Leftover vaccines after Thursday’s clinic

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For the first time, the Monroe County Health Department had doses of the COVID-19 vaccine left when the clinic ended Thursday afternoon.

John Wagner, the health department’s administrator, said the clinic went “really well” but the county only used about 500 of the 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and half of the 300 Moderna shots.

“It’s a good thing because it means people can get the shot if they want it, but it’s a bad thing because I don’t think a lot of people have gotten the shot,” Wagner said.

There is also a plan in the works for Monroe County to receive some extra doses next week to vaccinate high school seniors.

“It looks like that’s what we’re going to do maybe the middle of next week,” Wagner said.

This comes after Wagner reported two more deaths from the novel coronavirus last Thursday, but said it would be the last time he did so. 

The deceased were a woman in her 90s who lived in a long-term care facility and a man in his 70s. 

The woman tested positive for the virus in October, while the man tested positive in September and got injured in December and was hospitalized with that injury until he died last month.

Those deaths being counted seemed to be the last straw for Wagner, who has long been critical of how the state counts deaths from the virus because it appears it counts anyone who tested positive and later died as a COVID death.

“The accuracy of the state classifying individuals is not consistent with the level of truth that I as administrator am comfortable with,” Wagner said.

On Thursday, Wagner added that one of his main concerns is that the public assumes a COVID death is when someone contracts the virus, does not recover and dies from it. That is not always the case with the criteria the state uses when classifying deaths.

Last weekend, however, Wagner said the Illinois Department of Public Health reviewed some of its cases and now puts Monroe County’s death toll at 90.

“I don’t know if they adjusted it down or if they were that far behind to start with,” said Wagner, whose last reported death toll was 105. “But they have reviewed some cases and taken some cases off, but I’m not sure if they had reported them in their totals.”

Wagner said he was pleased to see the count adjusted.

“Across the state, with how many deaths are coming in, they can’t look at each one. If it is delayed and they are looking at it over time, great,” he said.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike has said that anyone who passes away after testing positive for the virus is included in that category.

“If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means technically even if you died of a clear alternate cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who’s listed as a COVID death doesn’t mean that that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of the death,” she said.  

Wagner predicted earlier this week that the two-shot Moderna vaccine would run out on Thursday, but he was skeptical of demand for the Johnson & Johnson shot. 

“I’m really interested in seeing how that Johnson & Johnson goes,” he said then. “My opinion is no, we’re going to have that first hundred people who want Johnson & Johnson, and then it’s going to fall off a lot. But talking with other counties who have had Johnson & Johnson, that’s all some people want.”

“I’m a little concerned we’re not going to be able to get rid of 600 doses,”  Wagner added. 

In addition to the first-dose clinic Thursday, Moderna second-dose vaccines were administered Friday at the fairgrounds to those who received their first dose on or prior to March 12.

The IDPH reports Monroe County has administered 18,613 doses of COVID vaccine. There are 7,214 people fully vaccinated here – meaning 21.01 percent of the county has received both shots.

Illinois overall has administered 6,707,183 doses of the vaccine and received over 8.6 million doses. A total of 2,571,654 residents have gotten both shots, which means 20.18 percent of Illinois is fully vaccinated.

Monroe County has had a total of 4,305 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, about 68 of which are active. Four residents remain hospitalized with the virus. There have been 75 new cases since March 31.

Wagner announced 28 cases Thursday, the most in a single day in weeks, and said that could be due to a large group of test results coming in at once, more school-age children testing positive for the virus and multiple people in families contracting it.

“I think it’s actually a combination of things. I think there is a little bit of an increase,” he explained.

Overall, the Waterloo zip code has had 2,176 cases (25,649 tests performed), the Columbia zip code has had 1,643 cases (11,003 tests) and the Valmeyer zip code has had 165 cases (985 tests), according to the IDPH.

Monroe County’s seven-day rolling average test positivity rate was 6 percent on April 5.

The seven-day rolling average positivity rate for the metro east was 3.4 percent on April 5. The region has 32 percent of its ICU staffed beds available.

In St. Clair County, there have been 29,647 total positive tests and 473 coronavirus-related deaths. A total of 320,157 tests have been performed there.

Randolph County has had 4,085 confirmed cases, 26 of which are active. Eighty-five people have died from the virus there.

Illinois overall is up to 1,269,196 cases of coronavirus and 21,457 deaths. There are 1,798 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Illinois, including 351 people in ICU beds.

Missouri has recorded 492,348 confirmed cases and 8,510 deaths. That includes 77,410 cases in St. Louis County and 20,005 cases in St. Louis City, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services.

Nationally, more than 30.9 million people have contracted the virus, while at least 558,580 people have died.

Worldwide, there have been over 133.2 million cases of coronavirus and over 2.8 million COVID-19-related deaths.

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