Home > Featured > County has dispensed 6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine (updated)

County has dispensed 6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine (updated)

By Sudhiti Naskar
Published: Last Updated on

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As of Wednesday, 6,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been dispensed through the Washoe County Health District since the vaccination drive started on Dec. 23 at the county’s vaccination pod at the Reno Livestock Events Center. This is “close to 70% of the allocation of vaccines received by the health district” thus far said health officer Kevin Dick during the weekly COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

Dick also said that the county is experiencing difficulty with rolling out the vaccines.

“There’s less vaccine that’s being allocated than what’s requested,” said Dick.

However, after This Is Reno reached out to confirm the totals, the district’s official response was that Dick misspoke. The district “received 100% of the allocation we requested, which is 21,505,” said spokesman Scott Oxarart via email.

Each week Nevada receives an allocation for the vaccine from the federal government. “Staff assess the allocation against the needs of each county and then work directly with counties to determine equitable orders for each county for the upcoming week,” said Shannon Bennett, state’s Immunization program manager for the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

Vaccination continues this week

Vaccination will continue for individuals in Tier 1 tomorrow through the pod and then again on Saturday, with a capacity of 1,200 people to be scheduled through the pod.

Health officials have said repeatedly that the COVID-19 vaccine is one-of-a-kind and comes with challenges. With the health district, one of the challenges seems to be the flow of information.

The vaccination in other tiers will happen subsequently, Dick added, pointing out that as vaccination for Tier 1 is gradually coming to conclusion, Tier 2 vaccination will start. This is consistent with the state’s vaccine playbook.

Going forward, community partners, like schools, doctors, businesses and large employers will need to step up to “help in administering vaccines to their employees as well as others in the Tier 2 age group,” said Dick.

The process for these groups to administer vaccines has a few requirements. First, they’d need to register with the state and federal government for vaccine allocation by working with a doctor who has a Physician Identification Number. Many large employers have some nursing support, but smaller employers would need to work with a nurse who would administer the vaccine. They’d also need a staff member to enter the vaccination data in WebIZ, the state’s vaccination database, as well, said Dick.

A Washoe County public health nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine.
A Washoe County public health nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine. Image: Eric Marks

The Washoe County School District was scheduled to meet with the health district this afternoon to start the process.

If the businesses and institutions are unsure how to coordinate with the district’s vaccination rollout they can email covidvaccine@washoecounty.us* for more information and get in the loop for the process. 

As more vaccines become available, area pharmacies will partner with the district in making the vaccines available. “But we are not there yet,” said Dick.

As vaccination for Tier 1 is coming to a conclusion, the district has been given a “green light” for including K-12 school staff, said Dick. The district will start moving in that direction in the coming days.

Regardless of the availability of a vaccine, officials are recommending caution for everyone. “We do not have scientific data on the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines yet to know whether people who are vaccinated can still carry the virus and transmit it even though they don’t become sick,” said Dick.

Also, it is difficult to know who has been vaccinated and who hasn’t. This is why “we all need to continue wearing masks,” said Dick, and follow social distancing and handwashing measures to “protect each other” as the community moves through the vaccination process.

How do I know if I am on the vaccination list?

Dick said that employers will inform employees who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Many Nevadans seem to not have a clear idea of how the process works, resulting in large numbers of phone calls and emails directed to the district. It is slowing down the process, said Dick.

COVID-19 situation

As of Wednesday, Washoe County is logging in 518 deaths with the total number of cases surpassing 37,000. The test positivity rate is at 17.9% per day on a 14-day moving average.

The slightly lower positivity rate, as compared to the past few weeks (20% on an average), can be attributed to low levels of testing, as indicated by Dick last week.

Per the latest official data from the state’s county tracker, Washoe County is testing only 312 people per 100,000 population on a seven-day-moving average.

The district also remains concerned with “incredible strain” caused by COVID-19 infections in Arizona and California as Nevada shares borders with these states, and visitors come to Nevada for business and entertainment.

The county is not out of the woods yet, said Dick.

Numbers at-a-glance in Washoe County

  • Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 37,126, up from 35,451 (12/30)
  • Deaths: 518, up from 483 (12/30)
  • Recovered: 21,658, up from 20,691 (12/30)
  • Active Cases: 14,950 up from 4,277, (12/30)
  • Tests performed: 306,565 up from 296,856 (12/30)
  • Hospitalized: 222 down from 305 (12/30)

According to the Nevada Hospital Association, in Washoe County as of Jan. 6:

  • 78% staffed hospital beds are occupied (+2% since 1/5)
  • 66% of all licensed hospital beds are occupied (+6%)
  • 52% of all Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+1%)
  • 29% of all ventilators are in use (+1%)

NOTE: Numbers are for all hospital patients in Washoe County and not just COVID-19 patients.

*Update: This email address has been corrected after it was mis-stated during the media call.

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