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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
According to Scott County Health Department (SCHD) RN Meghan VanDeVelde, COVID-19 cases in the county are on the decline.
In fact there were almost three times as many active COVID-19 cases two weeks ago, compared to this weeks numbers, released by SCHD Monday. According to the department’s numbers, there are only 13 current COVID-19 cases in the county, and only eight Scott County residents are in quarantine after coming into close contact with a positive COVID-19 individual.
“Things are better than they were two weeks ago,” VanDeVelde said. “This week as well as last week, I have been more comfortable with the lower active case number totals.”
VanDeVelde went on to say that an outbreak in a Winchester Grade School fifth grade classroom has not resulted in any additional cases after the initial detection of the outbreak.
“We had the initial issue with a 5th grade class at WGS having a handful of positive cases,” VanDeVelde said. “After those initial seven cases, we have had no more stem out of that situation.”
In addition, VanDeVelde reports that August’s outbreak at Scott County Nursing Center (SCNC) has been brought under control with no resulting COVID-19 related deaths.
“The Scott County Nursing Center has been COVID free for a few weeks now following the outbreak there,” VanDeVelde said.
VanDeVelde praised the management and healthcare workers at SCNC for their quick response to the outbreak, and she credits the SCNC for preventing additional spread and COVID-19 related deaths at the facility.
“Honestly, truly incredible work was done by their staff to ensure prompt identification of any illness and that helped to create the outcome that we had, which was no causalities,” VanDeVelde said. “Truly a great staff out there.”
SCHD continues to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics each Friday. VanDeVelde reports that, after this Friday’s expiration of SCHD’s store of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, subsequent vaccine clinics will use the Moderna vaccine. SCHD encourages residents to call ahead before showing up to get a vaccine.
“Vaccine clinics are still every Friday,” VanDeVelde said. “We like for folks to continue to call in if they are interested in a time slot, just so we can ensure we have enough doses thawed out. Our last date for the J&J vaccine will be this Friday, as it expires on Sept. 18. We will continue to have Moderna on hand and continue to offer that vaccine on Fridays.”
According to VanDeVelde, the only COVID-19 testing being performed by SCHD is as required medically or because of contact tracing.
“Our current testing criteria are for either those who need a test done for a medical procedure or have a doctor›s order sent to us or for Scott County close contacts who have developed symptoms and need testing,” VanDeVelde said.
Booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines, according to VanDeVelde, are still not being recommended for the general population, only those with compromised immune systems. “From what we know now about boosters, there has not been a change,” VanDeVelde said. The current recommendation for that small percentage of the population that is immunocompromised still remains. The booster has been recommended for the immunocompromised population – those in active treatment with cancer, transplant recipients or those on chronic high doses of corticosteroids which could impact their immune system.”
VanDeVelde expects more guidance on delivering booster shots to a broader section of the population by the end of the month.
“There is an expectation that by the end of September there will be further information regarding third doses for all,” VanDeVelde said. “Although there has not been any formal release of this information, it is expected that the guideline will be that the third dose will be able to be administered eight months after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna was given. It is still recommended to receive the same brand of the previous two vaccines as well.”
SCHD is in the process of preparing for seasonal flu prevention efforts, and the department expects to begin scheduling flu vaccine clinics next month.
“We began receiving our influenza vaccinations,” VanDeVelde said. “We will begin those clinics in early October.”
VanDeVelde said that flu vaccine clinics will take place in communities throughout the county.
“We plan to offer a clinic in Winchester, Manchester, Bluffs, and Alsey and Glasgow and will publish those dates and locations in the next couple of weeks,” VanDeVelde said.