Vaccine program reaches next phase
January 14, 2021
Crook County Public Health completed the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations at the end of last week and will be moving on to the next tier of candidates on the state’s priority list.
The phase 1a vaccination tier included front-line workers who are either most at risk of exposure to the virus or most likely to pass it on to people who are more vulnerable to its effects. This ranged from hospital and public health staff, EMS and fire personnel and law enforcement to home and residential inpatient healthcare providers and school nurses.
Those within the phase 1a group will receive a second dose of the Moderna vaccine one month after the date of the first dose.
Meanwhile, vaccinations are set to begin for people aged 70 years and over as part of the phase 1b subgroup. Candidates for the vaccine will be contacted when a dose becomes available.
In a statement, Crook County Public Health explained, “We cannot take walk-in appointments because we must use all ten doses in each vial within six hours of opening it. Therefore, scheduling reflects that restriction.”
Public health also cautions that no other vaccine can be given within 14 days before or after the COVID-19 vaccination.
The next phase of the vaccine prioritization schedule also focuses on those most likely to be exposed or suffer a more severe case of COVID-19. It is described by the Wyoming Department of Health as including “people who are 70 years of age or older and frontline essential workers who must interact with the public and are unable to consistently physically distance from others.”
For example, it includes K-12 education employees, child care service providers, U.S. Postal service and delivery service employees and employees of grocery stores, commercial meat processing plants, feedlots and other food supply chain facilities.
“Public Health continues to move through the vaccination phases as supplies are available,” said the statement. “We will keep the public informed as we move through each phase.”
To be placed on the waiting list for a vaccination, contact the public health office at 283-1142. You will be contacted once your phase has been announced and when a vaccine dose becomes available; the Wyoming Department of Health has confirmed that getting vaccinated is free and you will not be asked to pay any fees.
The vaccination schedule in Crook County is, of course, dependent on the availability of the vaccine at the state level. This county has been selected to receive the Moderna version because, unlike its Pfizer counterpart, it does not need to be stored at extremely low temperatures.
According to the Wyoming Department of Health, the state has now received 25,775 first vaccine doses, of which 17,000 are the Moderna. Of those, 14,257 have now been administered.
At this time, 6825 second doses have been received, all of them the Pfizer version, and 2145 of those have been administered.
Crook County received a total of 200 vaccines in December and is expected to receive 100 doses per week throughout January.
After a few weeks of dropping sharply, the number of active cases within Wyoming began to rise modestly over the last week. From 1380 last Monday, the number of active cases had increased to 1924 by this Monday.
The Wyoming Department of Health announced 25 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Thursday and 33 on Tuesday for a total of 58 in one week. Of those deaths, 28 were long-term care residents and 37 of whom had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk of serious illness.
The first announcement included two deaths in Crook County. Both were older women and residents of local long-term care facilities; both had health conditions recognized as putting patients at higher risk; one of the two deaths took place in November and the other in December.
As of Tuesday, the total number of deaths in Wyoming due to COVID-19 now sits at 522. Nine of those deaths took place in Crook County.
The total number of people to have been infected by COVID-19 also hit another milestone this week. On Sunday, Wyoming passed the 40,000 case mark.
The infection rate in Crook County has remained relatively slow over the week, with just six new confirmed cases and one probable case reported. This brings the county’s all-time total number of confirmed cases to 366, with 31 reported probable cases; at this time, eight of the confirmed and one probable case are active.
Hospitalizations continue to decline overall. After reaching an all-time high of 247 on November 30, the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus had dropped to 106 by Tuesday; Crook County currently has just one hospitalized patient.