Sweetwater County Sees Decrease in COVID-19 Testing, Vaccinations Continue

Sweetwater County Sees Decrease in COVID-19 Testing, Vaccinations Continue

This is just one of the many Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County employees who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. MHSC photo

SWEETWATER COUNTY — Sweetwater County continues to see a decrease in the amount of COVID-19 cases while Sweetwater County Public Health continues its vaccination program.

During an informational meeting with local elected officials and media representatives today, local health officials informed those in attendance that they are continuing to see a decrease in the amount of COVID-19 tests.

Castle Rock Medical Center Dr. Connie Fauntleroy said the center has continued to see a decrease in testing with about 30 tests being completed in one week. She said of those tested, there is about a 10 percent positivity rate.

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“Where we have been very busy is with vaccinations with COVID-19,” Fauntleroy said.

According to Dr. Fauntleroy, 1,800 people have been vaccinated at Castle Rock so far. However, they still have a lot of appointments available. One area of concern for Fauntleroy is she believes a lot of people are not sure if they qualify. She is encouraging those who have medical conditions to call and see if they meet the criteria.

Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Stachon added that the 1b phase has opened up to those with certain medical conditions for those who are 18 and older.

Deb Sutton, Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County marketing director and public information officer, said about 726 people received their second vaccine dose through the hospital this past week.

As for the hospitals positivity rate, their seven-day rolling total is around 10 percent for 60 roughly people they tested, Sutton said. Currently, one person is hospitalized at the hospital due to COVID-19 complications.

Sweetwater County Public Health Director Kim Lionberger said they are continuing to vaccinate those in the 1a and 1b categories. Last week, about 1,600 residents received the vaccine. So far, 762 are scheduled to receive the vaccine this week, but there are more appointments available.

If residents were having problems with getting through on the vaccination appointment line call center before, they shouldn’t have problems now since they have seen a huge decrease in the amount of calls, Lionberger said.

So far, about 60 percent of the over 70 age group have been vaccinated in Sweetwater County, Lionberger said.

We just continue to vaccinate lots of people. We’ve got the vaccine to do it.

~ Sweetwater County Public Health Director Kim Lionberger

Dr. Stachon said the county is not only distributing first doses at 100 percent, but second doses as well. The state’s average is 87 percent for first doses and 45 percent for second dose distribution.

As for moving to phase 1c, public health isn’t sure when this will occur, Lionberger said. All of this depends on how many vaccines they receive and how quickly they move through the 1a and 1b phases.

As for bad reactions to the vaccine, after a resident receives the second dose some are showing some signs of COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, chills and headaches, Lionberger said.

Lionberger said the first dose gives about 50 percent immunity, while the second and first dose combined gives about 95 percent immunity.

The majority do not get sick enough to stay home, Dr. Stachon said.

“If you are going to have a reaction it will be after the second dose, not the first,” Dr. Stachon said.

Both Lionberger and Dr. Stachon agreed that the side effects are mild and much less severe than contracting the virus itself.

Lionberger said when she contracted COVID-19 back in November she felt terrible for 10 days, while after receiving her first vaccine dose it was only one day of feeling off and it was no where near as horrible as she felt in November.

Dr. Stachon said soon local pharmacies may have the vaccine available for residents. The federal government is trying to get pharmacies to give out vaccinations. So far locally, Walmart is supposed to be receiving some. As too how many doses and when the pharmacy would receive them, Dr. Stachon didn’t know.


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