Public health director updates Yates legislature
YATES COUNTY--County health officials are already working on a template for a local vaccine distribution plan, should one become available in the near future, the Yates County Legislature was informed Monday, Nov. 9. County Health Director Deborah Minor said members of her staff have been tasked with devising the template by the state and they have until Nov. 17 to submit it.
"It is a fast turnaround because it is due next Tuesday and we only got it last Friday," Minor said. "One of the things we are hearing is we are being encouraged to use a drive-through model. It's November now and it's starting to get cold, doing a drive through vaccine clinic in January would be pretty cold. So we are starting to put those plans in place,"
Minor said 173 residents are currently in ordered isolation or quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus with 12 new cases confirmed since Friday, Nov. 6. Along with working on a potential vaccine rollout, Minor informed the legislature she is also working with local school districts for the eventuality that COVID numbers will increase and force them to either close, increase testing or both.
"It only takes two or three positive cases to give us a positivity rate of 3 or 4 percent, so I am continuing to talk to school districts in case we go into the yellow zone," Minor said.
While Minor mentioned she has been talking to local health care providers about the possibility of rolling out expanded rapid testing, it has become readily apparent that school districts will have to play a large role themselves when it comes to expanded testing if it is deemed necessary.
"We are trying to work out all the details, we have also been talking about the possibility of schools having to do random testing of 20 percent of the district's employees weekly," Minor said. "As a local health department, we don't have the capacity to do all the work, so schools will have to take on a big part of that."
Legislative members asked Minor about the nature of the spread of COVID locally, and she pointed out the issue is community spread.
"Individuals who are in close contact with family members outside of the home and friends outside of their home," Minor said. "Social clubs, cards, dinners, birthday parties with extended family and friends. Every case in two weeks we can link it to these kinds of social gatherings."
The workplace is also a concern with employees becoming potentially lax regarding social distancing and wearing masks.
"People need to take the steps needed to protect themselves at work," Minor added. "Even if you are with extended family, wear a mask. I haven't seen my mother since spring, but if I were I would wear a mask."
Legislative members thanked Minor for her and her staff's hard work during the pandemic.
The legislature also extended a warning to Yates County residents to remember that hunting season is currently open and to operate under an abundance of caution as a result.
County Administrator Winona Flynn announced the public hearing for the proposed 2021 budget will take place next Thursday on Nov. 19.
The legislature voted to lift the countywide hiring freeze that had been put in place during the beginning of the pandemic. The vote, unlike most others during the meeting, was not unanimous.