their vaccinations. The veterans administration in Tucson was offering the shots there, but they are receiving only small allocations.
She told them the county did include officers in the category for law enforcement.
“They can register with us, or Tucson,” she added.
English said, “They’re in a vulnerable position. I wanted them to be included and not turn them away.”
All three supervisors commended the job Thompson, Lund, Wilkins and Janiszewski and team and the partners were doing to get the county population inoculated.
Two masks recommended
Thompson discussed the importance of correctly wearing masks and cited the latest from the Morbidity and Mortality Report. It stated the most important thing one can do in wearing a mask is to ensure it fits tight across the face. It also recommended people wear two masks, such as a surgical mask and a cloth mask over it.
It stated, “The results indicated that when filters are secured over a medical procedure mask, they can potentially increase the wearer’s protection by 90 percent for aerosols in the size range considered to be the most important for transmitting COVID–19.”
It also suggested tying knots in the ear loops to ensure a tight fit.