Frustration over vaccine continues; County focusing on disadvantaged communities

Cheyanne Neuffer

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Despite six additional deaths in the last week and 82 in the last 76 days making 86 overall, coronavirus numbers in El Dorado County are beginning to look more promising.

“We are trending in the right direction, but it is going to take time to get there,” said El Dorado County’s Communications Director Carla Hass during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The county’s adjusted case rate is at 10.5 but needs to be at seven to start thinking about moving tiers which would loosen restrictions on local businesses.

Once the adjusted case rate remains at seven or below for two weeks, the county will be eligible to move tiers as outlined in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Hass said that the county numbers are showing that we are in good shape, or at least better shape than a few weeks ago.

The adjusted case rate is based on several factors, including population size, testing volume, positivity rate and health equity quartile positively rate. Regardless of population size, an adjusted case rate of seven is what all counties need to be at to be eligible for the red tier.

While the county numbers are moving into better shape, residents are continuing to find it difficult to receive vaccine.

Hass says that she understands that people continue to be frustrated.

“We can only do as much as we can with the supply we are given,” she said.

Since the vaccine became available, the county has received a total of 26,600 doses which is .38% of the states total vaccine allotment. That percentage hasn’t changed and is relative to El Dorado county’s overall population size.

As of Monday, the county has administered 22,000 of the 26,000 vaccine doses available.

Hass said that Placerville is administering about 156 doses everyday and South Lake Tahoe is doing about 96 a day. The county website still shows that they are not taking any appointments and that all clinics are completely booked

Residents who have received the first dose, should get a follow-up email scheduling their second dose. Hass said that they opened six clinics for second doses, and four of them filled up within hours. She said to respond as fast as possible when receiving an email.

Hass is urging people who are waiting for second doses to remain patient. The second dose can be taken up to six weeks after the first.

“I know it’s difficult to be patient with anxiety,” she said.

She said second doses will be available towards the end of the third week in February.

The county still has not received a response from the governor’s office regarding an increase in vaccine allotment.

During the meeting, Supervisor George Turnboo asked the community to reach out and send letters to the governor’s office asking for an increase of vaccine allotment to the county due to its high senior population in comparison to others in the state.

The county is also working with underserved communities to get residents tested, get more information about being tested and helping them get signed-up for vaccination.

The county is working with the El Dorado Community Foundation, Barton Health, Tahoe Resource Center and others trying to reach as much of the public as possible.

Hass said the county has been working on finding specific messaging to reach the Latino community through avenues that they are more comfortable with.

“We are going to where they are instead of having them come to where we are,” she said.

Currently, health workers, residents 75 and older and those working in the education sector, childcare, emergency services or food and agriculture are eligible for the vaccine. The county is estimating the in April to May, those in Tier 2 of Phase 1B will be eligible.

To receive an alert when you are eligible for a vaccine, fill out the form here.

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