COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic to return to Health Department

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
The Finney County Administrative Center is located in the 300 block of North Ninth Street.

Finney County ahead of state average on first doses

The Finney County Health Department's COVID-19 vaccination site will be moved back from the Mass Vaccination Clinic at the Finney County Fairgrounds to the Health Department in the coming weeks.

Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, gave an update on the status of COVID-19 vaccinations at the Finney County Commission's regular meeting Monday.

As of Monday morning, the Health Department has given 15,130 COVID-19 vaccines have been given, with approximately 8,580 being first doses and 6,550 being second doses, Drees said.

"The state is currently calculating 35% of Kansans who have received a first dose thus far," she said. "We're estimating approximately 50% of our currently eligible population in Finney County have received at least a first dose, so we are ahead of the rest of the state and certainly ahead of the nation."

With the numbers of people coming in for vaccinations decreasing at fairgrounds, they are planning on moving operations back to the Health Department, Drees said. They should be back at full operation there within two or three weeks.

"Initially we'll be utilizing a drive-up method and then once numbers begin to decrease then utilizing a walk-in to the department," she said. "We have to coordinate the 15-minute wait time, so we're waiting for those numbers to kind of slow down a little bit."

Vaccinations are split between the fairgrounds and Health Department this week due to the dog show at the fairgrounds, Drees said. They gave vaccinations at the fairgrounds Monday and Tuesday, and will be at the Health Department Wednesday through Friday this week.

"In the next several days we'll be pushing out graphics on parking, where to park at the Health Department, to receive the drive-up vaccine and also communicating out the signs and scheduling for the rest of the week," she said.

In other business the Commission discussed face covering policies, particularly those in county offices.

Commissioner Dave Jones said he'll adhere to any business that says "facemask required," but the county should consider removing the signs in county buildings that say they are required as there is no city-wide or county-wide mask mandate any longer.

Commissioner Lon Pishny agrees.

"I have received, in writing, a couple of complaints about us mandating them here when we don't have a mandate in the county or in the city," he said. "One of the people actually has a health condition and walked away from being served after a mask was pushed toward them. I think we're just causing more concern and animosity in our community if we continue the mandate if you will."

Pishny said the county needs to start loosening up requirements.

"Do whatever we feel is appropriate for our employees, but be considerate of the tax payers and residents of our county and their beliefs and their freedoms and liberties," he said.

Robert Reece, Finney County Administrator, said at a department head meeting last Tuesday they discussed keeping the facemask requirement in the buildings in place through May 10 due to current high traffic in the building.