EMTs will be allowed to administer COVID vaccine
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
While the number of COVID-19 cases has shifted downward statewide, Crawford County’s numbers continue to increase.
As of Jan. 2, there have been a total of 622 positive cases in the county. That’s an increase of 52 since the previous week’s total.
The seven-day positivity rate is at 13.41%, and seven people have died from COVID since the pandemic began early last year.
Crawford County remains in the orange zone, rated a 2.5, just below the threshold of 3, which would lead to the county being designated red.
At the Dec. 28 meeting of the coronavirus task force, members discussed what a red designation would mean, concluding it wouldn’t be a big change. That’s partly because most restaurants in the county are small and are already operating on the capacity for red zones, which is a maximum of 25. Orange counties may have up to 50 patrons in such establishments.
County officials closed the Crawford County Judicial Complex to walk-in traffic several weeks ago as well.
“It wouldn’t affect county government,” said Morton Dale, the commissioners’ representative to the task force. “We’re kind of one step ahead of them anyway.”
Task force members also discussed the COVID vaccine and said they have not heard of anybody having a serious reaction after getting it.
“The only reactions I’m hearing are the natural, normal ones: red and sore at the injection site,” said EMS director Tim Farris.
Dr. Martin Dixon said there have been only a few thousand recipients nationwide who have had relatively serious reactions. Gauging what that means is very difficult.
“We’re looking at stats we’ve never kept before,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s good, bad or indifferent.”
Officials currently have no idea when the vaccine will be available to counties to distribute.
An issue for small counties is that health departments don’t have the personnel for mass administration.
Farris said the state EMS commission had an emergency meeting in late December and voted to increase the scope of practice for EMTs, allowing them to administer injections. It’s a way to give a helping hand to local health departments, he explained.
Farris said this would be voluntary on the part of EMTs and paramedics. He noted he does have several staff who would be willing to help.
EMA director Aaron Bye said there is a state grant available to help pay wages for that extra help.
Dale asked Bye to get with the health department and make sure Crawford County has an application in.