Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to San Joaquin County residents that do not have access to them through healthcare providers such as Kaiser and Sutter Health will likely not start until early next month.
That is the result of weekly vaccine allotments from the state being cutback as well as orders to hold back 50 percent of all doses. The hold order is due to an effective vaccination requiring two doses 10 days a part. The fear is if the county doesn’t do that and future dose deliveries are reduced or are delayed thousands of people who have already received the first shot may be for naught given the second shot has to occur within 10 days.
Kaiser and Sutter Health intend to reach out to their members who are 65 and older. But they, like the county, are in a similar situation having received only a fraction of the vaccines they need. Kaiser has 1.2 million people over 65 in their system but to date but have only received 160,000 so far.
San Joaquin County as of Tuesday has administered 16,909 doses to the top priority population groups including frontline healthcare workers in hospitals and medical offices, fire and ambulance crews, and long-term care nursing facility residents. Those in the later part of the first tier in terms of priority such as police officers will be receiving the vaccine within the next few weeks.
The county currently has 17,116 doses on hand of which most are needed for the second shot.
The county’s goal — if the vaccine numbers originally committed to San Joaquin are sent — is to completely vaccinate the second targeted tier by late March. That includes those 65 and older, teachers, child care workers, essential frontline workers such as supermarket clerks, and those in the food processing and agriculture industries.
The third priority tier are transportation and logistics workers, those in jail or state prisons, those operating homeless shelters, critical manufacturing, those 16 to 49 with underlying medical conditions or disabilities, communication workers, energy workers, critical government workers, and then the homeless. The last part of that tier is people 50 to 64.
“A mass vaccination campaign for an infectious disease pandemic is a complex enterprise that requires balancing different strategies for allocation, distribution, administration, and access monitoring, while constantly working within an environment of shifting state guidelines and federal disbursement expectations,” Dr. Maggie Park, the county’s public health director, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. “It’s unclear when another shipment of vaccines will arrive or how many doses we will get, therefore we must carefully and thoughtfully administer our remaining surplus in ways that fill the gaps for those who need it most.”
The County will look to set up mobile and pop-up vaccine clinics at senior and community centers, high schools and other facilities in neighborhoods where census track data shows high-populations of residents that do not have access to traditional healthcare services. Vaccinations will be administered to those who register through the County’s vaccine registration system.
“What we want is to get our kids back in school and local businesses’ doors open,” noted Board of Supervisors Chair Tom Patti. “That starts with ensuring that older residents with limited or no healthcare coverage who are more likely to end up in hospital beds, get the vaccines they need.”
The County plans to communicate directly with area residents who qualify using a pre-registration system called “Sign Up Genius” to ensure that those who meet the Phase 1b qualifications are those who actually receive the vaccine.
“It’s really important that we administer what’s left of our vaccine doses evenly and equitably, and that we find ways to communicate with those who are less prone to use or rely on electronic media,” Park said.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, City Manager Miranda Lutzow touched on the priority tiers county health has been sharing with city officials.
She also noted COVID testing is available in Manteca at two sites; the Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Both sites will ask for an insurance card if you are insured. If you do not have insurance the test will still be provided free of charge.
Initially guidance from public health officials specified that only those that are exhibiting symptoms common with the COVID-19 infection should be tested, but that since been relaxed to allow anybody who wants to be tested to go through the process.
For additional information about Curative’s process (the firm that is doing the testing at the Civic Center on Wednesdays) visit their website at www.curative.com.
For more information about the testing offered at the Manteca Transit Center visit the San Joaquin County Public Health Services website at www.sjcphs.org and click on “testing information.” A link to register for the Moffat site is located on the website.
It is taking at least 10 days to get results back when the firm at the Transit Center does the testing. It is reportedly slightly quicker through Curative.
ICU capacity in
county at 138%
San Joaquin County — and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley region — are still a long ways from ICU capacity dipping to 85 percent. That is the threshold needed to go from the restrictive lockdown back to the highest of the four colored tiers that would allow things such as outside dining and hair stylists and such to reopen with restrictions.
The combined ICU capacity at the seven hospitals in the county was at 138 percent as of Tuesday. Eight-four of the 137 ICU patients — 61 percent — have COVID.
Eighty percent or 788 or the overall beds are in use with 319 beds occupied by COVID patients.
There are currently 6,506 active cases out of 767,000 county residents. Not everyone who tests positive becomes ill.
Since mid-March, there have been 58,290 COVID cases of which 50,998 have recovered.
Deaths stood at 786 on Tuesday.
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