Morrow County vaccination numbers a concern as state’s COVID numbers rise


By Alberta Stojkovic - For The Sentinel



MOUNT GILEAD — At their July 28 meeting the Morrow County Hospital Board heard a report on COVID-19 along with the report on patient survey numbers from Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care, Le-Ann Harris.

Harris noted that the percent of people who have started vaccinations in Morrow County is at 34.79 while those who have completed vaccinations are at 32.927 percent. The state’s percent of vaccination is 49.15 percent.

Morrow County Hospital (MCH) board member Carolyn Beal asked about the difference in percentage of people vaccinated depending on age.

Harris said that the numbers of vaccinated are much higher for older citizens in Morrow County as they are in the state. She referred to the Ohio Department of Health website: coronavirus.ohio.gov for a complete breakdown of the percent of people vaccinated by age.

The Ohio Department of Health website also gives the Morrow County statistics for 2,949 cases of COVID-19 in Morrow County, 152 Hospitalizations and 43 deaths in Morrow County.

OhioHealth Senior Vice President Cheryl Herbert gave the OhioHealth report to the MCH board. She noted that there is a great deal of focus on COVID-19 in the last two weeks due to the surge of new cases that now trend over 1,000 in Ohio every day.

Herbert said hospitalizations are dramatically higher now with three times the number of cases than there were 16 days ago.

OhioHealth is now in discussion about the possibility of a mandatory order for employee vaccinations, although nothing has yet been finalized.

“There is now momentum around requiring vaccinations for staff,” Herbert said. “We are finding patients want to know if the staff has been vaccinated because they want to be cared for by people who are not likely to be carrying the disease.”

Even though people who are fully vaccinated are contracting COVID, Herbert pointed out that they are not being hospitalized and they are not dying.

Herbert said the Department of Veterans Affairs, along with several other healthcare organizations have mandated vaccinations for employees.

Morrow County Hospital’s COVID response:

• OhioHealth Communications Manager Jill Fazekas shared that MCH continues to maintain COVID-19 protocols and the hospital is prepared to care for any patients that meet the criteria for admission at MCH.

• MCH now offers Post-Hospitalization COVID Care program for new Covid long haulers.

• MCH has continued to offer a vaccination clinic by appointment on Thursdays. Call 419-946-5015.

• Testing is available at MCH with referral from a health provider, or from the Emergency Room or Urgent Care with a provider referral.

More vaccination/testing sites in Morrow County:

• Morrow County Health Dept. at Door C, 619 W. Marion Rd., Mount Gilead offers vaccines Tuesdays by appointment. To schedule call: 419-947-1545, Ext. 327.

• Drug Mart in Mount Gilead offers vaccinations daily by appointment, or you may walk in. For an appointment call: 419-947-1404.

• Essentra Pharmacy at 73 Sportsmans’ Drive in Marengo (off of SR 61) for an appointment call 419-253-0632.

• Kroger in Mount Gilead has vaccines and does not require an appointment. Call 419-947-9134 for information.

• Rite Aid in Mount Gilead has both testing and vaccinations for COVID. You must have an appointment for testing for the drive through availability. A referral is not necessary for testing. Call 419-947-8515 for appointments and information.

The Ohio Department of Health website shows a day to day rise in vaccinations in Morrow County the last few days from 19 vaccinated on July 28, and 28 vaccinations given on July 29.

Commissioner and local pharmacist Tom Whiston said the daily totals of vaccinations have been around 12 to 15. He is hopeful they will continue to rise.

By Alberta Stojkovic

For The Sentinel