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Fri, May 07

Mohave County health director: Vaccinations for ages 75 and up to start in mid-to-late January

Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley speaks to the county board of supervisors on Monday, Jan 4. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley speaks to the county board of supervisors on Monday, Jan 4. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Kingman Miner)

KINGMAN – The first report in 2021 regarding COVID-19 by Mohave County Public Health Director Denise Burley to the county board of supervisors was a mix of good and bad news.

More vaccines are coming to Mohave County, which continues to vaccinate in Phase 1A, in which only health-care workers, emergency medical services workers, and employees and residents of long-term care facilities, are immunized.

Burley said a move to Phase 1B is anticipated by mid-to-late January. That stage will make the vaccine available to residents age 75 and older and essential workers, such as teachers and child-care employees.

In the past three weeks the county was allocated 8,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The first shipment of 5,700 arrived on Dec. 21, followed by 2,000 on Dec. 27. Another 1,000 doses was expected by Jan. 6, Burley said.

Burley said the county’s Information Technology Department is developing a webpage just for county COVID-19 vaccine information. It is not known how many people in Mohave County were vaccinated so far, Burley added, but that information should be available soon via the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Mohave County grew 15% since last week. Local hospitals reported more than 1,000 COVID-19-related visits in their facilities per day and the use of ventilators doubled, Burley reported.

“A bright spot,” she said, is the fact that while the cases are at a record high, the mortality rate fell significantly when compared with the first few months of the pandemic.

“Therapeutics have improved greatly,” Burley said.

When asked by Supervisor Travis Lingenfelter of District 1 if the virus had weakened, she said no. “We just treat people better,” she said.

When Supervisor Hildy Angius of District 2 cheered fewer deaths in the community, Burley observed that “that’s still a lot of lives lost.” The county has recorded 319 deaths of county residents from complications of COVID-19.

Burley also mentioned the new variant of the COVID-19 virus that originated in the UK and is known to be 50% more contagious. However, it is not more deadly, and is not resistant to the developed vaccines.

While not more deadly, “it will put a strain on our hospitals,” Burley said.

Angius asked about cases where people die from something other than COVID-19, but are identified as COVID-19 cases because they had the virus at some point in the past.

Burley replied that the cause of death is decided by a physician.

Supervisor Jean Bishop of District 4 said she can share “real-time information” when it comes to this matter.

She said she lost her husband 20 days ago. He didn’t die from COVID-19, she said, however, he had COVID-19. “There was nothing about it on his death certificate,” Bishop said.

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