BLUE RIDGE, Ga: The status of COVID-19 in Fannin appears to be trending in the right direction as positive cases begin to drop and vaccine providers become more readily available.
According to EMA Director Robert Graham, 11 percent of tests are coming back positive, but the health department is no longer giving COVID-19 tests. As a result, the capacity for administering tests might have decreased. The state still considers Fannin to be a high transmission county.
The health department transitioned to providing vaccines and partnered with the Kiwanis Club to use their fairgrounds as a vaccine location. Five days a week, the health department takes scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the fairgrounds. However, no one can currently sign up for a vaccine reservation because the health department’s waiting on more vaccines.
Vaccine availability depends on national supply. North Georgia Health Department spokesperson stated “We urge residents who are eligible for the vaccine but have not yet registered for an appointment to monitor our website and social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates as additional appointment times become available. All existing appointments are still valid. ”
“Definitely want to thank the Kiwanis Club for working with us. I think it’s a testament to our community that we were able to reach out to someone like that, and they were more than gracious to help us out. We needed a large facility like that,” Chairman Jamie Hensley stated.
On Tuesday, February 9, Fannin had a total of 18,062 cases, with 133 confirmed over the last 14 days. The COVID-19 variant hasn’t reached the county yet. Health officials claimed the current vaccine protects against the variant as well.
At the Fannin Regional Hospital, 15 percent of total visits are COVID-19 related. ICU capacity is between 80 to 100 percent with extended stays in the unit. The hospital’s experiencing 70 percent capacity on the medical-surgical wing, but bed availability increased over the last 24 hours. On any given day, the pending positive cases for COVID-19 range from 30 percent to 80 percent.
On Tuesday, Fannin Regional issued 404 COVID-19 vaccines.
The state granted Fannin Fire and EMS vaccine provider status, and they’ve administered 522 doses with 600 doses order. However, half of the ordered amount will serve as second vaccinations.
“Whether we get it or not, I don’t know or how long it will be before we get it, but hopefully, we’ll get some of it coming in next week,” Graham said.
Fannin EMS’s list of individuals requesting the vaccine exceeds 270 as of Tuesday. More people call in each day.
Currently, only Phase1A+ Georgians can receive the vaccine, so people who are 65 and older, a caregiver of a senior citizen, healthcare workers, law enforcement, public safety, and first responders.
Once the state opens vaccine distribution to educators, Fannin EMS and schools have created a plan to vaccinate the district’s employees at the schools. To lighten the health department’s load, they’ve offered to vaccinate utility companies like Tri-State Electric.
Georgia’s setting up some mass vaccination sites around the state, but not close to Fannin for the moment, Graham added.
No one in the fire department, EMS, or 911 is currently COVID-19 positive. Graham believes it showcases the care his employees are taking with their health and others.
Georgia Mountains Health Services also offers the vaccine to patients who make an appointment.