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Floyd County starts online sign-up for COVID-19 vaccinations

Floyd County starts online sign-up for COVID-19 vaccinations
The 7-day average rolling positivity rate — the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who test positive — continues a downward trend, now reaching a low not seen since last July. Bob Steenson graphic.
By Bob Steenson, bsteenson@charlescitypress.com

Floyd County residents have another option to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week.

Floyd County Public Health announced Monday that it is now taking sign-ups for vaccinations online, “due to many suggestions from Floyd County residents.”

People can now go to www.floydcoia.org and click on COVID-19 SIGN UP to answer a series of questions including, name, age, birth date, gender, address, phone number and email address, and also if they fit into a category other than age 65 and older that previously qualified for the vaccine.

Those categories include health care providers, first responders, pre-kindergarten to grade 12 school staff, and child care workers, although most of those people have been given an opportunity to have been vaccinated previously.

The Public Health statement emphasizes that the web address is to sign up to get on a waiting list only, not to directly schedule appointments.

After people have signed up on the website, “Residents will then receive a call when vaccine is available, and appointments are being made,” the statement said, adding that “If you don’t answer when we call to schedule the appointment, we will move on to the next person and call when our next vaccine shipment arrives.”

Since vaccinations opened up to people age 65 and older in the county earlier this month, Public Health had made appointments for its vaccine doses through a call-in center, having people call in to a designated number where those who got through could set up their appointments for both their first dose and their boost dose.

Public Health Administrator Gail Arjes has explained that they didn’t want to get into a situation where people called in to be put on a list, then they had to be called back, potentially several times, to get information and to schedule appointments.

Arjes said their experience trying to phone people for COVID-19 contact tracing showed that people often don’t answer their phones.

With the online registration, the required information will have already been collected and call lists can be printed out for volunteers to contact to set up appointments.

“Floyd County Public Health would like to stress that the demand for the vaccine is extremely high and the supply is very low,” the press statement said. “It may be several weeks before you are contacted once you are signed up.”

Public Health again emphasized, “We continue to encourage everyone to wear a mask, wash hands often, stay home when sick, and maintain social distancing practices. Thank you all for keeping Floyd County safe!”

Additional distribution methods have also become available in the county starting last week.

Public Health is making 100 doses of its expected 300 doses per week available to Main Street Drug in Charles City to administer. A signup form is available at mainstreetdrugcc.com, and people will be called to schedule appointments.

The Hy-Vee Pharmacy in Charles City is also making appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. Persons can go to hy-vee.com/covidvaccine and click on the links to select the Charles City Hy-Vee, enter information and select an appointment time if any are still available for the currently available doses.

Extra doses likely became available in Floyd County this week, when the state took the expected doses away from Chickasaw County because the state said Chickasaw County had not met a requirement to distribute at least 80% of its available doses.

“It was just shocking,” said Chickasaw County Public Health Administrator Lisa Welter.

Chickasaw County was notified last Friday it would not be receiving doses for this week.

“I’m not going to lie,” Welter said. “We cried tears, both for the people of our county and for us. We haven’t seen our families — there are days we’re coming in at 7 a.m. and leaving at 7 or 8 at night — and we felt like we were doing a good job, that we were following the state’s guidelines.”

Welter said the county’s information matches up with what it is entered on the state Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS), but it doesn’t match up with state numbers.

She said as of Friday, the county had 100 doses it had not used, but they were slated to be given today (Tuesday) as part of a clinic. Even with the 100 vaccines remaining, Welter said she believes her department had met the 80 percent threshold.

The state disagreed and pulled the 200 vaccines Chickasaw County was supposed to receive this week. Instead, Welter was told that the county’s vaccines would go to Hy-Vee pharmacies.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” Welter said. “We had mass clinics scheduled for (this week) that we’re going to have to change, and to me, to know that our vaccines are going to Hy-Vee just makes no sense. We don’t have a single Hy-Vee in the county.”

Chickasaw County was one of five counties in the state that were notified last week that their vaccines were being withheld for not meeting the 80% threshold. The others are Washington, Buchanan, Hancock and Poweshiek.

— New Hampton Tribune Editor Bob Fenske contributed to this report.

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