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CLCHD talks vaccine distribution and decline in positive cases

A nurse at CLCHD prepares to give the first Pfizer COVID vaccination in Wyoming Dec. 15.
A nurse at CLCHD prepares to give the first Pfizer COVID vaccination in Wyoming Dec. 15.(Will Thomas)
Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 6:02 PM CST
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The Cowboy State’s first COVID-19 vaccination was given at the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department three weeks ago. On Tuesday, CLCHD’s Executive Director, Kathy Emmons, spoke about how vaccine distribution has been going.

“It’s a little bit different than we have done vaccination campaigns in the past because it’s just much more complex,” said Emmons

She said complex, for two reasons. First, they have to go down the line of the priority groups set by the government and state, meaning people who are at the highest risk of being exposed to the virus. Right now, those people are: health care workers, and residents and staff of long term care facilities. Secondly, because of the preparation process for giving out the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be housed in an ultra-cold freezer, thawed, then given in a matter of hours.

“The last thing we ever want to do is waste a dose, so that requires real in depth scheduling to make sure that we have everybody dosed out for that day,” said Emmons.

Emmons said so far they’ve given out around 700 doses of the vaccine between CLCHD and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center. She said the vaccination process isn’t going as fast as everyone would like it to, but they are happy to be able to have it and provide it to the community.

“Knowing that we have something to work toward, and knowing that there is an end in sight is just incredibly important for all of us that have been dealing with this seven days a week, 24 hours a day and for the community. I just really am hopeful that it will get us back to a healthy and healing place physically, spiritually, emotionally as a community,” said Emmons.

Emmons said the 1B group that includes people 70 and older, and emergency management can expect their vaccination process to begin in the next two to three weeks.

Emmons also spoke about what they think about Laramie County’s decline in lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last month.

“On December first we hit our peak caseload and it’s come down ever since, consistently it’s declined since the mask mandate was put into place.”

Emmons said that the drop in cases shows the mask mandate that’s been in effect since Nov. 2 has been effective. She also said the decline in positivity rate of people being tested is also important. It peaked at a little more than 16% in early December and has dropped to around 6.5% at New Year’s Eve. Despite the drop in cases, Emmons reminds the community that if you are feeling sick, get tested.

“If I had a dollar for every time somebody said, oh I just thought it was a cold, or oh I just thought it was an allergy and then I found out it was COVID, I’d be really rich right now. So it’s better to just go get tested, find out for sure.”

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