COVID pic

Douglas County resident Terry Howard gets ready to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Premier Drugstore owner and pharmacist Bryan Green.

The Douglas County Health Department has started administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

County health officials stated everything is “going well” with the vaccinations.

Georgia is in Phase 1A+ for vaccine distribution, which includes health care workers, long-term care facility workers and residents, seniors 65-and-older and their caregivers, and first responders such as law enforcement.

Appointments are released each Friday at 5 p.m. on a special website set up by Cobb & Douglas Public Health at www.douglascovidvax.org where residents can go to book an appointment for the following week.

“We release them one week at a time due to uncertain vaccine availability,” CDPH Director Dr. Janet Memark said.

If you are 65 years of age or older, a resident of Douglas County, and do not have internet access, CDPH says Douglas County Senior Services may be able to assist you with making an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Older adults who meet all of these criteria can call 770-489-3100 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to speak with a Douglas County Senior Services representative for further assistance.

CDPH also has a drive-through vaccination center at Jim R. Miller Park in Marietta.

During a Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting last week, many commissioners expressed their displeasure that CDPH didn’t have a Douglas County site up and running.

The BOC approved up to $1.5 million for CDPH to use for testing and readiness for the rollout.

Some local pharmacies including Premier Drugstore also have the vaccine, but there is still a short supply nationwide.

Gov. Brian Kemp said at a press conference that officials will move “as quickly as we can” to distribute vaccines if Georgia’s current allotment of 120,000 doses per week increases with the new president.

“I can’t control the supply we’re getting,” Kemp said at a news conference Thursday. “But if we get more … we will do everything in our power to empower not only the government, but also private-sector partners to get this vaccine in people’s arms.”

Memark said that a mass vaccination site is in the works.

“We are working on this now,” she said. “More information to come. It is expected to open in the next few weeks.”

A day after taking office as president, Joe Biden set a goal of vaccinating 100 million people in his first 100 days of office.

“We pray he can accomplish this task,” Memark said.

Although confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county have dropped in the last few days, Memark stressed that people should not get too complacent.

She said so far there have been no cases in the county of the new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus that originated in the United Kingdom.

However, Memark said there is still concern about the new strain.

“We should all be concerned and it is important that we don’t become complacent,” Memark said. “Please continue to wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands. More importantly, please don’t gather in groups outside of your immediate family.”

As of Friday afternoon, Douglas County had 8,929 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 118 deaths attributed to it. Nationwide, more than 24 million cases had been confirmed as of Friday and 412,780 people had died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“So, first of all, obviously we are still in a very serious situation,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a Thursday afternoon White House briefing with the media. “I mean, to have over 400,000 deaths is something that, you know, is, unfortunately, historic in the very — in the very bad sense. When you look at the number of new infections that we have, it’s still at a very, very high rate.

“Hospitalizations are up. There are certain areas of the country, as I think you’re all familiar with, which are really stressed from the standpoint of beds, from the standpoint of the stress on the healthcare system.”