Health Care Update Starts Eggs And Issues For 2021

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The pandemic has forced nearly everything to be different this past year, and Eggs and Issues changed with the times as well.

The bi-weekly forum sponsored by the Mahaska Chamber and Development Group is typically held at Smokey Row Coffee in downtown Oskaloosa. Due to COVID-19 concerns, it was broadcast live over social media and MCG.

Individuals could ask the panel, made up of Mahaska Health and Mahaska County Emergency Management representatives, questions over social media.

Patty Malloy, Public Health Coordinator, explained that Mahaska County is currently vaccinating individuals in the 1A group, of healthcare workers and long-term care facilities.

The Infectious Disease Advisory Council with the Iowa Department of Public Health will be meeting in the coming days to determine who will be in the next tier, or 1B group.

Malloy explained that one long-term facility in Mahaska County has already been vaccinated, with subsequent facilities in the following weeks.

For those who have already received the first dose of the vaccine, Mahaska Health and others prepare for the second dose.

Denyse Gipple, Population Health and Quality Director at Mahaska Health, explained that 1B would broadly include people with essential services roles and “people that we need to keep the community running”.

Among those, 2B will include individuals over the age of 75 as well.

Mahaska County Emergency Management utilizes a phone service that helps alert citizens to such hazards as weather or other types of emergency services.

The plan is to help public health notify when the next group of people will become eligible for the vaccine. You can find out more about the alerting system by visiting https://mahaskaready.com/

During this time, Mahaska County Emergency Management Coordinator Jamey Robinson has been working with the local hospital, public health, and care facilities to help coordinate efforts between those institutions. He’s also in charge of the local CERT Team, who has been busy helping distribute PPE supplies to the southeast portion of Iowa.

Robinson had a lot of praise for Mahaska Health during this time, saying, “I can tell the community, I’ve seen it first hand, being in these meetings, the things the hospital has been doing over the last several months… The stuff that they’ve done out there, just short of a miracle.”

Robinson also thanked CERT Team Deputy Chief Jim Walker and the CERT volunteers, stating that the team “has been phenomenal.”

Dr. Tim Breon from Mahaska Health praised the work done by Mahaska County Emergency Management, saying they didn’t have to be involved as much as they are. “Jamey’s efforts and all of their efforts, they’ve been an invaluable resource to the hospital. They’ve been an extension of us in an excellent fashion for the care facilities.”

Questions from the community included how many people could be vaccinated in a day.

Malloy explained that currently, the registration time to receiving the vaccine is about six to eight minutes. The patient then sits and waits for about fifteen minutes in order to be observed for an immediate reaction.

“As we get more vaccine, I think our put through times are going to be pretty good.”

Malloy also explained that as they get more vaccines, the hospital and public health will be able to pull in more vaccinators to help.

Currently, Mahaska Hospital staff and community are receiving the Medinerna vaccine, while the long term care facilities are receiving the Pfizer vaccine, Malloy explained.

Gipple explained that currently, it’s believed that the vaccine will help against the COVID-19 varients. “However, again, we’re going to learn that as we go. So if there are other variants, I’m sure that they will go to work on vaccines that would cover those as well.”

When it comes to the financial health of Mahaska Health during the time of COVID-19, CEO Kevin DeRonde said that there was indeed a financial loss of revenue, but due to funding sources like the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program, the hospital has weathered the storm without furloughing or reducing the hours of employees. “We stood our ground, and we were able to really invest in our people. Our people are our greatest asset.”

You can find out more in the video about how the vaccine works and how it combats the virus.

Posted by on Jan 10 2021. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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