By Deb Hendrickson
The Covid meeting held last Wednesday, December 30, revealed some positive information for Bennett County pertaining to the pandemic.
Emergency Manager Jeff Siscoe sited Covid Stats for Bennett County on December 30 were:
New Cases – 410
Active Cases – 13
Total Deaths – 8
As of January 3, 2021, Covid Stats for Bennett County show a bit of a decline:
New Cases – 335
Active Cases – 5
Total Deaths – 8
Recovered Cases – 342
Community Spread – Moderate
According to Debra Kromis, Bennett County Hospital’s D.O.N., as of December 30, a total of 30 vaccinations had been administered to Bennett County Hospital personnel and 20 vials of the vaccine had been transported to Mission to vaccinate staff there. The hospital is required to follow CDC guidelines for administering the vaccine and she noted that Bennett County is currently in Phase One which encompasses front-line healthcare workers to be the first recipients. Kromis stated they are not permitted to move to the next phase until given permission by the Department of Health of S.D. The Moderna vaccine must be kept frozen and once refrigerated, the vials will expire within 30 days. One vial contains 10 doses, so efforts are being made to gather recipients in groups of 10 to avoid any waste.
Kromis feels that the hospital and clinic staff are taking things in stride but even though the numbers appear to be down, she recommends keeping your guard up by continuing to follow the CDC guidelines especially while out in the public.
Once the vaccine is administered, the recipient is required to be observed for 15 minutes. Therefore, when it is available to the general public, a P.O.D. (Point of Distribution) plan may need to be set in place. This plan would secure a facility that would provide adequate space for administration and observation for more than a few people. “Bennett County currently has a P.O.D. plan in place, but a location hasn’t been finalized,” said Siscoe. “The vaccine will be free to the public, but insurance will be billed for an administration fee. If a person does not have insurance, there is a vaccine program that will help cover the cost of administration. This will be handled by the hospital, so please don’t avoid getting a vaccine because of lack of money or insurance,” Kromis said.
According to research, the vaccine becomes fully effective about 14-16 days after the second vaccination. There are 28 days between vaccinations, so it takes 42-44 days to realize the full effect. For two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine, people may still get Covid.
“I was really disappointed that the free, drive-thru Covid-19 mass testing which was planned for Martin on November 20 was cancelled,” Mayor Gary Rayhill said. “I haven’t had any contact with the SD DOH or the CDC.”
No high jump in Covid cases were noted after Thanksgiving and as of last Wednesday, no increase was reported after the Christmas holiday.
As another precautionary measure, plexiglass safety barriers around the judge’s bench and witness stand have been put up in the courtroom at the courthouse. Everyone entering the courthouse during court days are still being screened and masked.