By REBECCA HAZEN
According to a press release, the Georgia Department of Public Health is launching a new COVID-19 vaccine dashboard on their website, dph.georgia.gov.
The dashboard will update daily at 3 p.m. and will include information such as:
• The number of vaccine doses that have been administered in Georgia and reported to the Georgia Registry for Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS), broken out by first and second doses.
• Number of vaccine doses administered by a Georgia provider per 100,000 residents, broken out by first and second doses.
• Vaccine doses administered by county and by day.
• Race and ethnicity data of vaccine recipients.
• And the total number of vaccine doses that have been shipped to Georgia from the federal government’s allocation for the state.
According to the vaccine dashboard, Dade County has administered 3,572 doses of the vaccine, which includes 2,682 of the first dose and 890 of the second dose. Over 1,750,000 doses have been administered in the state of Georgia.
The Dade County Sentinel was unable to reach out to the Dade County Health Department for comment before press time.
At Dade Health and Rehabilitation, Administrator Trina Massengale said, “We do not have any positive cases and we haven’t for a while. We are not in outbreak mode.”
According to their Facebook page, during the most recent weekly facility-wide testing, all residents and staff tested negative. Prior to that, in early February, one employee tested positive. This employee was quarantined at home.
Melissa Clines, assistant director of nursing at Dade Health and Rehabilitation, reported that of the residents, 76 percent have received the first dose or are totally vaccinated. Twenty-four percent refused the second dose or completely refused vaccination. Seventy–two percent of employees have refused the vaccination and 28 percent are completely vaccinated with both doses.
COVID-19 cases are down in northwest Georgia, as well as statewide. Vaccinations are proceeding, but the supply is still erratic and inadequate at times, according to Logan Boss, Public Information Officer for Georgia Department of Health’s Northwest Health District.
Boss says that the state is past the post-holiday surge.
“Back in early January, things were the worst they’ve been since the pandemic started. We were at 300,000 cases per day, but by the first of this month it dropped by about half. We are seeing the same thing reflected throughout Georgia and here in northwest Georgia,” Boss said. “Positivity rates are down and hospitalizations are down, which is all very encouraging.”
Boss encourages people to not let their guards down just yet. People should still practice social distancing and wear a mask.
“The CDC has recommending double masking. I know that might be irritating, but that is based on scientific studies that have been done. It does increase the effectiveness,” Boss said.
Boss noted that there have been recent weather delays announced from the manufactures. In Dade County, the Health Department only schedules appointments when the vaccines are on hand. So, weather delays will not cause any cancellations of appointments, but it could keep the department from scheduling more appointments.
“Dade County government has done an excellent job of supporting the local health department by establishing and helping to man a call center. Catoosa County and Walker County governments have stepped up in similar manners,” Boss said.
Boss noted that the process of people trying to get the appointments set up has been the most difficult part of the process.
“Eventually people do get through and schedule appointments. The wonderful part is how efficient the health departments are once people show up for their immunization. The feedback we get back is all positive,” Boss said.
Boss does not know when the state will go into the next vaccination phase. That will be determined by Governor Brian Kemp.
Phase 1b will open up vaccination to essential workers who are not in health care, which will include jobs that are critical to public health, economics and public safety. This may or may not include teachers, the answer of which is not known right now.