The day – Health organizations in the region begin to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

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As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in Connecticut, local health districts and federally approved health centers in our area have started ordering and receiving shipments.

The United Community & Family Services Health Center in Norwich received 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday and began administering injections to its staff, including its chief medical officer, Dr Ramindra Walia, who was the first employee to receive the vaccine that afternoon.

Thirty staff members are expected to receive their first injections within the next two days. The health center has around 150 staff who are eligible to be vaccinated during the current round of vaccinations, named Phase 1a, which prioritizes frontline health workers and residents and nursing home staff.

Next week, the health center will begin opening appointments for area health workers who are not affiliated with a hospital system, said Cara Westcott, the centre’s operations manager.

After being initially told they would get involved in the process later, the state’s public health department recently asked local health districts to administer vaccines during the current round, including emergency medical personnel and first responders.

Steve Mansfield, director of the Ledge Light Health District, said his district ordered 200 doses of the vaccine on Wednesday that will be used to inoculate staff and members of his medical reserve corps. The district has been in contact with Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and other vaccine administrators in the area to find out who they are inoculating to find out what eligible populations it could help immunize.

It is expected that health districts will be able to order doses of vaccine on a weekly basis as needed and provided supplies are available.

“Getting vaccinated is an extremely important tool in the fight against this pandemic,” Mansfield said. “This is one more step towards normality.

Patrick McCormack, director of the Uncas health district, said he wanted an extra week of planning, including visits by his staff to observe immunization clinics, before placing an order next Wednesday in the hope of organize the district’s first immunization clinic on January 5. He has yet to determine how many doses the district will request, but said it would likely be similar in size to the Ledge Light order.

Mansfield and McCormack said they have been in regular contact with each other and with other entities in the region that are part of the vaccine rollout. They stressed that they had to remain flexible as plans and information change regularly.

Hospitals perform the bulk of vaccinations in this current cycle. To date, 16,487 doses of the vaccine have been administered in hospitals. The state is still awaiting data on the number of doses administered in nursing homes, which is being done by CVS and Walgreens under contract with the federal government.

At this point, the state doesn’t have enough doses to vaccinate every healthcare worker, so it’s asking employers to identify and prioritize those most likely to come into contact with COVID-positive patients. 19. State officials said the plan was to have everyone vaccinated in phase 1a by the end of January.

Gov. Ned Lamont reported on Wednesday that the state’s positivity rate is 6.08%, “more or less since the post-Thanksgiving outbreak,” a sign that the rate of infection in the State began to stabilize.

But with Christmas and New Years approaching, a time that authorities say could lead to more epidemics if people travel and congregate as usual, Lamont said he feared the state could again sees an increase in cases.

He urged Connecticut residents to stay close to home and spend the vacations with their immediate family members.

“It’s important that you try not to fly unless you absolutely have to, and if you do, get tested and quarantined,” the governor said.

The areas that saw big spikes in cases after Thanksgiving “were where there was the most mobility, the most people traveling, the most people in and out,” Lamont said. “Let’s not let this happen to our region and our state. “

Lamont also extended the state’s moratorium on residential evictions until February 9, 2021 and banned evictions until January 2, 2021, as well as the renewal of the option to apply a portion of security deposits on Wednesday. exceeding one month’s rent to rent.

As hospitalizations fell by four to 1,155 on Wednesday from the previous day, 32 more coronavirus-related deaths were reported by the state, bringing the death toll to 5,735.

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London said it was treating 27 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday, while Westerly Hospital had 21.

Day staff writer Brian Hallenbeck contributed to this report.

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