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Will COVID Vaccine Arrive This Weekend? Local Hospitals to Decide Who Gets It First.
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By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 3 years ago on
December 12, 2020

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“We expect the vaccine to arrive as early as this weekend,” Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted late Friday afternoon.

Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra says his department is expecting 7,800 doses from the initial batch. “It will be up to the hospitals to determine who will get it first,” said Vohra in a virtual meeting with reporters Friday afternoon.

Saint Agnes Medical Center is still working on their list. “Definitely it would include the staff working on the COVID-19 units and those in the Emergency Room,” corporate communication director Kelley Sanchez says in an email.

Photo of Gavin Newsom

“We expect the vaccine to arrive as early as this weekend.”Governor Gavin Newsom

Meanwhile, hospital intensive care bed capacity in the San Joaquin Valley region showed a slight improvement according to California’s COVID website, now at 4.5% up from 1.9%.

But Vohra said ICU numbers will continually, “ebb and flow. Staffing does the same.”

As of data available Friday, Fresno County has just 11 ICU beds available. To help free up space in area hospitals, the state is activating an alternative care site in Porterville Monday and will start accepting patients on Tuesday, officials said.

Facility staffing remains a concern as hospitalizations continue to rise.” Newsom said the state will pay retired or previous medical professionals for their time and to reimburse fees for reactivating or or restoring their licenses.

St. Agnes COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization

Here is the prioritization structure Saint Agnes Medical Center will follow for COVID vaccinations.

Priority Phase Health care Personnel (HCP) Roles, which includes all roles across the continuum
1a(i)

 

HCP who provide direct patient care to or are face-to-face with large numbers of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
1a(ii)

 

HCP who provide direct patient care to or are face-to-face with large numbers of patients NOT suspected of having COVID-19. This includes all direct patient-care-facing roles and those interacting directly with patients including registration, transportation, dietary, etc.
1a(iii) Other HCP providing essential services throughout the health care delivery system: HCP who handle infectious materials (e.g. environmental services, laboratory workers) who are not direct patient care facing and cannot work from home.
1a(iv) All other HCP, including those who can currently work remotely.

The hospital is also taking steps to address their growing COVID-19 patient load.

“We are monitoring our volume constantly and just over the last couple weeks have converted some of our inpatient units to COVID units, as our numbers have increased,” said Sanchez. “We’re also able to repurpose some of our clinical spaces to meet the needs of our patient population. Another strategy to free up beds and staffing resources was to temporarily suspend non-essential surgeries and procedures.”

Sanchez said St. Agnes has been collaborating with other local medical facilities to expand available bed space at the hospital.

  1. Valley Children’s has opened up to care for patients age 25 and younger.
  2. Working with San Joaquin Rehab to be able to move patients if needed.
  3. Working with Fresno Surgical Hospital for surgical patients who require an overnight stay but don’t need to be in an acute care setting.

Freezer Capacity for COVID-19 Vaccine

On Friday, Newsom visited a site where the vaccine will be stored. In a video he shared on his Instagram account, he describes the boxes the vaccine will arrive in as ‘like a pizza box.’

As he stood in front of a freezer capable of storing the vaccine at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, a person off camera tells him just that one storage unit alone can hold 40 boxes worth. “We’re looking about 150,000 doses that can be stored (in that one freezer),” the man says to Newsom.

Newsom also posted a picture of what a COVID-19 vaccination card will look like.

Community Medical Center Impacts

Community Medical Center updated their online dashboard Friday morning to show they currently have 278 COVID-19 positive inpatients.

As for the hospital’s own workforce, 359 are in self isolation and 195 of those are COVID-19 positive.

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