COVID vaccinations open to more people

By Anna Jauhola
Vaccinations are being made available to a larger number of people in Kittson County.
As the country moves toward getting the majority of adults vaccinated for COVID-19 by this summer, Kittson Healthcare in Hallock announced this week it is scheduling appointments for people in the next categories.
According to Kittson Healthcare, people in Phase 1B, Tiers 2 and 3, can make reservations to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Tier 2 includes people who are actively undergoing cancer treatments, and those who work in food processing facilities and meat markets.
Tier 3 is more complicated with different age brackets and requirements within each of those. The following can call for a reservation: People between 45 and 64 years old who have one or more underlying health conditions; those 50 and older living in a multigenerational household; those age 16 or 18 to 44 years old who have two or more underlying health conditions; Anybody working in the agricultural industry, food retail such as grocery, convenience and food shelves, food service including congregate dining, manufacturing businesses and U.S. Postal workers.
“They’re still working hard to get every Thursday clinic filled so they don’t waste any doses,” said Andrea Swenson, director of patient safety at Kittson Healthcare. “They make sure to call people and get it filled up.”
Kittson Healthcare staff has been working to get the vaccination clinics filled ahead of time because they are by appointment only. People have been sure to show up for their appointments, Swenson said.
The facility will receive vaccine this week and there is a clinic set for Thursday, March 18 and another set for Thursday, March 25, both of which are held at the Assembly of God Church in Hallock. However, the storm that hit the middle and upper parts of the Midwest could impact vaccine distribution, Swenson said.
Kittson Healthcare has also been able to allow more visitors at the nursing homes in Hallock.
“Visitation is open to everybody in the nursing home currently,” said Andrea Swenson, director of patient safety at Kittson Healthcare. “It just needs to be scheduled and visitors have to abide by COVID guidelines, such as masking and social distancing.”
Prior to this, the only visitors were those who served as primary caregivers to the residents. According to adjusted guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nursing home facilities can allow indoor visitation for all residents, no matter the vaccine status as long as the county positivity rate is lower than 10 percent.
“They’re just trying to push doing it in a safe way,” Swenson said. “We had to increase our testing again because of the county positivity rate, but haven’t had any new cases in residents or staff. So it seems like we’re able to move in the direction of more visitation.”
Anyone interested in scheduling a vaccination or visiting a resident in the nursing home should call the facility’s main number at 218-843-3612.

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