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Home > Featured > Health District aims to vaccinate more seniors, appeals for help

Health District aims to vaccinate more seniors, appeals for help

By Sudhiti Naskar
Henry Westcott, an 89-year-old Korean War veteran and volunteer at the county's COVID-19 testing site, was among the first to be vaccinated in Washoe County on Dec. 23, 2020.

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Washoe County Health District is aiming to vaccinate more seniors in the community this week. 

“We have sent email invitations to over 4,000 seniors ages 70 and older to get vaccinated,” said Health Officer Kevin Dick during a COVID-19 update on Wednesday. 

The seniors who have received the email still need to respond to questions listed in the email. Just getting an email does not secure their spot for vaccination. 

“We have had seniors turning up at the vaccination POD without scheduling an appointment,” said Dick. This created an untoward situation for the vaccine staff and the elders. 

“We were not able to get them vaccinated because they were not able to go through the process” of signing up, he said. 

This is why the county is appealing to everyone in the community to help seniors to sign up for vaccinations or help them in other ways in their efforts to get vaccinated. 

It would be great “if you can connect with them, talk to them and find out if they were able to get vaccinated, if they haven’t if you are able to help them,” said Dick.

There have been seniors receiving spam emails or calls preying on them in the name of COVID-19 vaccination. Plus, the district discovered situations when seniors had problems navigating the digitized system for signing-up. 

As for the pandemic situation, the district is reporting reasons for both celebration and alarm. 

New case numbers for COVID-19 continue to trend downward, reported the health district. 

There have been 100 new cases per day on a seven-day moving average since Feb. 4. On Tuesday, the county reported only 13 news cases of COVID-19. 

Additionally, the seven-day moving average in the county is 87 new cases of COVID-19 per day. 

The county is also reporting a decrease in active cases in the community. 

The positivity rate has been 11% as of Wednesday, down from 22% a few weeks ago. 

But the county remains flagged for its test positivity rate and number of new cases under the metrics set by the state in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. 

“We really need people to continue to do the great work they have been doing with the community,” said Dick. 

Also, Dick said that it is “highly likely” the more infectious “U.K. variant,” B.1.1.7 strain of the virus is here in the county, repeating the cautions issued last week on the coronavirus. 

Two counties in California reported that they have recorded cases of the U.K. variant among two individuals who traveled to Washoe County. Also, the close connection between Clark and Washoe makes it highly possible that the variant is here, said health district officials. 

Vaccination

Washoe County has administered 75,432 COVID-19 vaccines covering 15.73% of Washoe County’s vaccine-eligible population. Breaking down the two-dose versus one-dose recipients, a little more than 4.5% of the county’s eligible population has received both doses, and just over 11% have received just the first dose. 

More than 80% of the population still needs to be vaccinated. 

Approximately 16,600 people have been vaccinated since the health district’s report last Wednesday, said Dick. 

“We are making good progress,” said Dick. “We have administered over 13,000 vaccinations today, and over 10,000 of those individuals are fully vaccinated.” 

The county is also working to vaccinate frontline workers, teachers, elderly people and the homeless population by following a data-driven and scientific approach recommended by the Vaccination Playbook. 

This week, the state released a document stating that the county has received 49,135 first doses of vaccine, which is the second highest in Nevada after Clark County that received 200,465 first doses. 

Numbers at-a-glance in Washoe County

  • Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 42,135 up from 41,586 (2/3)
  • Deaths: 623 up from 607
  • Recovered: 31,101 up from 30,301
  • Active Cases: 8,411 down from 10,678
  • Hospitalized: 100 down from 102
  • Vaccines administered in Washoe County total: 75,432 up from 58,873
  • Tests performed: 356,765 up from 348,477

According to the Nevada Hospital Association, in Washoe County as of Feb. 10:

  • 67% staffed hospital beds are occupied (+2% since 2/9)
  • 65% of all licensed hospital beds are occupied (+3%)
  • 51% of all Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+0%)
  • 20% of all ventilators are in use (+0%)

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

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