Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
Henry County Public Health Director Shelley Van Dorin said 7,598 COVID-19 shots have been administered as of Tuesday morning in the county. That’s 42 percent of the eligible adults in the county.
Van Dorin’s report came at a Board of Supervisors meeting where she asked for the board’s consent to begin the process of hiring another public health nurse with state and federal grant money.
Finding another nurse may not be an easy task. Van Dorin said there is a shortage of nurses specializing in public health.
“It’s been a rough 15 months,” she said. “It’s hard to find public health nurses.”
The supervisors gave Van Dorin the green light to proceed but asked that she report back showing the funding mechanism for the position.
“I think I have enough grant money to cover a full-time position,” she said.
Van Dorin had some troubling news for the supervisors, too.
Positive COVID-19 tests in the county are now at 4 percent.
“I’m afraid it’s going up,” Van Dorin said.
She cited last weekend’s high school prom and upcoming graduation ceremonies and parties as potential events spreading the virus.
Currently there are between 47 and 57 people hospitalized in the Southeast Iowa region, 18 in intensive care units and 11 on ventilators. The number of people hospitalized has been growing in recent weeks, she said.
The number of people seeking vaccinations has slowed greatly.
“I think the people who really want it have made the time,” Van Dorin said. “We are having trouble filling our prime doses.”
Henry County has declined next week’s shipment of 400 more doses. Currently Henry County has 800 doses of prime vaccine and 250 doses of the second booster shots. Declining more doses next week will not affect the county’s ability to get future doses if the demand grows.
People who want vaccines should contact the Public Health department. On Thursday, a clinic will be offered at the Public Health offices from 4-6:30 p.m. Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be there for part of the time to help administer shots.
By offering the vaccination clinic in the evening, Van Dorin is hoping to attract a younger crowd.