PCPH offers updates on latest COVID numbers, vaccinations

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    During a COVID-19 and vaccine distribution update to the Polk County Board of Commissioners this week, Polk County Public Health Director Sarah Reese shared that PCPH recently received the “Reaching Out to Serve” award from RiverView Health where they were nominated for their work during the pandemic plus informed the board that 25% of county residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Reese added that her department made the decision Tuesday morning to expand vaccinations to Tier 3 priority groups as their supply could accommodate more people.

    Polk County is approaching 3,500 positive COVID-19 cases, but new cases have remained low over the last week which Reese thought was “awesome.”

    “In November there were 300-400 new cases per week and last week we had 15 cases,” Reese explained. “We want it to continue that way.”

    She also touched on the county being “blessed” with the amount of vaccine providers and being able to offer COVID vaccines “close to home.”

    “We are very happy our performance level (on vaccinations) is at 100% as we have gotten all vaccines received administered for our goal; the target is at 90% for the state,” Reese continued. “In terms of population we have completed 16% of our population and just over 5,000 (people) have completed their series (of vaccinations).”

    When asked by District 4 Commissioner Joan Lee if any vaccination clinics were planned for businesses, Reese said they’ve talked about it, went on site once or twice and then decided they wanted to be equitable and find a place where workers would feel most comfortable. She gave the example if there were 1,000 people in a food processing plant and they only had 300 vaccinations available it might be uncomfortable, plus there are “lots of different ways for the vaccine to be distributed” and said she wants to get the vaccine out to people “as quick as we can to the people that want it.”

    “I encourage anyone to contact their health care provider and Polk County Public Health to see if it’s their turn (for the vaccine),” she added.