Optimistic “Presser” with Northern Inyo Healthcare District Staff on Covid-19 Vaccines

First Covid-19 vaccine shot given at NIH on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. The start of many more to come.

On Wednesday, Sierra Wave and other local news media had a presser (Zoom call) with the Northern Inyo Healthcare District which began vaccinating people over the age of 65 and older last Thursday, Jan. 14, for COVID-19 per new state guidelines.

A special phone line had been set up for vaccine appointments. It was quickly overwhelmed with incoming calls. In fact, there were over 10,000 attempted calls on the first day, followed by just under 10,000 the following day, Friday. The following Monday and Tuesday call volumes dropped as they anticipated down to about 1,000 a day, most in the morning hours. Residents can also register for an appointment at the Inyo County COVID-19 website.

Dr. Stacey Brown, director of the Rural Health Clinic said, “The feedback so far is awesome.”

A smiling Dr. Stacey Brown, director of the Rural Health Clinic said, “The feedback so far is awesome.” He continued on, saying “We’re sitting at about 225 scheduled appointments until we hear from the county or the state on how many they’re going to allocate to us this coming week.”

As of Wednesday morning, Brown said, “We have 1,100 people on the waitlist.” The hospital hopes to scale up the number of vaccinations from 60 to 90 a day, or maybe even 120 a day, but it’s all dependent on vaccine supply.”

“We’re getting a lot of really great feedback, they’re (the public) so happy,” says Brown.

One woman shared with Dr. Brown that she had not been out of her house since February of last year, and only then to come “get our vaccine, which ‘made my day,’” said Brown. “I mean, that was like, ‘Okay,’ this is why we do this! It was motivating for the entire medical staff to hear.”

Brown hopes the “Christmas crush (surge) is waning, and the curve seems to be flattening.” But there is a new, much more contagious variant out with greater “transmissivity” that in recent days some health and medical authorities fear may create yet another surge. Addressing that concern, Brown said that “All we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope the (lower numbers) trend continues.” It should be noted that reports say that all the current vaccines still work on providing an immune response on all the variants so far.

NIHD staff want to remind everyone that, as more and more people get vaccinated, having the vaccine isn’t a license to burn their masks. Even being vaccinated,” says Brown, “You can still transmit the virus.”

Flu shots are still very important!

When Sierra Wave asked Dr. Brown if the flu has been a factor this year as feared, he said, “There has been very little, if any, this year,” and that “most likely is because social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask ‘works’ to prevent infection from both the flu and Covid-19.”

Brown went on to say, “We have had two cases confirmed all season and we’re burning through flu tests. It would be such a much more complicated situation if you have to deal with COVID and the flu together.”

NIHD Chief of Nursing, Alison Partridge.

NIHD’s Chief of Nursing, Alison Partridge, says that  “the reprieve from the surge (for the medical staff) has been welcomed and we’re definitely seeing lower numbers at the hospital, which is fantastic.”

The good thing about having these pressers with NIHD is that local news media can keep our listeners and readers up to date with the latest information. Since the pandemic began ten months ago, we have come to accept that Covid-19 is here for a while longer, but there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”

The biggest difference we’re seeing now on our Zoom Presser calls is that there are more smiles on the faces and optimistic enthusiasm heard in the voices of the medical staff at NIH, along with a lot “thumbs up,” and admittedly a few “fingers crossed” All of which is a good thing. And don’t all of us, the public, the news media, our local health providers and the hospital workers, need that optimism about now?

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11 Responses to Optimistic “Presser” with Northern Inyo Healthcare District Staff on Covid-19 Vaccines

  1. BobK January 23, 2021 at 6:37 am #

    I recently read that Ca. is #50 of 50 states and 7 territories at getting the vaccine out to the people.

     
  2. Oldtimer January 22, 2021 at 7:54 pm #

    Amazing the dedication and professionalism of our public health officials and providers and county officials in the face of pervasive delusion and entitlement…

     
  3. Low January 22, 2021 at 2:53 pm #

    It’s understandable that the vaccine is in high demand and there’s only so much to go around. But who in the county is pushing the state and vaccine companies to ship more? Are the Board of Supervisors sleeping? What about the county health department? Where are our community leaders through this pandemic? They should be pressing for more vaccines to be shipped here because 1,100 people on the waitlist is a lot and it likely doesn’t represent everyone in county that wants a vaccine.

    If our local government officials aren’t pushing to get more vaccines for our locals then maybe they should remember why we voted for them in the first place.

     
    • Charles James January 22, 2021 at 6:17 pm #

      Do you believe that any of our local officials, or for that matter, our state officials have that broad a reach or kind of power and influence over our national politics and policies, not to mention influence with international pharmaceutical companies, and other national governments? They are neither omnipotent nor omniscient.

      The world’s resources are not limitless, nor can it create a vaccine for, in this case, a single virus, in such quantities as to immunize 7.5 billion people on this planet within a few weeks or just a few months. Set aside the fact for the moment that the United States represents only 4% of the world population, and yet, thanks to an incredible level of incompetence at the highest levels of our national, and, in far too many cases, state governments, we have by far the greatest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths world-wide. Our local officials are as much victims of all this as the public. Give them some credit.

      Our local officials and our local health care providers and workers are doing everything they can under very trying and extreme circumstances. They are overworked and exhausted. They do not deserve the criticism and abuse that they are receiving. None of us could do any better. We must all do our part to limit the damage to our and others health and wellbeing. We owe them our gratitude,” not criticism and unfounded abuse.

       
      • Squeaky wheels and empty syringes January 22, 2021 at 6:39 pm #

        I think what Low is asking is if anyone in Inyo County has pressed the State to send more vaccine. Other local news sources reported that Mono County made calls and pestered the State into sending them nearly 3000 doses last week, pointing out that they are ready to go with their vaccination plan and just needed the medicine. The State responded.
        Healthcare providers are so appreciated right now. Unfortunately they are bearing the brunt of many bad decisions made by countless individuals and politicians.
        Helpful tips like “hey, call and write the State and tell them you are ready to go and to send more vaccine” should be shared.

         
      • Low January 22, 2021 at 7:29 pm #

        If you read my previous post, I’m not referring to the local healthcare providers. They’re doing an outstanding job. I’m referring to our local elected leaders. It’s their job to lobby for the safety and health of locals and so far, all we’ve heard is from the useless Sheriff who doesn’t plan to enforce large gathering or masking calls even though it’s a state mandate.

        So again, and maybe this is a question best directed to them – what is the public health department and board of supervisors doing in an effort to get more vaccines to our community?

        Per L.A. times, 1.8 million doses have been administered in California. California has a population of 39 million. That’s 3.7% of the population.

        See the discrepancy? Our local elected leaders need to make sure that Inyo is getting its fair share of available vaccines because its their job.

         
        • Charles James January 22, 2021 at 8:20 pm #

          Thanks for the clarification. Frankly, Sierra Wave talks to elected officials, administrators, and health officials all the time as part of our ongoing coverage of this pandemic. Our impression is that they are doing all that they can…but you can also have too many fingers in the pie. More is not always better. And the axiom that “the squeaky wheel always gets the grease” is often not true. In fact, it can result in the opposite reaction. According to a recent phone conference we had with a local medical provider, our county and health officials in Inyo and Mono counties are calling the state every day. It’s a mess…and God bless them for their dedication. The vaccine will get here when it gets here no matter how many phone calls are made. Supply and Demand. The problem? Huge demand… and little supply (so far). Thanks again for taking the time to comment! It’s great to see our listeners and readers involved!

           
  4. Concerned Citizen January 21, 2021 at 7:57 pm #

    I would like to know what the hospital is doing to increase the number of people getting the vaccine when the vaccine is already at the hospital.. Some people are going to wait 2 months to get vaccinated when the vaccine is already available at the hospital. I know NIH wants to take victory laps on this one, but many of those who got appointments sat on the phone for hours to get an appointment and they could dedicate more resources to getting more people vaccinated. NIH failed the community on this one and needs to do better

     
    • Charles James January 25, 2021 at 9:49 am #

      For the record, Northern Inyo Hospital is doing excellent work in getting the vaccine they receive out into the community. They are NOT failing the community in any way. And they are not hoarding vaccine. The hospital has received only relatively small shipments of vaccine and what they have gotten, they are administering per the CDC and the state’s guidelines. The lack of vaccine around the state and country is a well-known and reported FACT. Sierra Wave has done several reports on the distribution and supply problems attendant to the vaccine.

       

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