Decatur leaders speak on vaccine administration in the area

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – Leaders from the Alabama Department of Public Health and Decatur Morgan Hospital share that cases in the area are starting to show promise, but that is not a reason to celebrate just yet.

Decatur Morgan Hospital president, Kelli Powers, announced Monday their COVID-19 patient numbers are continuing to decline, all numbers dropping from last week, with the exception of 1 more COVID-positive ICU patient.

“I am happy to report that our numbers are down. We have 52 positive inpatients, 6 presumptive inpatients, 12 in ICU with 12 on a ventilator,” she said.

Michael Glenn with the Alabama Department of Public Health says the northern district’s hospitalization numbers are falling too, still high at 2,254 but trending downward. The focus now, he says, is getting those eligible groups vaccinated.

“That’s our biggest challenge right now is continuing to stay in vaccine. We’ve got enough vaccine at the health department to stay probably through this week, a full schedule through the week, and we do expect getting another shipment tomorrow,” he said.

Glenn said their shipments have been fairly steady, but Powers said that is not the case for the hospital.

“We have 250 appointments today but we’re trying to do 300. As Michael mentioned, the supply? We will run out. We have still only received our one allocation of 18-hundred so we’re trying to get more. We put in orders the week before last, last week and we’ll put in another order this week,” Powers said.

North Alabama health departments vaccinated 14,000 last week, 1,600 of those in Morgan County; but as people line the streets waiting for their chance to be vaccinated in the county, Powers is optimistic they’ll receive more supply soon.

“We hope to get some this week to continue with the appointments, but through tomorrow we will run out of what we have,” she said.

Powers and Glenn hope more vaccines receive Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA soon. They’re confident this will alleviate many of the supply issues currently being felt, and will also allow for more groups to be phased into the eligible category.

Glenn said in addition to more vaccines, more outlets to register for the vaccination will also help the process move more smoothly. He hopes the ADPH is successful in launching their registration website next week, which has been in the works since the COVID-19 hotline became overwhelmed almost immediately after being started.

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said the city is doing what they can to be ahead of any issues that could accompany this new outlet, like making it accessible to those who do not have access to internet.

“They can reach out to our churches and our churches will be staffed where they can take your information over the phone and then enter that information into the web portal when that time come,” Mayor Bowling said.

Bowling said this plan will pay off when more groups are eligible for vaccinations. For now, he said they are focused on getting all in group 1A, healthcare workers, first responders, and those aged 75 and older, vaccinated in a timely matter.

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