Commissioner says county vaccinating about 3,000 people weekly

Number of vaccinations given in Genesee County as of 1:40 p.m., Feb. 23. Screenshot from GCHD website

Number of vaccinations given in Genesee County as of 1:40 p.m., Feb. 23. Screenshot from GCHD website

BURTON — Genesee County Commission Ellen Ellenburg (D-Burton) said the county is administering about 3,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine weekly, according to a report she gave Wednesday to the Burton Chamber of Commerce.

Currently, she said, the county has 50,000 residents pre-registered individuals, as of Feb. 16, and as quickly as doses are received the county is putting them in people’s arms.

So far, 15,309 residents have been vaccinated by the Genesee County health Department, she said.

“Obviously the demand is far greater than the quantity we have right now,” said Ellenburg. “Right now, we are still in the categories of 1A and 1B, which includes police, fire, medical professionals and anyone 65 and up.”

She said the county is trying to vaccinate the 75-year-olds and up before vaccinating those 65 and older.

Ellenburg added there has been “great cooperation” between the three hospitals and the health department in getting vaccines out to those in need.

As supplies of the vaccine increase, she said the county is working to set up two mass vaccination sites at Bishop International Airport and Flint Northwestern High School. In addition, she said the health department has been doing “pop-up sites” using data to reach some of the most vulnerable residents.

“Using our data, we’re hitting those hot spot areas,” said Ellenburg. “We’ve been identifying and focusing on those areas.”

Ellenburg said the county has also been focusing on vaccinating teachers and as of Feb. 12 had vaccinated 60 percent of the teachers in Genesee County.

“We continue to do a thousand a week in hope we can get school back (face-to-face) across the county,” she said.

Genesee County not delaying in its vaccination efforts, said Ellenburg, adding as soon as the health department receives shipments of the vaccine it will be scheduling appointments. To get an appointment visit to register. Once registered, the health department will be in contact to schedule an appointment.

Ellenburg said the Bishop Airport site will be in the big parking lot across the street from the airport on Bristol Road. The site will utilize large, heated tents that will allow people to drive-through and put their arm out the window of their car so they can be given the vaccination.

“You won’t get out of your car, those will be heated tents, so workers aren’t outside in frigid weather,” she said. “We want to accommodate our volunteers and make sure they are safe.

Ellenburg also urged residents not to register more than once with the county website. Registering multiple times just creates more overlap and makes it so those who handle the scheduling have to purge more data out of the system.

Kristy Spann, superintendent of Bentley Community Schools, also attended the chamber’s Zoom meeting and she said, according to data put out recently by the Center for Disease Control, that Genesee County is in Level Blue of the pandemic scale, of which there are four levels, blue being the lowest rate of transmission and positivity.

“We are currently, in Genesee County, at a positivity rate of 3.7 percent,” she said. “That’s less than 5, again. And the cases per 100,000 are 7.65 percent. So again, that keeps us in this Blue category with low transmission, which is great for us in the schools.”

Spann said the CDC cited five mitigation strategies the public is supposed to focus on. They are universal and correct mask use, physical distancing, hand washing and good respiratory etiquette, cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities and contact tracing.

She said Bentley and other school district across the county are grateful to the county for helping reach the 60 percent vaccination rate among educators.