DAVIDSON COUNTY — The Davidson County Board of Commissioners were provided an update last week regarding what turned out to be a week with no vaccines.
Davidson County Health Director Lillian Koontz explained to commissioners that for the week ending Jan. 23, her staff was not provided with COVID-19 vaccines. She said it was difficult for the 91 employees at the Davidson County Health Department, many of whom have to explain to residents that they cannot be vaccinated immediately.
“This week was quite a disappointment when we received zero vaccines,” Koontz said. “Heartbreaking to our staff who talk to folks every day who just want a vaccine. They’re trying so hard, but the supply is not even close to the demand in our community.”
The health department is vaccinating six days per week. Koontz said the organization cannot field every phone call and is having to turn some people away, because the supply remains insufficient.
According to Commissioner James Shores, his contact with Rep. Ted Budd’s office provided indication that Budd was working with the governor to determine why vaccines were not received. Commissioner Chris Elliott said he had spoken with Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Elliott acknowledged that she offered what he believed was a heartfelt apology. He also encouraged Koontz to “keep your head up” and realize what a tremendous job the health department is doing as the county’s only provider of the vaccine.
Despite the setback, new appointments were being scheduled on Monday. Those appointments were to be fulfilled at the Davidson-Davie Community College on Thursday and Friday, and at the health department on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.
Eligible residents are encouraged to call the appointment line number at 336-236-3096 or visit https://www.co.davidson.nc.us/976/COVID-19-Vaccine. Health officials ask those who would like to be vaccinated keep in mind that the health department has an extremely limited supply of the vaccine and that the appointment line call volume remains very high.
A total of 9,131 vaccines had been administered in Davidson County as of Jan. 25. At press time, 12,999 positive tests have been recorded in the county, 129 of whom have died. According to the NCDHHS, Thomasville’s 27360 zip code has reported 3,806 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, including 44 deaths.
Due to continual shifting of health department resources toward preventative measures, contact tracing is not available in the way the department was conducting it throughout the pandemic. The health department can no longer accurately report the number of individuals cleared from isolation or the number of those hospitalized.
Statewide, however, the NCDHHS reported that 2,782 people were hospitalized as of Jan. 31. Of the 757,526 total cases, 9,335 had died. Official statewide data on the COVID-19 pandemic is available at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-case-count-nc. Anyone with questions related to COVID-19 or who needs to know local testing sites can call the Randolph County Health Department at 336-318-6200.
Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.