BY JUSTIN SABATA
The COVID vaccine continues to make a presence in the area, as Ellis County is moving on to Phase 3 and 4 of the Kansas vaccination plan. This means individuals aged 18 and older with medical risks are able to register for a vaccine starting Monday. Those who are in “critical industries” are also eligible to be vaccinated.
Since there will be an increase in people signing up for the vaccine, the Ellis County Health Department has made changes to the online registration program.
“Due to the change in phases and the large number of individuals now eligible to receive the vaccine, ECHD will transition to a self-scheduling program for vaccination on 3/22/2021,” the department said in a press release.
To schedule an appointment, visit the health department’s website and select the “Vaccine registration” button.
Last week, Ellis County received more vaccines than any other week so far. 1,000 doses were shipped to the county according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. This is an increase from the 600 doses received the week before.
According to the KDHE, the county is expected to receive 600 doses this week (March 22).
In an email sent to students, Fort Hays State further explained what the new phases mean for those on campus. Including when the vaccine will be available for the general public.
“FHSU Students who will qualify for the vaccination under Phases 3 and 4 include those with a preexisting medical condition, student employees, students living in campus residence halls, and those who otherwise qualify under Phases 1 through 4 of the state’s plan but have not yet been vaccinated,” the email said. “ECHD estimates that Phase 5 (general population) vaccinations will be available on or after May 1 and encourages those who believe that they currently qualify under Phases 1 through 4 but have not been vaccinated to sign up.”
The state health department reports that 23.2% of Kansans have received the first dose of the vaccine. Approximately half of those have been given their second dose.
Last Week Recap
The number of total active cases did not top 20 throughout last week. Last Monday, 11 cases were being monitored by the health department. This was followed by 16 active cases on Wednesday, then 15 on Friday.
Throughout the week, the weekly percent-of-positives rate peaked at 3.60% on Wednesday then declined to 3.20% on Friday. The overall positives rate went down slightly from 13.3% to 13.2%. Two active hospitalizations were reported on Wednesday and Friday.