The first installment of Eggs and Issues for 2021 took place Saturday, albeit in a virtual setting due to the pandemic.
Health care amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was the theme of the event. Public Health Coordinator Patty Malloy, explained that the county, and by extension the state, was currently engaged in phase 1A of the COVID-19 vaccinations. Phase 1A consists of healthcare workers as well as staff and residents of long-term care facilities and is anticipated to last until spring of 2021. According to Malloy, one long-term care facility in Mahaska County has already been vaccinated, with the remaining ones to be finished in the coming weeks.
Phase 1B is next and is set to include frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, postal workers, grocery store workers, public transit employees and those who work in the educational sector. According to Malloy, The Infectious Disease Advisory Council and the Iowa Department of Public Health will be meeting in the coming days to determine exactly who will be included in 1B and following tiers. During the discussion it was mentioned that Mahaska County Emergency Management utilizes a phone service to help alert citizens of emergencies. The plan is to utilize this system to help notify individuals when they become eligible for vaccination.
Some of the questions from the community regarded the logistics of vaccination. According to Malloy, the wait time from registration to receiving the vaccine is around eight minutes. The patient is then observed for fifteen minutes for any signs of a serious reaction. As the county receives more vaccines, they will be able to bring in more workers which will speed the process along.
Regarding financial issues during the pandemic, Mahaska Health CEO Kevin DeRonde stated that while revenue loss was a real issue, funding help in the form of the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program helped them to endure without having to reduce their workforce. The next installment of Eggs and Issues is scheduled for Saturday, January 23.