Guadalupe County continues to make great strides in vaccinating residents against COVID-19 and fighting the pandemic, as the state of Texas rolls out additional vaccination resources.
County Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder was coordinating a vaccine clinic Tuesday morning and couldn’t attend a regularly scheduled Guadalupe County Commissioners Court meeting, Assistant Emergency Manager Bryce Houlton told the courtjust before provid an update of the COVID-19 situation locally.
“Currently, people vaccinated with a single dose is about 26% of the county population,” he said. “That’s pretty good.”
State authorities have begun to provide vaccination data to the county not in raw numbers, but in percentages of people vaccinated, Houlton said.
Countywide officials usually host vaccine clinics on Thursdays and Fridays but received doses for a Tuesday clinic and administered them that day, he said. While the clinics are successful, some people who want to participate are running into minor issues, Houlton said.
“We have had our hiccups with the call center and the online registration,” he said. “One thing we’re recognizing is people don’t answer the phone when they don’t recognize the number. We’re making more calls.”
Often, caller ID on registrants’ phones shows the county’s main number so they return calls there. Staffers are doing a good job of rerouting those calls to where they should go, Houlton said.
On Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services rolled out its new Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler.
It’s an online system that allows people from across the state to sign up for vaccination and have their information catalogued, DSHS Associate Commissioner Imelda Garcia said Monday during a press conference.
“This is a tool that will let people sign up to be vaccinated at vaccine clinics hosted by DSHS or a number of participating local health departments,” she said. “Now, it won’t be all health departments. Those that have their own scheduling tools may continue to use them, but ti will bring centralized signup for public health providers for some rural and small or medium sized towns and cities.”
The system was unveiled at the same time that all Texans 16 years old and older became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination. As eligibility expanded, so did access, Garcia said.
“Texas is getting more than 1 million first doses this week and our federal partners tell us the amount of vaccine that will be coming will further increase in April,” she said.
DSHS still encourages providers to prioritize older adults and people with underlying conditions as they remain most vulnerable, Garcia said. The state agency is encouraging all eligible people to take the shot, she said.
“As far as where we are in vaccination, we’ve surpassed some really big milestones over the past few days: 10 million doses administered as of Friday and more than 7 million people vaccinated over the weekend,” Garcia said. “We’re now at 10.6 million doses administered, 7.1 million vaccinated with at least one dose and 3.75 million fully vaccinated.”
Segments of the population are taking vaccination seriously and showing up in good numbers, she said.
“When you look at the overall population, we’re getting close to a third of all people 16 and up who’ve gotten a shot and just over 1 in 6 fully vaccinated, now,” Garcia said. “For our seniors, now 2/3 have gotten one dose and about 43% are fully vaccinated.”
In Guadalupe County, authorities as of Tuesday had yet to see an expected spike in active cases of the virus following spring break, Houlton said. That was a good thing but the work needed to continue to stay safe, he said.
Across the county, 58 people represented active cases of COVID-19 and 13,454 had recovered from it, Houlton said Tuesday. The county’s total sat at 13,697 cases, he said.
The regional hospitalization rate was 3.7% and sat at about 4% in the county, Houlton said.
“We’re doing really good,” he said.