September 20, 2021

Board of Health COVID-19 update

A COVID-19 vaccine may be coming as early as November, Union County Public Health Nurse Robin Sevier said Thursday during the board of health meeting at the Union County Emergency Management Building and via electronic platform.

Sevier said she is not confident the vaccine will be available this fall but will move forward with plans for distributing the vaccine in case it is ready.

Vaccines will be sent to the public health department to be distributed. Sevier said she will then send them out to health care facilities, nursing homes and other clinics to use for their clients and staff. In addition, a drive-thru vaccine clinic may be planned.

“We’ll have public clinics, too,” Sevier said.

The vaccines currently being evaluated require two doses. One version sets the second dose at 21 days after the first. The second type requires it 28 days later.

The state COVID-19 map shows Union County at 91 cases, but Sevier said she believes those numbers include serology testing, which tests for the presence of antibodies indicating the individual has had COVID-19 previously. She said she still has a count of 88 cases in Union County.

Sevier said she is working with the Union County Board of Supervisors and County Auditor Sandy Hysell to ensure the department receives any applicable funding from the CARES Act.

“Some of the expenses the county has had with the Plexiglas and hand sanitizer and staff time and those sorts of things,” Sevier said.

The public health department is working with the schools to develop a protocol for when a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19. Sevier said they are looking at whether the entire family should be quarantined or just the individual who was tested.

The board also discussed the effect COVID-19 restrictions have had on mental health and obesity rates.

Crossroads Mental Health is currently booking patients six weeks out. Greater Regional Health has added psychiatrist Mark Preston to its staff, Sevier said.

Although no concrete plans were made to improve mental health services, Union County Environmental Specialist Amanda Husband said it’s good to keep it in the forefront.

Sevier said obesity rates in Union County have climbed from 39.1% in 2019 to 41%.

“That’s going in the wrong direction,” Sevier said.

“COVID did not help that at all,” Husband said.