Colusa County health officials anticipate the completion of Phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccination schedule by the end of the week, but vaccine allocation and new changes to the statewide vaccination schedule have presented some challenges.
According to a release issued by the Colusa County Department of Health and Human Services, more than 200 healthcare workers and skilled nursing residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine to date.
Marcos Kropf, Colusa County Counsel, said 71 doses were also dispensed to fire personnel Jan. 5.
Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the reprioritization of individuals age 65 and older into Phase 1B Tier 1 of the California COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, moving this group next in line in Colusa County. Others that fall within this tier are intermediate care facilities, Home Health and In Home Support Services staff, public health and Department of Public Social Services staff, community health workers, primary care and community clinics and stand-alone urgent care staf.
“While this change is an attempt to increase vaccine distribution it does not address the key components local governments need to support the plan, which includes an increased allocation of vaccines and additional staffing resources,” it was stated in the release.
The Colusa County Department of Health and Human Services submitted its required Vaccine Plan to the state on Jan. 4 and requested 15-20 National Guard staff to support local vaccine distribution, but the state has not responded at this time, according to the release.
“Our agency has lost all confidence in the state’s ability to effectively manage vaccine planning and is concerned with the spreading of misinformation,” said Colusa County Health and Human Services Director Elizabeth Kelly. “In Colusa County, we are committed to proceeding with a plan that is realistic, targeted, equitable and effective. Human lives are at stake and we cannot continue to be derailed by unsubstantiated changes that continue to lack in the necessary tools and resources needed to execute, including actual vaccines here is the county, and the staff to actually administer vaccines accordingly.”
Kropf said at this time the county is working toward getting IHSS workers vaccinated followed by other first responders in accordance with the state’s vaccine phasing plan.
“We don’t have hard dates because we are reliant on what we are allocated by the state...we basically get vaccines out as they are allocated to us,” said Kropf.
As vaccine distribution continues, positive case numbers are continuing to rise in Colusa County.
Unlike previous surges in positive cases, Kropf said it is difficult to attribute the rise to one single event such as Christmas.
As of Tuesday, health officials reported 1,733 positive COVID-19 cases within the county – an increase of 69 new cases since Jan. 12.
Of the total COVID-19 cases reported within Colusa County, 416 are active cases in isolation – including seven individuals that have been hospitalized at this time.
To date, 1,308 people have recovered from the virus and nine virus-related deaths have been reported.
Starting last week, the county no longer reports the number of individuals in quarantine due to changes in case investigation and contact tracing protocols.
“Given the large volume of cases, although we continue our best efforts at contract tracing, the emphasis is now on individuals who test positive to directly communicate with others they may have exposed regarding the need to quarantine,” said Kropf. “They are asked to make those communications because they are in the best position to do so, it speeds up the process of informing those potentially infected, and appears to be generally more effective.”