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Next phase of Floyd County COVID-19 vaccinations set to start Monday, with vaccine very limited

Next phase of Floyd County COVID-19 vaccinations set to start Monday, with vaccine very limited
Source: Iowa state COVID-19 stats website,
By Bob Steenson,

Floyd County recorded its latest COVID-19 death on Thursday, bringing the total to 37 since the pandemic started, as the county begins to start the next phase of vaccinations.

Floyd County Public Health announced Thursday afternoon that it has authorization to begin vaccinating Phase 1B Tier 1, which includes everyone age 65 and older, but because of a shortage of vaccine it will concentrate first on specific groups within the tier.

“Vaccine is in very short supply,” Floyd County Public Health (FCPH) announced.

“FCPH did not receive any vaccine the last two weeks and will only receive 100 doses for the week of Feb. 1,” it said.

“With minimal vaccine, FCPH and community partners will prioritize the use of this vaccine to work on getting first responders, day care providers and school staff vaccinated. We know school staff, day cares and first responders are at a high exposure level every day and some are at high risk,” it said.

“As vaccine allotments increase, FCPH will move forward with mass clinics. A call center will be set up to schedule an appointment,” the announcement said.

At this time there is no list, it said.

A call center will be set up in the Emergency Operations Center at the courthouse, staffed by members of the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and others, when sufficient doses of the vaccine are available to start scheduling people, county officials have said.

The goal is that only one call will be needed for each person to call in to schedule a time to receive the vaccine, likely at a vaccination clinic to be set up at the Youth Enrichment Center at the Floyd County Fairgrounds.

What county officials are trying to avoid is people calling to be put on a list, then having to be called back, perhaps several times, to actually schedule the shot.

Once appointments are available, the phone number to call will be posted in local media and on the department’s Facebook page,

“We ask that everyone please continue to be patient, wear a mask, maintain a 6-foot distance from others, wash hands frequently and stay home when ill,” the department said Thursday.

Although Floyd County recorded another COVID-19-related death this week, the county also showed its lowest 7-day rolling positivity rate since last August, coming in at 5.0%. The last time it was lower than that was Aug. 28, when it was 4.8%.

The positivity rate is the percentage of people who are tested for COVID-19 who test positive. The 7-day or the 14-day rolling average looks at the average test rate in the past week or two weeks.

Responding in part to the declining positivity rate and low absentee rates, the Charles City Public School District resumed in-person classes for all grade levels on Wednesday. Younger grades had already been attending classes in person, and grades 7 to 12 went from a hybrid mix of in-person and virtual classes to all in-person classes, although online instruction remains an option for any family that chooses it.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced recently that Phase 1B of the vaccination rollout would start Feb. 1. There are five tiers for distribution, although persons age 65 and older will be eligible in any tier once sufficient vaccine is available.

The order of distribution for Phase 1B will be:

Tier 1 — First responders such as firefighters, police officers and child welfare social workers; and pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade school staff, early childhood education and child care workers.

Tier 2 — Food, agriculture, distribution and manufacturing workers who work in or live in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing; and individuals with disabilities living in home settings and their direct care staff.

Tier 3 — Staff of and individuals living in congregate settings (does not include college dormitories); and government officials to ensure continuity of government including staff, engaged in state business at the Iowa Capitol during the legislative session.

Tier 4 — Inspectors responsible for hospital, long-term care and child safety.

Tier 5 — Correctional facility staff and individuals incarcerated.

Phase 1A, which started Dec. 28, included long-term care facility residents and staff and other medical and health professionals and staff, including the staff at the Floyd County Medical Center.

The next phase, Phase 1C, for more general populations, will begin “in the spring,” the Iowa Department of Public Health said, but no more specific date or list of persons eligible was available.

State figures show that as of Thursday, 441 vaccine doses have been administered in Floyd County, and 973 county residents had received one or more doses. Doses do not have to be received in the county of residence, but can also be received in the county of employment or for other reasons.

The state site said 224 people in Floyd County have received both required doses as of Thursday. That’s about 1.4% of the population of the county.