The Lyon County Commission met for an action session on Thursday morning and received a COVID-19 update from Lyon County Public Health Administrator Renee Hively and County Health Officer Dr. Ladun Oyenuga.
Hively reported that the health department will hold its first large vaccination on Saturday, as well as a smaller clinic on Friday.
“This will start being the trend as we moved forward, with the revax happening and an initial, so there will be at least two days a week that we will be offering point of dispensing vaccination clinics, so they’ll be really, really busy getting that taken care of,” Hively said.
In addition to several members of the community, the health department has successfully vaccinated all employees of Newman Regional Health and Holiday Resort.
Hively also gave an update in regard to the health department’s contingency plan in the event that a vaccination clinic must be canceled due to inclement weather.
“That will mean that we’ll have excess vaccine the next week with the allocations from this date,” she said. “At that point, … I will try to give [Cathy Pimple of Newman Regional Health] as much notice as I can so that they could set up a pod too, and then we’ll just offset some of that vaccine [from the canceled clinic] over to them and then we’ll have both entities vaccinating during that week.”
Emporia State University has been helping with the vaccination process, Hively said, including offering the biology department’s ultracold portable refrigerator for storage in case the health department receives the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at a temperature between -112 and -76 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hively said that the number of people on the waiting list for the vaccine continues to hover around 1,500, ebbing and flowing as some people get their vaccines and others sign up.
While the health department continues to vaccinate individuals in the community, Oyenuga estimated that in order for positive case numbers to drop as a direct result of the vaccine, about 70 to 75 percent of the community would need to be vaccinated. She guessed that this would probably be sometime during this summer.
Commissioners sought clarification on the physical reactions people have had in response to the vaccine and what can be done to alleviate those. Hively explained how the vaccine works in the body and why people have uncomfortable reactions to it, often several hours after receiving the dose.
“The vaccine is supposed to induce an inflammation response and that then triggers your body,” Hively said. “It’s how our body trains that virus and the immunity to react to it.”
Oyenuga explained that people can take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve or Theraflu after experiencing symptoms, but should not take any of these medications prior to receiving the shot.
“When you take ibuprofen before, you’re decreasing your chances of a full, robust response to the vaccine,” Hively added. “So [the Center for Disease Control] say[s] wait until you start becoming symptomatic after that second one and then you can take something. But don’t take anything before. You want to let it grab hold pretty good.”
“I’ll say one thing that everyone agrees on,” Oyenuga said. “Those side effects, no matter how significant they are, they’re worth it rather than having COVID.”
Based upon recommendations from Hively and Oyenuga, the commission decided to keep the current public health order as is and will reexamine it in March. Hively pointed out that they can tell that the public health order is having a positive effect on the community because their clinic has yet to see one influenza case this year.
“That is directly because people are wearing masks and they’re social distancing, so we know that, hey, the mitigation strategies are working for other things too,” Hively said. “That’s nice.”
Commissioners asked and Hively and Oyenuga confirmed that those who have received both doses of the vaccine do not need to quarantine after a close contact unless that close contact is with a fellow household member.
During Thursday’s session, the Commission also:
F Temporarily abated property taxes on a property for sale so that a potential buyer will have a clear title.
F Approved an entrance on the 1820 block of Road G for a trucking company.
F Approved the graveling of the first mile off the turnpike of Road 170 between Roads F and G to due to severe deterioriation of the concree.
F Gave directions to put up signs on 51 roads to mark them as minimum maintenance roads to protect the county from liability.
F Approved the payment of $5738 to Kansas Securities to improve security in the kitchen at the Lyon County Detention Center and the payment of $5,342.50 to Kansas Securities to increase security and accountability in the Sheriff’s Office basement, which stores evidence near a conference room that is available for public use.
F Approved a consultant fee to BG Consultants to replace a generator at the Lyon County Detention Center (totalling $32,000) and a domestic water storage tank (totally $19,000).