Broome Briefing: Vaccination plan discussed, public health notices to stop

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BINGHAMTON, NY – Broome County has already submitted a plan to the state as to how it plans to distribute the vaccine.

County Executive Jason Garnar says the County Health Department is working closely with UHS and Lourdes on how to best utilize whatever small portion Broome receives in the initial wave.

The county says UHS has the necessary very cold freezers to store the doses.
Once the frontline medical staff have been vaccinated, a plan for distributing doses to local nursing homes will be developed.

Garnar says nursing homes have accounted for half of the county’s coronavirus deaths.

He says the vaccine may provide the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel, but only if people agree to receive them.

“My hope is that through communicating and a public relations campaign, we can convince a super-majority of people in Broome County to get vaccinated because it will save lives. The more people get vaccinated, the more lives we’ll save, bottom line,” says Garnar.

Health officials say that by the time enough of the vaccine is available to serve the general public next year, the local hospital chains are expected to establish designated Points Of Delivery or POD’s to help streamline the process.

Meanwhile, as the health department strains over the increasing burden of contact tracing both positive cases and those they have exposed, the county has decided to no longer send out public health alerts for situations where a positive case was discovered but everyone who may have been exposed cannot be identified.

Public Health Director Rebecca Kaufman says the alerts take valuable time to investigate and prepare.

“We don’t see many cases actually coming from the alerts. So, we think that, in a way, it’s giving a false sense of protection that people think these are the only places COVID is. At this point, if you’re going out into the community, you should use every way that you can to protect yourself because COVID truly is throughout our community,” says Kaufman.

Garnar says the county’s mobile rapid results testing operation, which this week is at the health department on Front Street in Binghamton, will be moving to Vestal next week outside the Vestal Public Library.

The hours remain 1 to 7 Monday through Friday.

Garnar says the site is seeing additional demand and that there’s has been a 2 day wait for setting an appointment.

To do so, go to GoBroomeCounty.com or dial 2-1-1.

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