KINGWOOD — The Preston County Health Department is “looking into” an automated phone system that will help them set up appointments for COVID vaccinations.
V. J. Davis, director of the Preston County Health Department, said if purchased, when a client called the Health Department, the system would listen to the message and then send the information to a spreadsheet.
“We’re trying to make the system easier,” he said. “We don’t want to have first come, first served. If we did, we would have everyone waiting when we come into the office.”
Davis said it took a day to call and schedule the first 100 clients who were 80 years of age and were planning to receive their shots.
He said when the vaccine becomes available the next round will be people age 70 and older.
Davis said this week instead of sending the doses to the individual Health Departments and clinics, the State sent the vaccine to 14 regional clinics.
“Ours went to Morgantown,” he said. “We had 106 slots. We made phone calls, and the people we scheduled went to Morgantown to get their shots.”
County Health Officer Dr. Fred Conley commented on the system.
He said it sent the most vulnerable population — those over 80 — to Morgantown.
“Someone had to take a day off to take them,” he said. “It’s frustrating when they (the state) make that kind of a change.”
Davis said once more vaccine is available he is hopeful it can be ordered like the regular flu vaccine.
“Right now we have to be patient,” he said. “the demand far exceeds the supply. Hopefully, the supply catches up with the demand.”
Davis said the partnership the Health Department has with the hospital, the Board of Education, school nurses and county clinics will be an asset in the future.
“It will give us the ability to set up clinics throughout the week,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the vaccine.
Conley said three or four weeks ago Preston Memorial Hospital set up a unit in one of the hallways for COVID patients.
“We’re very busy,” he said. “We see about 100 people a day tested.”
Davis said he appreciates the assistance provided by the county commission.
“They’ve been very generous to us. Kathy (County Administrator Kathy Mace) really helped us out with phone calls and paperwork with the CARES program,” he said.