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Commissioners want plans in place for vaccine distribution

With already surging COVID-19 numbers, the potential complications of the onset of flu season and the prospect of a vaccine on the horizon, members of the Monongalia County Commission are looking to pull together a planning session.

 “I know this county commission has always tried to be proactive and not reactive,” Commissioner Tom Bloom said   Wednesday, calling for a gathering of representatives from EMS, all law enforcement in the county, WVU Hospitals and Mon Health Medical Center, the county’s urgent care and rehab centers and the Monongalia County Health Department.

“We see what’s about to happen and we want to make sure everyone is going down the same path, together,” Bloom said.

Specifically, the focus would be on how to mitigate spread within agencies and community care patients as well as the procedures within medical facilities to manage the risk of spread, both internally and externally.

 Bloom said the county also needs to begin looking forward to vaccine distribution.

Commissioner Sean Sikora backed the proposal.

“Let’s not wait until the vaccines are here and then deal with the problems that are going to be inherent with the delivery — who gets them and who gets them first and all that kind of stuff,” Sikora said. “It would be good to have a general conversation.”

 Sikora went on to say   he’s fielded a number of questions and comments on the topic since it was announced earlier this week that Gen. Jim Hoyer is retiring from the National Guard to take an associate vice president role at West Virginia University, where he will lead the state’s vaccination task force.

“I think the state even threw a little confusion into the matter because now that Gen. Hoyer is coming to work for WVU, I’ve gotten comments from people saying, ‘So are we going to farm out vaccine distribution to WVU?’ ” Sikora said. “So we need to make sure we understand what the plan is going forward.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, peak flu season typically runs  December through February.

Bloom said he’s hopeful the commission could pull the meeting together within the next 30 days.

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