PLATTSBURGH — A state Department of Health-run COVID-19 vaccination site could be up and running in Clinton County as soon as next week.
During an update presented to Clinton County legislators Wednesday evening, County Public Health Director John Kanoza said the state was looking at utilizing the county-owned facility at 213 Connecticut Road as a drive-thru location.
That site previously housed COVID-19 testing operations.
Kanoza said he, County Emergency Services Director Eric Day and County Administrator Michael Zurlo were set to meet with the DOH Thursday "to determine what their (the state's) needs are to start up vaccinations next week at that site."
"We’re looking forward to it."
The new site will not affect allocation of vaccines to other providers within the county, including CCHD, Hudson Headwaters, University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and several pharmacies, Kanoza stated earlier in the day.
In a Facebook post, the Clinton County Health Department shared that preliminary plans indicate the site would be open to all people in Phases 1A and 1B of vaccine rollout, and would aim to distribute at least 1,000 doses per day.
Information shared by Franklin County Public Health Services noted that, prior to Monday, those eligible included health care workers, residents and staff at nursing homes, EMS workers and those administering COVID-19 vaccines, among others.
On Monday, eligibility was expanded to:
• Individuals age 65 and older.
• First responders (including law enforcement) and support staff for first responder agencies.
• Corrections personnel.
• P-12 school faculty, staff and contractors.
• Licensed, registered, approved or legally-exempt group childcare providers.
• Public transit employees.
• Those living and/or working in homeless shelters.
• Public-facing grocery store workers.
• In-person college instructors.
CHECK STATUS, AVAILABILITY
Once the site opens, the Clinton County Health Department said, vaccinations will be available by appointment only. Registration links and phone numbers will be provided at that time.
"Residents are asked to continue to be patient. There is not a list to place yourself or your loved ones on at this time."
Residents are directed to visit tinyurl.com/y4eetl3f or call 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) to determine their eligibility status and current availability for vaccination.
On what to do while waiting to get vaccinated, Franklin County Public Health advised continuing to abide by the safety measures that have been in place since March, including mask-wearing, social distancing, frequent handwashing and disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces.
Kanoza told legislators that CCHD's own state-approved vaccine plan had been rolled into the North Country hub led by CVPH.
"We talk to CVPH two to three times every week for at least an hour and a half working on a plan as a whole big North Country group moving forward."
He said his agency's nurses and clerks were ready for small, medium or large vaccination clinics. One hundred doses allotted to CCHD last week were given to frontline nursing staff, including some health care workers at Clinton Correctional Facility.
Kanoza said CCHD has about eight vaccination states ready to go countywide, the largest being the Plattsburgh State Field House, which would be utilized if the state provided a sizeable amount of vaccines.
USE STATE CONTACT INFO
Zurlo added that, even once these county sites are up and running, the proper places for residents to go for information remain the state website and hotline.
Day explained that those who are found eligible via the online form will be prompted with a button to "find a provider," which will lead them to links to sites where vaccination appointments are available.
"If you don’t see anything in Clinton County, it’s because there are no current open appointments for vaccine."
For example, earlier Wednesday, Kinney Drugs had opened up slots for the end of January.
"They disappeared in about 20 minutes," Day said.
'CHOMPING AT THE BIT'
Kanoza said CVPH has been instrumental in vaccinating Phase 1A health care workers, and had completed 2,985 vaccinations of health care-related frontline workers as of last week.
CCHD will have the assistance of at least 70 Medical Reserve Corps volunteers once vaccination of Phase 1B essential workers begins, he continued. Those will likely include fire, police, corrections, K-12 teachers and staff.
But the health department has one need, Kanoza said.
"We need vaccine. We have not received our allotment for this week and we are sending out a blur of inquiries to the state."
That is the case for the entire North Country region, Kanoza continued.
"We are organized and ready, we just need vaccine doses. We are totally serving at the pleasure of New York State and the federal government at this point in time.
"We’re just chomping at the bit ready to go here."
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ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?
To find out if you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, and find out about current vaccine availability, visit am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or call 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829).